Joint Commission International


A surgery coupled with a zip-line flight above a rainforest is probably one of the weirdest adventures you have heard of. But that is what some tourists – medical tourists – traveling to Costa Rica are doing – taking advantage of both the fun part and the not-so-fun medical part – both at an affordable price.

You may have heard about ecotourism. That is what Costa Rica is most famous for. National parks, protected areas, forest reserves, cultural heritage, and flora and fauna untouched by human intervention are what you get to experience when you travel to this most visited nation in the region. But, did you know that Costa Rica is also one of the highly sought-after medical tourism destinations in the world?

WHAT TREATMENTS TO SEEK?

Low-cost high-quality medical care in this exotic country is the reason why patients don’t mind flying to Costa Rica. Former FOX 2 meteorologist from Michigan, Chris Edwards, can vouch for that. He took a trip to Costa Rica for a colonoscopy and some long-wanted dental work. So can Wanda Bough from Kansas, who had a hysterectomy procedure in Costa Rica and saved $23,000. Colonoscopy is a screening of the colon and rectum – the two main parts of the large intestine – to look for inflamed tissue, ulcers, and abnormal growths. Hysterectomy is a surgical removal of the uterus.

Be it cosmetic or plastic surgery ; or LASIK or dental treatments ; or the feel-good wellness treatments and preventive check-ups; or the more serious ones like bariatric , orthopedic and cardiac care ; international patients choose Costa Rica for all sorts of medical services .

WHAT ABOUT QUALITY?

As our medical tourists Chris and Wanda affirm, the service afforded is warm, personalized and above all top-notch in quality. Hospital Clinica Biblica and CIMA Hospital , for example, are both Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited.

What it means to you as a patient is that the same quality of health care that you receive in the USA can be expected at these hospitals in Costa Rica. The Joint Commission International (the international subsidiary of The Joint Commission that accredits US hospitals) is a non-governmental organization with head offices in the United States of America awarding accreditation to health centers around the world in accordance with the most selective international standards and thus ensuring patients will receive superior quality hospital service.

Wanda, who is a registered nurse, understands it very well as she explains in her statement, “I know how hard it is for us to pass certification visits [at our hospital in the US].” She was so impressed by her hospital in Costa Rica, she said, “You could eat off the floors there. The hospitals were spotless.”

WHY COSTA RICAN HEALTHCARE SELLS?

But most of all, why Costa Rican medical care sells is because it is cheap.

$350 is all Chris paid for a colonoscopy in the capital city of San Jose. In his research, doctors in the United States had asked for anywhere between $3,250 and $9,000. Some studies show hospital costs alone to be $1,400 to $3,500 in the US. After tagging on the doctor fees, anesthesiologist fees and lab costs, the cost for a colonoscopy in the United States can be overwhelmingly high especially if you are uninsured or if the test is not covered by your insurance plan. Chris carried a health insurance plan with high deductibles so he figured the medical tourism road would be the most economical even with travel and lodging costs added on. And while he was there he also had extensive dental work done which he says cost him a third of what he thinks he would have paid in the US.

BUYERS BEWARE!

However, here is a word of caution. As with any country in the world, it is true that there are both good and poor providers in Costa Rica as well. So we recommend you do your homework well or engage a specialized medical tourism facilitator. Wanda and Chris are glad they chose the US-based Healthbase to connect them to medical and dental facilities in Costa Rica and also so they could benefit from the various concierge services offered by the company.

IN SUMMATION

Costa Rican humming birdIf you are an eco-tourist looking for affordable medical attention, then Costa Rica is a perfect destination for you. The beautiful surroundings you will get for recuperation will be an added bonus. Just remember to do your due diligence or simply hire a medical travel agent like Healthbase to save you the headache. Also, when you are in Costa Rica remember to make a bird-watching stop because the country is home to 800 species of them!

Healthbase, the leading US-based medical tourism provider, has partnered with a JCI accredited German hospital in order to bring wider options and greater convenience to Americans, Canadians, Europeans and others looking for affordable, timely and high quality medical and dental treatments.

Healthbase Online Inc., the leading and award-winning medical tourism facilitator based in Boston, MA, has announced partnership with a Joint Commission International accredited hospital in Germany. With the addition of this JCI accredited hospital, Healthbase now has a network of over 100 health care and dental care providers spread across 18 countries. For the medical tourist it means more choices, wider variety and greater convenience.

