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Medical Tourism? Insurance may pay — MSNBC.com

Reference: MSNBC.com: Hip surgery in India? Insurance may pay

In the past few months I’ve been hearing about this medical tourism thing. It sounds really cool — maybe even exotic, doesn’t it? You go see the Taj Mahal, one of the seven wonders of the world, and stop by the local medical center for a tummy tuck, face lift, and skin peel. It gives the notion of someone coming back with that “vacation look” a whole new meaning.

If you read the article, the American medical experts warn that this isn’t the safest option. They feel that the United States is the place to receive some of the top healthcare in the world (in terms of quality, not price). And I’m inclined to believe them.

It’s rather sad that so many Americans are forced to seek healthcare outside our borders. It just illustrates how badly things have become.

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  • http://fdmd.blogspot.com/ Filipus Dasawala

    It’s in their nature, I guess. Since, quite the same thing happen here except that here they don’t trust the doctors. They don’t care how much money will be spent as long as they get treatment abroad (mostly Singapore and Malaysia). It’s so sad knowing the fact that UI is one of the pioneer of medical school in SEA.

  • http://fdmd.blogspot.com Filipus Dasawala

    It’s in their nature, I guess. Since, quite the same thing happen here except that here they don’t trust the doctors. They don’t care how much money will be spent as long as they get treatment abroad (mostly Singapore and Malaysia). It’s so sad knowing the fact that UI is one of the pioneer of medical school in SEA.

  • http://www.worldmedassist.com/ Robbie

    Naturally, it’s in American medical professionals best interests to tout our standard of care as the best in the world, but several other countries have facilities that are at least on par, and in some cases better, than what’s available here. Our patients at WorldMed Assist, a medical tourism company, find that the pre-op tests are WAY more extensive than they’d find in the U.S.; they stay in the hospital until recovery is absolutely ensured; and the medical team pays them far more attention than they’d get at home.
    One recent patient, Jerry Mead of Illinois, had bilateral hip replacement in India for which his hospital stay for both surgeries and physical therapy was 24 days. Imagine a U.S. hospital keeping a patient for 24 days for orthopedic surgery!

  • http://www.worldmedassist.com Robbie

    Naturally, it’s in American medical professionals best interests to tout our standard of care as the best in the world, but several other countries have facilities that are at least on par, and in some cases better, than what’s available here. Our patients at WorldMed Assist, a medical tourism company, find that the pre-op tests are WAY more extensive than they’d find in the U.S.; they stay in the hospital until recovery is absolutely ensured; and the medical team pays them far more attention than they’d get at home.
    One recent patient, Jerry Mead of Illinois, had bilateral hip replacement in India for which his hospital stay for both surgeries and physical therapy was 24 days. Imagine a U.S. hospital keeping a patient for 24 days for orthopedic surgery!

  • http://www.JeffreyMD.com/ Jeff W

    Thanks for your comment and little advertisement for your company, Robbie.

    No offense, but it is also in the best interest of you and your company to, in your words, “tout” the facilities of foreign countries.

    Furthermore, relying on your patients’ assessment of pre-operative tests being more extensive than they would find in the U.S. is hardly convincing to me.

    I’m not trying to diminish the experience of your patients. I’m sure they enjoyed their experience if you are willing to use them as testimonials for your company. But are they trained medical doctors? Do they have the knowledge base to accurately asses the standard of care? Or, have they experienced the same procedures both here in the U.S. and abroad? If not, how can they claim that pre-op tests are “WAY more extensive” there? Certain procedures lend themselves to more pre-op care than others; I’m sure you know this.

    Honestly, it would be more convincing if you would show me studies done by independent third parties comparing the standard of care at the facilities you describe with those here in the States. I would think that one such study would be published in one of our medical journals?

    Am I challenging your comment? Sure. Am I being disrespectful? I hope not. I’m just not convinced and would be willing to look into whatever medical data you can provide.

  • http://www.JeffreyMD.com Jeff W

    Thanks for your comment and little advertisement for your company, Robbie.

    No offense, but it is also in the best interest of you and your company to, in your words, “tout” the facilities of foreign countries.

    Furthermore, relying on your patients’ assessment of pre-operative tests being more extensive than they would find in the U.S. is hardly convincing to me.

    I’m not trying to diminish the experience of your patients. I’m sure they enjoyed their experience if you are willing to use them as testimonials for your company. But are they trained medical doctors? Do they have the knowledge base to accurately asses the standard of care? Or, have they experienced the same procedures both here in the U.S. and abroad? If not, how can they claim that pre-op tests are “WAY more extensive” there? Certain procedures lend themselves to more pre-op care than others; I’m sure you know this.

