Today, medical tourism is a widely accepted and proven formula for top quality care at low cost. Given the manifold increase in the number of patients traveling overseas for medical and surgical care from the US, the American College of Surgeons (ACS) has recognized that surgical care has become more readily available in a wider global market, and that this phenomenon is here to stay. So, the College recently developed an official “Statement on Medical and Surgical Tourism”, which according to ACS are “consistent with the College’s longstanding advocacy position of promoting an environment of optimal care for the surgical patient”.

The College has developed several key principles (listed below) for those who choose to seek surgical care abroad. The College:

  • encourages patients to seek care of the highest quality and supports their rights to select their surgeons and health care institutions without restriction.
  • encourages its Fellows to assist all patients in reaching informed decisions concerning medical care, whether at home or abroad.
  • advises patients to consider the medical, social, cultural, and legal implications of seeking medical treatment abroad prior to deciding on a venue of care.
  • encourages patients electing to receive treatment abroad to seek care at health care institutions that have met the standards for accreditation established by recognized accrediting organizations.
  • encourages patients electing treatment abroad to seek care from surgeons and anesthesiologists certified in their specialties through a process equivalent to that established by the member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.
  • encourages patients receiving treatment abroad to obtain a complete set of medical records prior to returning home so that the details of their care are immediately available to their physicians and surgeons in the U.S. Follow-up care at home should be organized prior to travel whenever possible.
  • encourages patients contemplating medical tourism to understand the special risks of combining long international flights and certain vacation activities with anesthesia and surgical procedures.
  • opposes the imposition of provisions for mandatory referral of patients by insurers to health care institutions outside the U.S., unless such provisions are clearly and explicitly stated in the insurance contract and accepted by the subscriber.
  • supports the view that payors referring patients for mandatory treatment abroad should be responsible for the coordination and reimbursement of follow-up care in the U.S., including the management of postoperative complications, readmissions, rehabilitation, and long-term care.

Source: Statement on Medical and Surgical Tourism by ACS

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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

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