According to Saroja Mohanasundaram, CEO of Healthbase, “With growing demands from our consumer base for a quality tertiary medical care center in Europe, we are excited to have our newest Germany-based healthcare provider onboard. Our new member provider is JCI-accredited thereby giving the peace of mind to our patients regarding the high standards of quality that will be delivered by it. Our German provider offers a full complement of services and is an excellent choice for patients looking for orthopedic, spinal and bariatric treatments at a much discounted rate compared to USA and much faster access to service compared to that offered by public health care systems in Canada or the UK.”

For patients from Europe, especially from the European Union (EU), this would be as good as going to a local hospital with the advantage of high or higher standard of service and without the inconvenience of the infamous waitlists as seen in government-sponsored healthcare systems such as the National Health Service or NHS in the United Kingdom.

The hospital offers procedures like joint replacement procedures (such as hip replacement surgery and knee replacement surgery), spinal procedures (such as spine fusion surgery and artificial disc replacement surgery), and weight-loss procedures (such as lap band surgery, gastric bypass or RNY procedure and gastric sleeve surgery), among hundreds of other procedures.

The favorable geographical location of Germany means that for patients coming from North America the flight times are shorter compared to other famous medical tourism destinations such as those in Asia. For those traveling from other European countries it is at a stone’s throw.

Mohanasundaram adds, “We have carefully chosen our German provider after a rigorous selection process keeping in mind all aspects of affordable, safe and top quality medical tourism care. Patients can expect as much as 50 to 70% less cost compared to the cost of care in other developed countries such as the United States. Also, the staffs at our German provider speak English, thus, making communication easy.”

Healthbase has the biggest and geographically most expanded network of healthcare and dental care providers in the industry. Patients have a wide selection of destinations to choose from for their low cost high quality medical care and dental care needs. These include Germany, India, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, New Zealand, Jordan, Turkey, Hungary, Belgium, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Mexico, and USA.

Healthbase serves the American, Canadian, European, African, Asian, Middle-Eastern and Asia Pacific markets, and offers more than 200 procedures.

About Healthbase Online Inc.:
Healthbase, an award-winning US-based medical tourism and dental tourism facilitator, is a one-stop source for global medical and dental choices, connecting patients to leading internationally accredited healthcare providers in 18 countries including India, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, Germany, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and USA. Healthbase caters to individual consumers, self-funded businesses, insurers, benefits plan consultants, third party administrators and those using Consumer Directed Healthcare Plans (CDHPs) or voluntary benefit plans. Healthbase coordinates over 200 procedures in various categories like orthopedic, spinal, cardiac, bariatric, urology, oncology, dental, cosmetic and general surgery. Some of the common procedures offered are Birmingham hip resurfacing, total hip replacement, knee replacement, ACL repair, rotator cuff surgery, spinal fusion, spinal disk replacement, heart bypass surgery, lap band, gastric bypass, cancer treatment, liposuction, dental implants, crowns, bridges, etc. for a fraction of the cost in the US with equal or superior outcomes. To ensure that patients receive the best care possible, Healthbase works mainly with hospitals that have international accreditations like JCI. To learn more, call 1-888-691-4584, email info.hb @ healthbase.com or visit http://www.healthbase.com.

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The rising cost of health care in the United States is forcing an increasing number of U.S. citizens to turn their sights on Mexico for expert and cost-effective medical attention. But what about the health care for the elderly Americans who are already residing in Mexico? Should they be covered by Medicare in Mexico or should they have to fly back to America every time they need major medical care? Can the medical care providers in Mexico be trusted with the health of American seniors? Here’s an excellent read that recently appeared in a Mexican newspaper.

According to Paul Crist, the founder and president of Americans for Medicare for Mexico (AMMAC), a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing Medicare coverage to seniors living in Mexico, of the 800,000 American citizens living in Mexico approximately 200,000 are over 60 years old and thus are at or near eligibility for Medicare benefits.

Christ has lobbied 85 members of the U.S. Congress and prepared a 34-page proposal in which he outlines the pros of extending Medicare to Mexico. Medicare is now spending 6,700 dollars per year per beneficiary in the United States. For the same care in Mexico, Crist estimates that it will spend only 3,400 dollars, which translates to a very substantial saving.

Crist says that if Medicare is extended to Mexico, the program would only work with health care providers approved by JCI.

Although the health sector in Mexico is regulated and certified by the Mexican General Health Commission, the task of getting JCI certification for Mexico’s private hospitals is of prime importance.

One of the main reasons for pushing for certification is that the North American Free Trade Agreement or NAFTA obligates the Mexican medical system to be on a par with the United States and Canada, allowing for the free flow of patients from border to border and for fair trade, much like in other economic sectors.

