United States


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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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.

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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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Healthbase has helped an uninsured American patient get double hip resurfacing surgeries in India. The high cost of Birmingham hip resurfacing surgery in the United States plus the lack of expertise in this procedure in the country continues to drive scores of Americans to India.

Nov. 21, 2008, Boston, MA. Healthbase Online Inc., an award-winning medical tourism facilitator based in Boston, Massachusetts, helps an Arizona-based former ballet dancer treat her hip osteoarthritis in India. 53-year old Katharine Frey who had arthritis in both her hips traveled to Apollo Hospitals, Chennai to have her hips resurfaced and availed of the 85% discount on the cost of the surgery.

“I have appreciated everything we have experienced and received at the Apollo Hospitals . Everyone has been very kind, supportive and helpful,” says Katharine after her hip resurfacing surgery last winter. She was so happy with the quality of care she received at her overseas hospital that she went back a few months later to have her second hip resurfaced.

Being uninsured, the $60,000 required to have a single hip resurfaced in the US seemed out of reach for Katharine. This led her into researching her other option – surgery overseas – and contacting Healthbase who coordinated both her surgeries in India for $8,000 each. The price included doctor’s fees, physical therapy and a week in the hospital.

According to Saroja Mohanasundaram, CEO of Healthbase , “Our clients prefer going abroad for Birmingham hip resurfacing because it is a fairly new procedure in the US but has been in use, say, in India, for many years. Being a major procedure it demands years of practice on the surgeon’s part to gain proficiency. The fact that Katharine went back to have her other hip resurfaced in India speaks volumes about the high level of satisfaction with our service and that of our partner hospitals and surgeons.”

Katharine Frey taking off on a paragliding flight just weeks after her hip resurfaicng surgery in India
Katharine Frey taking off on a paragliding flight just weeks after her hip resurfacing surgery in India

Katharine returned to work merely two and a half weeks post operation and to teaching ballet twenty days post operation. Katharine actively participates in swimming, yoga, hiking, paragliding, and cross-country road trips. “She has no pain in her hips and is moving and functioning like a normal human. I am so grateful and am enjoying watching Katharine return to life,” remarks Scott Martin, Katharine’s husband.

Katharine was operated upon by Dr. Vijay Bose and his team. Dr. Bose, a specialist in Birmingham Hip Resurfacing, Joint Replacement and Sports Medicine, has over a thousand BHR surgeries under his belt.
“Beyond the cost savings, the attention given was remarkable. Dr. Bose and his qualified staff will always be remembered for this,” adds Katharine.

Impressed by the high quality of care in India, even Scott, who accompanied Katharine to India addressed some of his periodontal issues through dental scaling and crowns at Apollo Hospitals while Katharine recuperated after her second Birmingham hip resurfacing surgery.

“It has been a positive life changing process for both of us. Thank you, Healthbase, for being so receptive, supportive and professional,” acknowledge Katharine and Scott.

Healthbase connects patients from across the globe to health care facilities in India, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea, Philippines, Turkey, Belgium, Hungary, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Mexico and United States. Healthbase has over 45 providers on its network.

About Healthbase Online Inc.:

Healthbase, an award-winning Boston-based medical tourism and dental tourism facilitator, is a one-stop source for global medical and dental choices, connecting patients to leading healthcare providers around the world. 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. Healthbase’s partner healthcare facilities are located in Thailand, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, Belgium, Hungary, Costa Rica, Panama, Brazil, Mexico and USA, and are expanding to Canada, UK, Jordan, Taiwan, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia, El Salvador and Guatemala. To ensure that patients receive the best care possible, Healthbase works mainly with hospitals that have international accreditations like JCI, JCAHO and ISO. Healthbase caters to the needs of individual consumers, self-funded businesses, insurance carriers, benefit consultants, insurance agents, and third party administrators seeking affordable medical travel and dental travel options. To learn more, call 1-888-691-4584, email info.hb @ healthbase.com or visit http://www.healthbase.com.

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