domestic medical tourism


Almost all of us have been to the doctor at some point or the other in our lives. One of the common things you would have noted in your meetings with your doctor is him scribbling down notes. But, have you wondered what he writes in such notes? Do you think you should be allowed to see those notes? And, are you prepared to see what your doctor might have written about your meeting and your physiological and psychological conditions?

A lot of what’s in that note is objective stuff about your blood pressure, weight and blood count. But often your doctor puts down subjective impressions.

Did you seem down? Anxious? Angry? Drinking too much? Not so mentally sharp? Physicians also may speculate about a tentative diagnosis – maybe a scary one – they haven’t shared with you.

What do you think doctors would feel about letting patients see their notes? As you would guess, there are mixed opinions. Some feel comfortable while others don’t. It ranges from ‘Well, transparency is here, this will be good for patients, they’ll be more actively involved in their care, this is a terrific idea,‘ to ‘This is the worst thing I’ve ever heard of.

Doctors’ notes are not really secret anyway. Other doctors see them. Insurance companies and lawyers do. And under a 1996 federal law called the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, patients have every right to see their complete medical records. But as Dr. Tom Delbanco of Harvard Medical School (HMS) puts it, “You can get it but we do everything in the world to make sure you don’t get it. The medical record has traditionally been viewed by the medical establishment as something that they own. They think: ‘It’s my private notes. This is my stuff.'”

Check out below for some other kinds of opinions that different doctors share:

  • “Information should be accessible, but that will mean more work for doctors who may need to explain their notes to patients.”
  • “My hope is that it will be a method of communicating with patients, so patients can see what we’re thinking, where our head is, what our plans are, why we’re suggesting what we do.”
  • “We may be less candid. We may not as accurately describe the mood of the patient, the tenor of the encounter, for fear that we may get someone perhaps already a little angry during the encounter – more so after they log on and read the note that I just finished.”
  • “Physicians are scared of this kind of thing. But the big, broad directions are clear. Which is: Patients have to be at the center of their care more and more. That doesn’t mean patients call the shots. But patients really have to be a team member. To be a team member, they’ve got to see the playbook. And doctors will have to learn to be respectful in the way they write their notes in some situation.”
  • “If there’s some delicate problem, doctors shouldn’t dodge that topic, and patients should be prepared to see some things which may be a little painful for them to confront too.”

Your doctor’s reservations to this idea are understandable:

  • It will be more work for them, because patients will call up wanting to know what something means, or demanding corrections.
  • It might lead to more lawsuits.
  • It might scare the hell out of patients.

Source: Adapted from the NPR story – “Doctors Don’t Agree On Letting Patients See Notes” by Richard Knox

For affordable and quality medical care in the United States, check out domestic medical tourism. For surgery abroad, check out medical tourism.

Like it? Share it or save it!!

blinklistblinklist blogmarksblogmarks del.icio.usdel.icio.us diggdigg furlfurl/diigo

googlegoogle netscapenetscape/propeller redditreddit spurlspurl

stumbleuponstumbleupon technoratitechnorati yahoo mywebyahoo myweb

An excellent story appeared yesterday on NPR that talked about the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program or FEHBP – the health insurance program that insures 8 million federal workers, retirees and their families, and members of Congress. Below is the story of a 13-year old daughter of a federal employee who feels blessed to have the FEHBP coverage to pay for the costs of managing her Type 1 diabetes. Do you think other insurance programs in the country should model themselves after FEHBP?

“This is what keeps me alive,” says 13-year-old Toni Bethea, as she picks a tiny glass bottle off the kitchen counter of her home in Washington, D.C. The clear liquid inside is insulin. Toni has Type 1 diabetes.

“Your health is obviously not anything that you should play around with,” says Toni, a high-school freshman. She’s pretty, smiling and stylish — from her bangs angled across her forehead to her sparkly red fingernails.

“You should take it very seriously and when you have a chronic illness like what I have and other kids have, it’s very important that we take care of ourselves because there’s a lot of preventable stuff that can happen to us.”

