The Chief Executive Officer of GlobalChoice Healthcare discusses the truths and myths of medical tourism.
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Are we seeing a rise in Medical Tourism? Ken Erickson: We are not seeing an increase in medical tourism. That's a misnomer, just isn't happening. Individuals who have no insurance maybe seeking care in other countries, and that's getting the press. But in reality, there is no corporation, there is no corporate movement and there is no movement on a large scale to actually send people overseas for care. So the numbers are not correct. How safe is the care in other countries? Ken Erickson: Well the point is, I mean there is really no -- since it's not happening, there is really no. I mean that's not an issue. If you are an individual, we consider medical tourism is recreation or desperation. People who are going, who made a decision to go get a face lift in Costa Rica, fine. Somebody going to that's recreation. Most of people who are medical tourist are have their last resort, right? So they are willing to for go safety, security, credit at accreditation to go get a procedure for a low cost. So that's the market. What is the cost difference in procedures done here vs other countries? Ken Erickson: The total procedure maybe a lot less, but when you add in the total cost of the travel and lodging and experience, and litigation, the jurisdiction and everything as a package, and you look at the cost now in the US that we're able to obtain. There is just not that bigger cost differential. So there really is no financial driver now to make it happen. The cost of the procedure, yes, it's less, but all in it's the cost differential is coming down. What are the downsides of travelling outside the US for healthcare? Ken Erickson: That's tough. I mean distance, there is distance cultural differences. There is a lot of downside to it. I mean, there is upside, could be financially but as discussed that's coming down. So there really is no driver now to access care overseas. The quality and reporting standards are different in different countries. So, so you really just kind of have to depend on what you can, which would be a joint commission accreditation of a facility. Are there barriers in place to prevent people from going abroad for treatment? Ken Erickson: No. You can go. If you are an individual and you need care you can go wherever you want. There is no barrier. Medical tourism will not have an effect on corporate America. It will always be for the uninsured, the desperate or a recreational activity. It cannot, it cannot applied to corporate America. So medical tourism will always be a little industry. Great! That's all what we do.