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?

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WHAT MAKES YOUR BACK?

Anatomy of the human spine
Have you ever wondered what makes your back and neck bend, stretch and even rotate so swiftly and smoothly? These movements are possible due to the spinal column or vertebral column in your body which extends from the skull to the pelvis and is made up of 33 individual bones termed vertebrae. The vertebral column is not actually a column but is sort of a spiral spring in the form of the letter S.

The following figure illustrates the human spinal column:

Human Vertebral Column or Spinal Column

Human Vertebral Column or Spinal Column

Between each vertebra are strong connective tissues which hold one vertebra to the next, and acts as a cushion between the vertebrae. The disc allows for movements of the vertebrae and lets you bend and rotate your neck and back. The type and degree of motion varies between the different levels of the spine: cervical (neck), thoracic (chest) or lumbar (low back).

The cervical spine is a highly mobile region that permits movement in all directions. The thoracic spine is much more rigid due to the presence of ribs and is designed to protect the heart and lungs. The lumbar spine allows mostly forward and backward bending movements (flexion and extension).

 

WHAT BREAKS YOUR BACK?

Spinal osteoarthritis

Back pain

Back pain

Spinal arthritis or osteoarthritis of the spine is a common cause of back pain. It is the mechanical breakdown of the cartilage between the vertebral joints in the back portion of the spine leading to mechanically induced pain. The joints become inflamed and pain may be felt when performing even the simplest of activities like standing, sitting or walking. Over time, bone spurs – small irregular growths on the bone, also called osteophytes – typicaly form on the vertebral joints and around the spinal vertebrae which may become so large as to cause irritation or entrapment of nerves passing through spinal structures and result in spinal stenosis (diminished room for the nerves to pass).

Classification of spinal osteoarthritis

– Lower back (lumbar spine) osteoarthritis or lumbosacral arthritis, which produces stiffness and pain in the lower spine and sacroiliac joint (between the spine and the pelvis)

– Neck (cervical spine) osteoarthritis or cervical spondylosis, which causes stiffness and pain in the upper spine, neck, shoulders, arms and head.

Causes of spinal osteoarthritis

The most common causes are repetitive trauma to the spine from repetitive strains caused by accidents, surgery, sports injuries and poor posture. Other risk factors include aging, gender (more common in post-menopausal women), excess body weight, genetics, and associated diseases (like infections, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, etc.)

 

WHAT REMAKES A BROKEN BACK?

Surgical treatment of spinal arthritis

For spinal arthritis, the only effective surgical treatment is spine fusion surgery, to stop motion at the painful joint. In fusion, one or more of the vertebrae of the spine are united (fused together) using bone grafts so that motion no longer occurs between them.

Interbody Spine Fusion System

Interbody Spine Fusion System

Uses of spinal fusion surgery

Spinal fusion surgery is used to treat:

– a fractured (broken) vertebra e.g. spondylolisthesis

– deformity e.g. scoliosis or kyphosis (spinal curves or slippages)

– pain from painful motion

– instability

– some cervical disc herniations (fusion together with discectomy)

– weak or unstable spine caused by infections or tumors

For more information about spine fusion surgery, check out medical tourism for spine fusion surgery through Healthbase.

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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

TOP 10 REASONS WHY MEDICAL TOURISM IS POPULAR

Medical Tourism dates back to the times when wealthy Europeans and Asians would travel within their continent or to other continents to seek health related treatments. But, of late, the trend has been popularized by Americans, Canadians, British and others who travel to far-off countries in search for low-cost high quality health care or for care that’s not readily available in their country.

Following are the top 10 reasons why people travel to far-flung developing countries for medical care:

1. Incredible Savings
The top on the list is savings. Depending upon your destination country and the cost of the procedure back home, expect to save at least 50%.
For example: A cardiac bypass surgery is estimated at well over $100,000 in the US. But in India, at a 5-star type hospital, you can have the same surgery for only about $10,000. That’s 90% savings even after you have paid for your travel, accommodation and vacation for yourself and a companion.

2. No Wait-Lists
Access to immediate service is what attracts those from countries that have public health care system towards medical tourism . A case at hand is that of a Canadian who suffered from chronic back pain for 16 years and was given medication to deal with it for all those years. Tired of the system and of the worsening pain, she went to India to get her spinal surgery. She now tells everyone how she got her life back by going to India .

3. Excellent Quality
To demonstrate their commitment to quality many international providers choose to be accredited by organizations such as JCI, JCAHO and ISO or by their local accrediting organizations. Read testimonials by medical tourists who vouch for the high quality treatment they have received overseas.

4. World-Class Facilities
International providers offer luxurious accommodation, private spacious rooms, and access to hospitality services 24 x 7. The facilities are immaculate and there are no infections that we so often hear about being present in UK hospitals.

5. Access to Latest Technology
The technology and equipments used by them are the latest and the greatest. It’s not uncommon to see surgeons working with billion dollar robotic machines in operating rooms.

6. Surgeon Expertise
Most surgeons catering to international patients have either been educated or have received professional training at top schools in the US, UK or in other countries in Europe. They have colleagues in the US, UK and elsewhere, so it should not come as a surprise if they know your local surgeon at home.

7. Personalized Service
Most medical traveleres vouch for the genuine and excellent service that they receive from surgeons, nurses and other medical staff alike. The staff to patient ratio is low making high level of personal care possible.

8. Longer Hospital Stay
One of the advantages of medical travel is you get to stay in the hospital for long without incurring hefty room charges. You can have a longer hospital stay than possible in your local hospital back home under the supervision of your surgeon and physical therapist.

9. Great Convenience
Given the ease of international travel combined with low airfares, your life-changing surgery is just a flight away. Another convenience that you get is not having to leave the comforts of your home until the surgery is due. You can research all you want on the Internet about hospitals and surgeons, share your medical records online with them, book and plan your itinerary on the web, etc.

10. Travel Opportunities
While the primary motivation for most customers is affordable surgery the opportunity to visit exotic destinations is an additional draw for some. You can choose to have a relaxing recovery in a resort setting or if your surgeon allows you can even enjoy outdoor tourist attractions.

You can learn more about the growing trend of medical tourism , international healthcare facilities and surgeons and the details of the medical tourism process by logging on to http://www.healthbase.com. Healthbase.com is a medical tourism facilitator committed to providing low-cost high quality medical travel services to the global medical consumer.

To learn more about medical tourism, read the medical tourism blog.

For the latest news, interviews, videos, etc, about medical tourism, check out the surgical tourism blog.

Before embarking on your medical travel trip, do read the overseas medical travel blog.

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