The growing popularity of medical tourism among the American people as a lower cost alternative to medical care in the United States has inspired some questions in the medical community.
Medical tourism enables people to obtain American quality health care for less than half of what it would cost in the United States, by traveling to other countries that have fully accredited hospitals that offer the highest quality health care.
What if you, as a nurse or doctor, are chatting with a patient who desperately needs a knee replacement and they tell you they simply cannot afford the surgery unless they take out a 2nd mortgage on their home?
Do you feel comfortable telling them about the option of medical tourism? If you work in a hospital, you might feel such a discussion would take business away from your employer. Yet as a health care professional, you are dedicated to doing what is in your patient’s best interest.
A knee replacement, which typically costs around a total of $40,000 in the U.S.A., will only cost around $12,000 abroad. When you include travel expenses, lodging, and physical therapy before returning home, the price on average is still around 60% less than the same treatment in the United States.
Click here to review a chart lists a few examples of procedures with typical costs. Notice how the costs in the United States are so much higher than the rest of the world.
Upon researching health care alternatives outside the United States, you’ll find that many Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospitals exist just a few hours away from the United States by airline. JCI accreditation means that all doctors and nurses have met or exceeded the same educational requirements, as well as safety and quality standards demanded in the USA. The only difference is cost.
As an advocate for your patient, it should always be your intention to do what is in their best interest and present all the alternatives. Does this include informing your patient about medical tourism?