Medical tourism outsources health care

Medical tourism is a growing industry, sending Americans to India, Brazil and other countries for everything from cosmetic to major surgery.

Medical tourism joins health resort and medical spa tourism as a major player to the market for health and wellness:

As surprising as her choice may seem, in heading to India, Grant joined tens of thousands of other Americans who are going overseas for medical care -- to India, Thailand, Brazil, Singapore, to name a few places.

The first such travelers were looking for cut-rate cosmetic surgery. But today, many include people seeking necessary procedures, including heart bypasses, hip and knee replacements, cancer treatment and dental work.

They are finding clean, well-equipped, even luxurious hospitals that meet accreditation standards and often are staffed by American-trained doctors. Catering to an international clientele, they provide procedures at roughly one-tenth to one-quarter of the cost in an American hospital.

... that last year, 150,000 Americans went abroad for medical treatments. Based on interviews with travel agents and reports from international hospitals, Woodman made the educated guess that half sought dental care in Mexico and cosmetic surgery in Brazil or the Caribbean, and the other 75,000 went for major, necessary procedures at international hospitals in Asia.

Apparently, according to some, the care in some places can be equal to or superior to care in comparable U.S. medical hospitals, leading to the rhetorical question: "IF THIRD WORLD hospitals can offer care as good as the care at home at a fraction of the cost, what is the implication for American hospitals? Will they be forced to compete in a global marketplace, despite the built-in costs of the American health-care system, such as high wages and malpractice premiums?"

And will insurance pay for it?
The Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen offers corporate legal services, litigation consultation, and expertise in health law with a unique focus on holistic, alternative, complementary, and integrative medical therapies. The law firm represents medical doctors, allied health professionals (from psychologists to nurses and dentists) and other clinicians (from chiropractors to naturopathic physicians, massage therapists, and acupuncturists), entrepreneurs, hospitals, and educational organizations, health care institutions, and individuals and corporations.

Michael H. Cohen is Principal in Law Offices of Michael H. Cohen and also President of the Institute for Integrative and Energy Medicine (also known as the Institute for Health, Ethics, Law, Policy & Society), exploring legal, regulatory, ethical, and health policy issues in the judicious integration of complementary and alternative medical therapies (such as acupuncture and traditional oriental medicine, chiropractic, naturopathic medicine, homeopathy, massage therapy, energy healing, and herbal medicine) and conventional clinical care. Michael H. Cohen is author of books on health care law, regulation, ethics and policy dealing with complementary, alternative and integrative medicine, including Healing at the Borderland of Medicine and Religion, Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Legal Boundaries and Regulatory Perspectives (1998), and Beyond Complementary Medicine: Legal and Ethical Perspectives on Health Care and Human Evolution (2000), and Future Medicine: Ethical Dilemmas, Regulatory Challenges, and Therapeutic Pathways to Health Care and Healing in Human Transformation (2003).

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