But there is another huge reason for this interest in JCI certification and that is Medicare.

Crist revealed that ten hospitals in Mexico have JCI accreditation but another 23 are seeking approval. Among those already approved are the American British Padre Hospital and the Santa Fe Hospital in Mexico City and the Christus Muguerza Hospital and the Hospital Tec de Monterrey in Monterrey.

The approval of Medicare would greatly benefit hospitals such as Christus Muguerza, a Texas chain that now has seven hospitals under construction across Mexico. They have the advantage because their headquarters is in Texas, which gives Medicare a bit more confidence in the quality service they are going to provide.

In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, David Warner, a professor of health care policy at the University of Texas at Austin and a specialist on Medicare in Mexico, stated that an in-depth pilot project is needed to better understand the economics, determine whether Mexican heath care meets Medicare’s quality standards and determine if the payment system is sufficiently free of fraud.

According to Forbes, the U.S government is concerned that creating a Mexican medical exemption might be too complicated and costly to implement and would open the door for Americans in other countries.

Crist figures that if Medicare were accepted in Mexico, the 64 percent of American retirees currently flying back to the United States for expensive care would opt for treatment nearer their homes, cutting Medicare overall costs by a minimum of 22 percent.

Source: Guadalajara Reporter

For more information about quality health care services in Mexico and other countries at a major discounted price, log on to Healthbase and request a FREE quote for surgery.

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Healthbase looks to expanding its medical travel services to Jordan adding more internationally accredited hospitals to its already wide and rich network of healthcare and dental care providers in the United States and overseas.

Press Release — July 22, 2009

Healthbase , the leading US-based medical tourism facilitator , is gearing up to connect patients to top-notch internationally accredited healthcare providers in Jordan. This comes consequently after the recent familiarization tour (Fam Tour) of Jordan and of its world-class hospitals, an effort that was co-arranged by Private Hospitals Association of Jordan (PHA), Jordan Tourism Board, the Jordanian government and Medical Tourism Association (MTA).

According to Saroja Mohanasundaram, CEO of Healthbase, “We are grateful to the organizers for recognizing us as a pioneer and leader in the medical tourism industry and inviting us to the Fam Tour. Through this visit we look forward to establishing partnerships with several health care providers in Jordan. The Jordan Fam Tour has allowed us the opportunity to minutely evaluate the Jordanian healthcare so we can put on offer what’s best for our customers.”

Medical tourism in Jordan is ranked first in the Southwest Asian region and fifth in the world, according to one study by medical tourism experts at the World Bank (WB). The Jordanian government has also implemented processes to make immigration for inbound medical tourists quick and easy.

“Jordan has quite an advanced health care system and highly educated hospital workforce. Hospital staffs consider English as their second language. Furthermore, the country has several Joint Commission International accredited (JCI accredited) private hospitals which prove that the quality of care offered to international patients is on par with what is provided by their American counterparts,” added Mohanasundaram.

Treatment expenses in Jordan are only 25% or less compared to the cost in the United States of America, the amount being inclusive of airfare, patient’s stay as well as sightseeing tours.

“Although the primary reason why our patients travel abroad is to receive affordable top quality medical care, the complete medical plus tourism package that Jordan offers cannot be ignored,” noted Mohanasundaram.

Jordan, which is a popular tourism destination, received over 6 million arrivals in 2008. Tourist attractions in the country range from ancient historical places like Petra to unique desert sightseeing, and natural locations such as the Dead Sea to cultural and religious sites.

With its soon-to-be-announced venture into Jordan medical tourism , Healthbase is poised to continue to offer the most extensive network of healthcare providers covering every continent on the globe. Healthbase clients can currently choose their medical tourism destination from India, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, New Zealand, Turkey, Hungary, Belgium, Spain, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Mexico, and USA for their low cost high quality medical and dental care needs. Healthbase expects soon to expand its services to include Jordan, Taiwan, South Africa, Canada, UK, Poland, Czech Republic, Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Australia.

