MEDICAL TOURISM - Outlook for medical tourism Medical...

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Outlook for medical tourism Medical tourism is likely to grow at a fast rate. As demand increases, so will supply. Countries are beginning to recognize the revenue that they could earn by capturing the medical tourism market. It is inevitable that competition in this market will increase dramatically in the years to come. Growth Rates At the international level, health tourism is an industry sustained by 617 million individuals with an annual growth of 3.9% annually and worth $513 billion (Carrera). Internationally known hospitals, such as Bumrungrad in Thailand and Apollo in India, report revenue growth of about 20 percent to 25 percent annually. McKinsey & Company estimates that Indian medical tourism alone will grow to $2.3 billion by 2012. Singapore hopes to treat 1 million foreign patients in 2012. Increased Competition Countries are beginning to recognize the benefits of medical tourism. Medical tourism generates revenue for a country and creates jobs. The growth of medical tourism in Asia has launched a competition between countries to lure medical tourists. Other countries entering the market and increasing efforts to allure medical tourists include the UK, Australia, Germany, Belarus, Israel, Latvia, Lithuania, Philippines, Cuba, Costa Rica and Hungary (Connell, 2006). Each new country will offer something different to attract tourists. Each country specializes in certain surgeries. For example, Cuba emphasises that the quality of its professionals in plastic surgery and dentistry ( www.cubanhealth.com ). Cuba specializes in skin diseases. India is using technology to become the most important global destination it has upgraded technology, absorbed western medical protocols and emphasized low cost and prompt attention. Regulation Currently, federal laws are restricting the growth of medical tourism. Federal and state policies must be reformed in order for American patients to benefit from global health care. Global competition in health care would benefit American consumers because it would reduce costs and improve quality of care. The federal Stark laws limiting relationships between physicians and hospitals need to be modified to let health care providers offer integrated medical services, including follow-up care for patients returning from treatment abroad. Medicare and Medicaid programs should be encouraged to send willing patients abroad. Medicare in particular would benefit from cost savings due to its large volume of orthopedic and cardiac procedures. Foreign physicians who meet standard criteria should be considered licensed if their skills have been evaluated and approved. Medical licensing laws currently prohibit licensed practitioners from other countries to practice in the US. There are laws that prevent physicians in one state from consulting with patients in other states by telephone and email. In this day and age, these laws are creating obstacles that make it more difficult for Americans to receive optimal care. There needs to be reform to regulation laws concerning follow-up care. There are worries that if
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This note was uploaded on 04/23/2009 for the course HADM 2255 taught by Professor Robson during the Spring '08 term at Cornell University (Engineering School).

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MEDICAL TOURISM - Outlook for medical tourism Medical...

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