In this video we learn what is "medical tourism" and if it's tied to the health care crisis in the United States.
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Why are we seeing an increase in Medical Tourism? Renee-Marie Stephano: Well, the reason that we're seeing a lot of it is primarily because of the media. Medical tourism has been going on for decades, but it's just in the last couple of years that we're seeing this rise in American Medical Tourism, and that's primarily because of our healthcare crisis. We have 50 million uninsured, a 120 million who don't have dental health insurance, and we have underinsured. And players basically can't afford the healthcare plans that are put up by the insurance companies. So what they're doing is they're actually dropping plans or self funding and trying to create really creative options for having healthcare for the patients, like sending them abroad for treatment. How safe is it for patients to receive treatment overseas? Renee-Marie Stephano: That's a two part question. JCI is the international branch of JC which accredits hospitals here in the US. There's about 425 accredited through JC in the US, and a 125 accredited internationally through JCI. JCI is a lesser accreditation standard because it incorporates basically customs and different aspects of country's demographics and geographical issues that are raised that would make it almost impossible to accredit an agency through JC standards. We have sort of a unification here in the US where when you're going country-to-country you can't unify it like that. You need to take in the consideration the cultural differences. So that ends - it's not the end all, because first of all, that accreditation is not necessarily as stringent as the JC accreditation here. But what you'll find is you'll find other organizations, accreditation organizations, that internationally accredit these hospitals that are more stringent, or hospitals themselves that have created standards for themselves that are higher than or more than what JCI requires. So is it safe? It is important, I think if you're concerned about safety issues to actually look at JCI accredited facilities. But primarily what you're looking for is a surgeon. What you have internationally is the situation where a lot of the surgeons are not employees of the hospitals, they're independent contractors. That being said, they travel from hospital-to-hospital may be from a JCI accredited hospital to a non JCI accredited hospital. So you might pick a surgeon because he's the best qualified in the area and he's got the best outcomes for a particular surgery, and that doctor might be at a different hospital that's not JCI accredited, but he also works at a JCI accredited. So you can choose the hospital may be out of convenience of dates, you could choose a non JCI accredited hospital to go to but you're going to get the same surgeon to do the surgery. So it's not the end all.