About Healthbase:

Healthbase, an award-winning US-based medical tourism and dental tourism facilitator, is a one-stop source for global medical and dental choices, connecting patients to leading internationally accredited healthcare providers in 16 countries including India, Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Turkey, Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico and USA. Healthbase caters to individual consumers, self-funded businesses, insurers, benefits plan consultants, third party administrators and those using Consumer Directed Healthcare Plans (CDHPs) or voluntary benefit plans. Healthbase coordinates over 200 procedures in various categories like orthopedic, spinal , cardiac , bariatric , urology , oncology , dental , cosmetic and general surgery . Some of the common procedures offered are Birmingham hip resurfacing , total hip replacement , knee replacement , ACL repair , rotator cuff surgery , spinal fusion , spinal disk replacement , heart bypass surgery , lap band , gastric bypass , cancer treatment , liposuction, dental implants, crowns, bridges, etc. for a fraction of the cost in the US with equal or superior outcomes. To ensure that patients receive the best care possible, Healthbase works mainly with hospitals that have international accreditations like JCI, JCAHO and ISO. To learn more, call 1-888-691-4584, email info.hb @ healthbase.com or visit http://www.healthbase.com.

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By Brian Wallstin
Seven Days
Vermont’s Independent Voice

By January, Jane Schaeffer could barely manage a walk around the block, which was no surprise: She needed a new hip.

Schaeffer, who is 64 and a yoga teacher in Bennington, didn’t like that prognosis. So, she consulted the oracle of Hippocrates — the Internet — and concluded that what she wanted was a Birmingham Hip-Resurfacing , or BHR, a less-invasive procedure developed in England and approved in the U.S. in 2006.

Unfortunately, Schaeffer’s insurance company, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, saw her case differently and insisted that, at her age, she should have her hip replaced . That left Schaeffer, if she wanted to get better, with a choice: Get a new hip on BCBSVT, or pull together $8000 and have the joint “resurfaced” in India.

For Schaeffer, it was no choice at all. On April 18, she underwent a BHR at Apollo Hospital in New Delhi. Two weeks later, she was home, preparing to return to work. “With full hip replacement , I would never have full range of motion in my hip,” she said. “I would never be able to teach properly again.”

Americans have been going abroad for health care for years. Retirement communities in Arizona routinely bus fixed-income residents over the Mexican border, where the prescription drugs and dental care are cheaper. For those with radically different needs, and a certain disposable income, Brazil and Argentina are famous for skilled, cut-rate plastic surgery; a $10,000 tummy tuck in L.A. or Houston might cost a third as much at Plenitas, a boutique clinic in Buenos Aires.

In the last few years, hospitals in exotic locales such as India , Singapore and Thailand have aggressively marketed major surgical procedures — heart bypasses and coronary valve replacements , for instance — at drastically lower prices than are available in the United States. And more and more Americans are taking advantage of it. A 2007 study by the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas estimated that about 500,000 U.S. residents traveled abroad for care in 2005. According to the management consultant McKinsey & Company, the worldwide “medical tourism ” industry was worth $60 billion in 2006, and is expected to reach $100 billion by 2012.

Concerns about the quality of care abroad have all but disappeared, thanks to improved standards of care that are monitored by accreditation bodies, such as Joint Commission International and the International Society for Quality in Health Care. Studies have shown that mortality rates at hospitals that specialize in medical tourism are as low as, or lower than, those at U.S. hospitals.

Jane Schaeffer said Apollo Hospital in New Delhi “was really a whole different universe.

“The whole situation there is set up for people who have hip resurfacing,” she said. “I had [physical therapy] twice a day, the surgeon came in twice a day to visit . . . I can’t recommend it highly enough.”

Schaeffer made her own travel arrangements to New Delhi but relied on an online broker, Healthbase , to find a doctor and hospital for the operation. Saroja Mohanasundaram, Healthbase’s chief executive officer, said her company has formed “partnerships” with major hospitals in 11 countries . Her staff handles everything from digitizing and transferring patient medical records, to arranging airport transfers and hotel accommodations.

“The medical part is the main thing,” Mohanasundaram said. “Once they like the facility and the doctor, then we try to help them with the logistics.”

Schaeffer said she arranged any needed follow-up care with an orthopedic surgeon in Bennington prior to her trip — a practice the AMA lists among its guidelines for those considering traveling abroad for health care. But, since her return from New Delhi on April 30, she has been walking without crutches and has full range of motion in her hip.

Her next step is to ask Blue Cross Blue Shield, which declined to authorize the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing, to reimburse her for the surgery.

“I’m going to appeal it, based on: I saved a lot of money, I can still continue with my work, and they were wrong,” she said. “We’ll see what happens.”

More at: http://www.7dvt.com/2008vermont-yoga-teacher-tries-out-medical-tourism

To arrange your medical travel trip overseas for any medical , dental or cosmetic procedure , contact Healthbase. Healthbase is an award-winning medical tourism facilitator connecting patients to leading healthcare facilities worldwide . Cost of surgical care at Healthbase’s partner hospitals is a fraction of the cost of similar care in the US for equal or superior outcomes.