It helps that her mother, Rhonda Dorsey, has good insurance, which she gets as a federal employee. She’s covered by the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, or FEHBP. It insures 8 million federal workers, retirees and their families — and members of Congress. That federal health insurance program has been held up — by the president, lawmakers and other players in the health care debate — as a model of the kind of good insurance that should be available to all Americans.

Dorsey and others who are covered under FEHBP do report high levels of satisfaction, but it’s not some kind of super insurance. It’s pretty much like most insurance people get through their jobs. Federal workers, too, sometimes complain about the rising costs of their premiums and co-payments and about the hassles of getting care.

The Option To Choose

Toni was five years old when she was first diagnosed with diabetes — as long as she can remember. “At five, I really didn’t know what was going on, but I remember having my mother and my grandfather holding me down to give me shots and prick my fingers. And I was scared, I was confused, and it wasn’t a good time.”

In those early, stressful days of her daughter’s illness, Rhonda belonged to a traditional HMO through FEHBP. She’d take Toni to see an endocrinologist, an eye doctor and one specialist after another. “I’d always have to get a referral. And sometimes I would forget and I’d get to the doctor’s office and it would be a mess. And so I’d be very apologetic and we’d have to call the pediatrician’s office, and it just was a waste of time in my opinion.”

There were limits, too, on the supplies she needed to manage Toni’s diabetes. Sometimes a prescription refill for needles or testing strips would be denied.

So Rhonda switched insurance companies. Her new plan allows her to keep taking her daughter back to the specialists who know her best. “I have the standard plan which means that I pay a little bit more up front,” she explains. “My deductible is a little bit higher, but I don’t have to deal with the referrals. I can go to any doctor.”

Federal employees get a lot of choice. That’s what makes the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program stand out compared to other insurance. In the Washington, D.C. area, there are at least 16 health plans to choose from. Across the nation, according to a new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Health Research & Educational Trust, most companies offer only one health plan to their employees, and just one percent of companies offer three or more.

The federal Office of Personnel Management conducts annual negotiations with each health plan to set benefits and rates. That has allowed it to claim some success in constraining cost growth. But last year Blue Cross and Blue Shield — which covers about 60 percent of FEHBP enrollees — increased the premium for its standard option by 13 percent. As a result, the average for all federal plans went up 7 percent. The year before, the annual premium increase was just 2.1 percent.

Toni’s Life Depends On It

For Dorsey, an information specialist at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, her insurance through FEHBP has been central to keeping Toni healthy. “In order to live a healthy life with Type 1 diabetes or any kind of chronic illness,” she says, “it’s so important to have good insurance. And I tell Toni all the time how blessed we are because we’ve met a lot of people who don’t have insurance at all.”

Still, even with good insurance, it’s expensive to manage diabetes. Toni pricks her calloused fingertips several times a day to check her blood sugar levels. Rhonda pays a little more than $200 a month for supplies.

Toni wears an insulin pump — it’s the size of a cell phone and it’s pink. “It had to be pink,” Toni says with a laugh. Adds her mother, “Pink is definitely her style.” The first pump cost $5,000. Insurance paid all but $500.

Toni knows she’s fortunate. This summer, she went to a summer camp for kids with diabetes. And she saw what kids do when they don’t have good health insurance. “At camp they provide you with supplies, but I’ve seen kids who have saved their needles and taken them with them,” she says. “Even though you weren’t like supposed to, they would kind of sneak them just to make sure they would have something when they got back home.”

Toni and Rhonda know that when people don’t have good insurance, they’re so desperate they will even reuse a needle. “It gets dull. And so it really hurts. But you have to have insulin, just like I said,” Rhonda says. “I mean, without insulin, Toni would die. So you, take the pain in order to live.”

Toni listens to her mother and adds, “I do feel very grateful for all that I have, because that could be me.”