    Honestly, it would be more convincing if you would show me studies done by independent third parties comparing the standard of care at the facilities you describe with those here in the States. I would think that one such study would be published in one of our medical journals?

    Am I challenging your comment? Sure. Am I being disrespectful? I hope not. I’m just not convinced and would be willing to look into whatever medical data you can provide.

  • http://www.medicaltourismco.com/thailand-hospitals/medical-tourism-Thailand.php Medical Tourism Thailand

    At the moment, I do not have any data of the type you mention, but Americans are voting with their feet for medical tourism. That should be proof enough of the quality of medical care abroad.

  • http://www.medicaltourismco.com/thailand-hospitals/medical-tourism-Thailand.php Medical Tourism Thailand

    At the moment, I do not have any data of the type you mention, but Americans are voting with their feet for medical tourism. That should be proof enough of the quality of medical care abroad.

  • http://www.JeffreyMD.com/ Jeff W

    I love how these medical tourism companies come here commenting with links to their own company page. I should really be charging advertising fees. Or just removing their links. Oh well, That’s fine.

    Regarding the latest comment: You want me to take Americans “voting with their feet for medical tourism” as proof of quality medical care abroad? I’m sorry, but that is just poor science. And that says absolutely nothing about quality of care abroad.

    Americans are merely going for the cheaper alternative. What is one of the biggest points of advertisements on medical tourism pages? Cost. And you know what “they” say: You get what you pay for. (Ok, that last statement is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but you get my point.)

    If Thai hospitals charged the same price as American hospitals, do you think that they would “vote” to be treated there? It’s sad that are medical choices are economically driven, but that is simply the state of healthcare. Hopefully that changes soon.

    And on another note, if you think that Americans always “vote” for quality… would you care to comment on some of the things we have voted for as a country in the last decade? Like, say, the president?

  • http://www.JeffreyMD.com Jeff W

    I love how these medical tourism companies come here commenting with links to their own company page. I should really be charging advertising fees. Or just removing their links. Oh well, That’s fine.

    Regarding the latest comment: You want me to take Americans “voting with their feet for medical tourism” as proof of quality medical care abroad? I’m sorry, but that is just poor science. And that says absolutely nothing about quality of care abroad.

    Americans are merely going for the cheaper alternative. What is one of the biggest points of advertisements on medical tourism pages? Cost. And you know what “they” say: You get what you pay for. (Ok, that last statement is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but you get my point.)

    If Thai hospitals charged the same price as American hospitals, do you think that they would “vote” to be treated there? It’s sad that are medical choices are economically driven, but that is simply the state of healthcare. Hopefully that changes soon.

    And on another note, if you think that Americans always “vote” for quality… would you care to comment on some of the things we have voted for as a country in the last decade? Like, say, the president?

  • http://www.JeffreyMD.com/ Jeff W

    I just visited the Medical Tourism Thailand page (link is with the comment above).

    I notice that these sites for international medical procedures have statements like the following:

    We have screened these hospitals based on their track record, international accreditations and associations (including some associations with prestigious medical institutions and hospitals in the US).

    The site I listed above mentions Yanhee International Hospital as one of the medical tourism hospitals. Will the commenter from that company kindly tell me which international health organization has accredited it? And I’d like to know which “prestigious medical” institution or hospital in the US is it associated with? If you don’t know for Yanhee Hospital, maybe one of the other Thai hospitals your company uses?

    I realize I reacted very quickly in my last comment without looking at your page. So if you could provide that information.. I’d greatly appreciate it.

  • http://www.JeffreyMD.com Jeff W

    I just visited the Medical Tourism Thailand page (link is with the comment above).

    I notice that these sites for international medical procedures have statements like the following:

    We have screened these hospitals based on their track record, international accreditations and associations (including some associations with prestigious medical institutions and hospitals in the US).

    The site I listed above mentions Yanhee International Hospital as one of the medical tourism hospitals. Will the commenter from that company kindly tell me which international health organization has accredited it? And I’d like to know which “prestigious medical” institution or hospital in the US is it associated with? If you don’t know for Yanhee Hospital, maybe one of the other Thai hospitals your company uses?

    I realize I reacted very quickly in my last comment without looking at your page. So if you could provide that information.. I’d greatly appreciate it.