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Monday, March 24, 2008

Reluctantly, he said the dentist had done a good job: Medical tourism

When Josef Woodman's father decided to fly to Mexico for a few months to have some restorative dentistry done, his son was horrified, and took the trip with him out of fear for his father's well-being, as well as to satisfy his own curiosity.

"My dad had isolated three clinics in the area of Puerto Vallarta that performed the procedure he needed, and had eliminated two of them rather quickly. At the third, a board-certified dentist performed work that, here in the States, would have cost about $24,000, for $11,000 including accommodations and traveling costs for a month."

"I've traveled for my own procedure – a $4,000 root canal that, in Cost Rica, cost about 25% less. There were many Americans in the waiting room. Upon returning home, I had my dentist check the work. Reluctantly, he said the dentist had done a good job."

The Joint Commission International (JCI) a US-based accrediting body that evaluates medical facilities overseas with a particular focus on state-of-the-art technology, has been accrediting hospitals overseas for about 10 years, and in 2002 there were less than 40 accredited hospitals. Now, there are more than 130.

Singapore alone receives 400,000 visitors a year as part of medical tourism, and most speak English. It seems to be a growing trend; about 200,000 Americans, and even more Canadians, travelled abroad for medical care last year.

Upon their return, Mr. Woodman had a new smile – and his son had a new focus for his writing. Now Josef has written a book, Patients beyond Borders [which I haven’t read yet] about medical tourism.

Advice to underinsured people needing expensive care: In considering medical tourism, do your homework about the quality of care.

Browse for related stories in the index at the very bottom of this page, or read another medical tourism story.

Thanks to Jaclyn Stevenson for the source article in the March 2008 issue of The Healthcare News of Western Massachusetts.

1 comment:

Writerjax said...

thanks for the ping! :) jaclyn