Source: NPR, by Joseph Shapiro

For those without health insurance or poor health coverage, there is medical tourism (as well as domestic medical tourism) to help them afford the costs of major medical care. Read more about these on Healthbase.

Like it? Share it or save it!!

blinklistblinklist blogmarksblogmarks del.icio.usdel.icio.us diggdigg furlfurl/diigo

googlegoogle netscapenetscape/propeller redditreddit spurlspurl

stumbleuponstumbleupon technoratitechnorati yahoo mywebyahoo myweb

ROSE Procedure, a weight loss revision surgery

Traditionally those who needed a revision bariatric surgery following a gastric bypass (also known as Roux-en-Y procedure) have had to resort to another open or laparoscopic gastric bypass surgery involving more cutting of the internals of the body. Such a revision obesity surgery is quite complicated and therefore surgeons and patients frequently avoided it for the high risks associated with it.

Today patients have a better choice which not only involves NOT opening up the patient, as it is done edoscopically, but is also less complicated and has minimal risks.

Need for the ROSE procedure

The ROSE procedure is a weight loss surgery (WLS), needed as a revision for a gastric bypass surgery. So let’s first understand what a gastric bypass procedure does.

The aim of a gastric bypass surgery is to make the stomach and stoma very small so that the stomach can now hold much less food and the feeling of satiety is achieved after the consumption of a very small amount of food. This makes the person eat less and thus lose weight.

Most people lose their excess weight to a great extent following a gastric bypass procedure. However, the stomach pouch and the stoma may expand/stretch over time causing the capacity of the stomach to increase. So the stomach can now hold more food and the feeling of fullness is now achieved after consumption of a larger amount of food than before. This results in weight regain.

A revision weight loss surgery is therefore required to once again reduce the size of the stomach pouch and the stoma. The ROSE (Restorative, Obesity Surgery, Endolumenal) procedure is a revision weight loss surgery for patients who have had gastric bypass surgery previously (at least 2 years ago) and lost 50% of excess weight but regained at least 15% of it back.

In a ROSE procedure, the surgeon pleats/folds the stomach with sutures to reduce its size back to about the size at the time of the original gastric bypass surgery. This is achieved through an endoscope (a long narrow tube carrying a camera and surgical instruments) which the surgeon inserts into the patient’s stomach pouch through a natural opening in his body, in this case his mouth and down the esophagus. The surgical tools in the endoscope are then used to gather together sections of stomach tissue to create a pleat which is then sutured together. With this process, the stomach volume and stoma diameter can be reduced to increase restriction and help weight loss. The procedure takes about an hour to complete.

Candidacy for the ROSE procedure

In order to be eligible for the ROSE surgery you must have:

  • had the gastric bypass procedure at least 2 years ago,
  • lost 50% of your excess body weight following the surgery, and
  • regained 15% of it back.

In some cases, a patient may also be a candidate if he underwent gastric bypass surgery but failed to lose weight.

Advantages of the ROSE procedure

  • Incisionless i.e. no external incisions or cuts therefore lower risk of infection and associated complications, and also no scarring
  • Quick procedure (takes about an hour)
  • Causes little or no discomfort to the patient
  • Minimal post operative pain/symptoms (mild sore throat, hoarseness, swollen lip, and lip pain due to the endoscopic instruments that were inserted into the mouth)
  • Fast recovery time

Cost of a ROSE procedure

For a FREE estimate of the cost of ROSE procedure in the United States or cost of ROSE procedure abroad visit Healthbase.

For more information about affordable surgery, read about international medical tourism and domestic medical tourism.

Like it? Share it or save it!!

blinklistblinklist blogmarksblogmarks del.icio.usdel.icio.us diggdigg furlfurl

googlegoogle ma.gnoliama.gnolia netscapenetscape redditreddit spurlspurl

stumbleuponstumbleupon technoratitechnorati yahoo mywebyahoo myweb

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth, covering the tooth to restore its shape, size and strength, and to improve its appearance.

