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

DENTAL SURGERY

Dental surgery is any of a number of medical procedures which involve artificially modifying the development or arrangement of teeth in the mouth.

Dental surgery falls into 4 major categories:
1. Endodontics: It deals with the tooth pulp and the tissues surrounding the root of a tooth. The pulp (containing nerves, arterioles and venules as well as lymphatic tissue and fibrous tissue) can become diseased or injured, and is often unable to repair itself; if it dies, endodontic treatment is required.

2. Prosthodontics: It is the specialty of implant, esthetic and reconstructive dentistry. It involves the restoration of oral function through prostheses and restorations (i.e. complete dentures, crowns, implant retained/supported restorations). Cosmetic dentistry, implants and joint problems all fall under the field of prosthodontics.

3. Orthodontics: It is a specialty of dentistry that is concerned with the study and treatment of malocclusions (improper bites), which may be a result of tooth irregularity, disproportionate jaw relationships, or both. Orthodontic treatment can focus on dental displacement only, or can deal with the control and modification of facial growth. Orthodontic treatment can be carried out for purely aesthetic reasons – improving the general appearance of patients’ teeth and face for cosmetic reasons – but treatment is often prescribed for practical reasons, providing the patient with a functionally improved bite (occlusion).

4. Periodontics: It is branch of dentistry which studies supporting structures of teeth (supporting tissues are known as periodontium) and diseases and conditions that affect them. It involves treating diseases and conditions of the periodontium. Periodontists specialize in the management of patients with periodontitis, gum recession and surgical placement of implants.

For affordable dental surgery overseas, please contact Healthbase. Healthbase is a dental tourism expert and medical tourism expert connecting patients to leading dental offices worldwide and leading healthcare facilities worldwide. Healthbase also offers dental tourism plans and medical tourism plans for self-insured businesses looking for affordable dental care benefits and affordable healthcare benefits for employees.

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Brought to you by Healthbase www.healthbase.com info.hb@healthbase.com 1-888-MY1-HLTH


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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