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Healthbase is the trusted source for global medical choices, connecting patients to leading hospitals around the world, through secure and information-rich web portal. To learn more, visit: http://www.healthbase.com Login to get FREE quote. Access is free.Healthbase Logo

MEDICAL TOURISM AND JCI HOSPITALS

With the growth in the number of medical tourism providers quality standards become all the more important. To demonstrate their commitment towards quality some international health care organizations choose to be accredited by the US-based Joint Commission Internationa (JCI). JCI accreditation has gained worldwide attention as an effective quality evaluation and management tool. A JCI hospital is an international hospital outside of the United States which has been accredited by the Joint Commission International. There are over 120 JCI hospitals worldwide and many more are in the process of receiving accreditation.

The JCI accreditation program was launched by the Joint Commission in 1999 in response to the growing interest in accreditation and quality improvement worldwide. Accreditation is usually voluntary. The health care organization interested in a JCI accreditation has to meet a set of standards requirements designed to improve quality of care. JCI accreditation standards are usually regarded as optimal and achievable. Accreditation provides a visible commitment by an organization to improve the quality of patient care, to ensure a safe environment and to continually work to reduce risks to patients and staff.

JCI makes sure accredited hospitals have state-of-the-art health care facilities and technology along with advanced transportation and communication systems. JCI accredited hospitals’ health care standards, professionalism and quality of their doctors are equivalent if not superior to those you find in the United States of America.

JCI ensure the quality of hospitals in its network using the following criteria:
• Coverage From Patient Entry to Discharge
• Assessment for All Aspects of Management
• Culture of Patient Safety
• Access to and continuity of care
• Assessment and care processes
• Education and rights of individuals
• Management of information and human resources
• Quality leadership
• Infection control
• Collaborative integrated
• Facility Management

The above is a partial list of assessment criteria. For details, refer to Medical Tourism FAQ.

For affordable overseas medical treatment at a JCI hospital, please contact Healthbase. Healthbase is a medical tourism expert connecting patients to leading healthcare facilities worldwide.

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Healthbase is the trusted source for global medical choices, connecting patients to leading hospitals around the world, through secure and information-rich web portal. To learn more, visit: http://www.healthbase.com Login to get FREE quote. Access is free.Healthbase Logo

Know Your BMI

Body mass index or BMI is a measure of the weight of a person in relation to their height.

BMI is often times used to determine whether or not a person is obese. As BMI increases, the risk of some diseases increases. A BMI of 30 or above is considered obese in adults, which means a person is at a higher risk for certain diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease (CAD).

BMI can be calculated using either the BMI calculator or the following BMI chart.

BMI Chart

The following table provides information about the extent of the risk factors that may be associated with your calculated BMI. However, it should be noted that BMI is only one of many factors used to predict the risk of developing a disease.

BMI             CLASSIFICATION       HEALTH RISK 
Under 18.5      Underweight *        Minimal 
18.5 - 24.9     Normal Weight        Minimal 
25 - 29.9       Overweight           Increased 
30 - 34.9       Obese                High 
35 - 39.9       Severely Obese       Very High 
40 and over     Morbidly Obese       Extremely High

*Note: A BMI below 18.5 suggests you may be below the safety minimum.

Medical tourism is an affordable option to seek surgery to treat obesity. For more information about medical tourism and to get your free quote log on to Healthbase.

Healthbase is a medical tourism and dental tourism facilitator that connects patients to leading JCI/JCAHO/ISO accredited hospitals and dental offices overseas through a secure, high-tech, information-rich web portal. Healthbase provides a wide range of medical procedures through its partner hospital network. Over two hundred medical procedures are available in various categories: cosmetic and plastic, orthopedic, dental, cardiac, and many more. The savings are up to 80 percent from typical US prices even after adding up the travel costs, hospital stay and other related expenses. Healthbase offers more than just procedural availability; we also provide customers with extensive information on medical treatments, hospital and doctor profiles to help them make an educated decision regarding their treatment; travel planning and booking; applying for medical/dental loan and much more.

To learn more, visit http://www.healthbase.com and login to view our extensive hospital profiles including pictures of operating rooms, patient rooms, doctor qualifications, and lots more. Get a FREE quote now!!

Note: All information presented here has been obtained from publicly available medical resources and is here for reference purposes only. Healthbase does not claim to be a medical professional and does not provide any advice on any issues relating to medical treatment.

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