Dental crown video

Watch the video below for more information about dental crowns as well as to view before and after photos of dental crown patients. Also watch the video to find out more information about dental providers and cost of dental crowns abroad in Mexico, India, Costa Rica, Hungary as well as USA.

Dental crown purpose

Dental crowns are used for the following:

  • To restore a broken or worn-down tooth
  • To cover and support a tooth
  • To give esthetics to a mis-shaped or discolored tooth
  • To hold a dental bridge in place
  • To cover a dental implant
  • Dental crowns can be used on an individual tooth basis to address single tooth problems or a few teeth at a time or they can be part of an elaborate dental treatment like full-mouth reconstruction/full-mouth restoration.

Materials used for permanent dental crowns

Permanent crowns can be made from:

  • all-metal
  • metal-free
  • porcelain
  • porcelain-fused-to-metal or PFM
  • all-resin
  • all-ceramic or others

Process of dental crowning

Dental crowning involves 2 visits to the dentist. In the first visit the dentist examines and prepares the tooth or teeth to be crowned. In the second visit the permanent crown is fitted into place in the patient’s mouth. Here’s a detailed explanation of both the visits:

1st visit:

  • X-Rays of the affected tooth/teeth and surrounding bone are taken
  • Reshaping the affected tooth/teeth is done to make room for the crown
  • Impressions of the affected and surrounding teeth are made and the shades of the neighboring teeth are also recorded
  • Customized crowns are then manufactured in a laboratory from these impressions and shades using the required dental crown material
  • Temporary crowns are cemented in place until the permanent ones are ready within 2-3 weeks

2nd visit:

  • The temporary crown/crowns are removed
  • The tooth/teeth to be crowned are numbed with local anesthesia
  • Permanent dental crowns are fixed in the patient’s mouth with cement

Dental care hygiene following dental crowning

  • Dental crowns may last from 5 to 15 years. Longer life of dental crowns can be ensured if you follow good oral hygiene practices
  • In general, teeth capped with dental crowns require the same care as natural teeth do
  • You must brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • You must floss at least once a day especially around the crown area

Cost of dental crowns

For a FREE cost estimate for dental crowns at a dental care provider abroad or in the United States visit Healthbase.

Further reading

Domestic medical tourism is the latest concept in the medical tourism industry. When a patient travels from one city to another or one state to another within his own country for medical care then domestic medical tourism is said to have taken place. Patients usually conduct domestic medical travel to avail of major discounts on elective surgical procedures or to seek procedures that are not available in his neighborhood.

Domestic medical tourism goes by several other names, such as, medical tourism within US, local medical tourism, inbound medical tourism, out of state medical travel, in-country medical travel, etc.

Watch the video below to learn more about this cost-effective way of receiving medical care within the US.

Benefits of domestic medical travel within USA

  1. Low cost for elective high-cost major surgeries
  2. High quality of care as hospitals are accredited by the Joint Commission (JCAHO)
  3. Shorter traveling distance compared to international medical tourism
  4. No language or cultural barriers
  5. Access of legal recourse

Hospitals offering domestic medical tourism
Healthbase works with several domestic providers of quality healthcare that are spread across the United States. Find out an accredited hospital near you that offers affordable domestic medical tourism.

Bookmark and Share

Medical Tourism is no longer restricted to outbound medical tourism i.e. Americans seeking care outside of the country. Domestic medical tourism is gathering pace as more and more Americans are now crossing state borders to take advantage of cheaper prices available for quality health care out-of-state. It’s amazing to know that the price differential on healthcare within the same country can be tremendous if only you take the trouble to shop for it.

Recently Healthbase partnered with many health care providers in several states within the United States. The prices on major procedures that these providers offer to Healthbase clients are as low as 10% of the prevailing cost of those procedures in other typical hospitals within the country. Read more about this partnership.

So how can some US providers offer such low rates?
Patients can avail of such low rates if they choose the one-pay option. AARP Bulletin Today recently covered the story of Rodney Larson, an uninsured Minnesota resident and a Healthbase customer who had his triple bypass surgery at a heart care hospital in Kansas.

According to the bulletin,

As a father to nine daughters, electrician Rodney Larson always looks for ways to cut costs. So in 2008 when he was told he needed triple bypass surgery – totaling $80,000 or more – he shopped around.

Rodney Larson traveled within the United States for heart surgery

Rodney Larson traveled within the United States for heart surgery.

Larson, 56, of Boyd, Minn., searched the Internet and found a hospital that would do the surgery for $13,200. The facility, Galichia Heart Hospital in Wichita, Kan., participates in a domestic medical tourism program run by Healthbase Online.

Located in Boston, Healthbase is one of a handful of companies reaching out to U.S. hospitals to provide specialty surgeries at much lower costs than traditional providers. The company also offers international medical tourism – in which patients travel abroad for procedures – but is finding a market for U.S. specialty hospitals.

Most patients who use medical tourism companies are uninsured and must pay upfront for procedures. Larson liked the one-pay option.

“They saved me a lot of money, but the point is, it was excellent care,” he says.

Source: AARP Bulletin Today

Available procedures
Most major procedures are available at discounted rates within the US through Healthbase. Procedures fall in the categories of cardiac, orthopedic, bariatric, spinal, etc.

Want to know if the procedure you need is available and how much it costs?

Like it? Share it or save it!!

blinklistblinklist blogmarksblogmarks del.icio.usdel.icio.us diggdigg furlfurl

googlegoogle ma.gnoliama.gnolia netscapenetscape redditreddit spurlspurl

stumbleuponstumbleupon technoratitechnorati yahoo mywebyahoo myweb

By Victoria Knight, Dow Jones Newswires

A post recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal Blog which talked about Healthbase, Healthbase’s customers and the latest trend in medical tourism or global healthcare – traveling from one state to another within the United States in search for cheaper prices for major surgeries. Healthbase is one company that has been helping American patients connect to affordable hospitals in the US for major surgeries. The author writes,

Uninsured Americans also are shopping around for surgery in the U.S. in record numbers, and using new services such as Healthbase Online Inc. , a Boston-based medical brokerage that arranges treatments for patients at health-care facilities worldwide. Rodney Larson, a self-employed electrician from Minnesota, used Healthbase Online to arrange a triple heart bypass at Galichia Heart Hospital in Wichita, Kansas. He paid $13,000 flat fee for the surgery, about $90,000 dollars less than the rate for uninsured patients in Minnesota.

The current economic conditions…

Worsening economic conditions have made employers and workers more inventive in dealing with ever-rising health-care costs. Some are taking advantage of new health services that offer fixed rates for surgery to patients willing to travel to get care.

The financial benefits of domestic and international medical tourism cannot be overlooked and some insurers have taken active steps to reduce the health care costs for their clients in this slowing economy by offering them medical tourism options. The author mentions about the forward thinking by some health insurers and writes,

It’s a strategy that giving some insurers food for thought. WellPoint Inc., the nation’s largest health insurer, is currently evaluating programs and benefits where customers can “elect to seek certain services at designated facilities for a fixed per-case rate ,” according to a spokeswoman, Jill Becher.

Others insurers aren’t sold on asking customers to travel for health care. Aetna Inc. says it already negotiates significant discounts with medical providers. Typically, it pays physicians within three days of submitting a claim, so up-front cash payments aren’t a strong incentive for achieving additional discounts, according to a company spokesperson.

Request FREE quote for affordable major surgery within US or overseas

More at: Wall Street Journal Blog

Like it? Share it or save it!!

blinklistblinklist blogmarksblogmarks del.icio.usdel.icio.us diggdigg furlfurl

googlegoogle ma.gnoliama.gnolia netscapenetscape redditreddit spurlspurl

stumbleuponstumbleupon technoratitechnorati yahoo mywebyahoo myweb