Healing Holidays – Medical Tourism at its Best

For centuries, people have been traveling far and wide to be healed and yet today with all the information available at the fingertips, patients are still wary of trusting their health in the hands of a doctor thousands of miles away. However with the numbers of uninsured pegged at 47 million and the numbers of those not covered by dental insurance at 120 million, the medical scenario in US is grim with no end in sight.

Increasing medical costs and decreasing health benefits, is taking a heavy toll on those with either no insurance or a limited cover. At an age when health benefits are most sought, people struggle to stay healthy instead, for fear of rising medical bills. More often than not, the decision to stay healthy is taken right out of their hands and lands them in emergency rooms, where they are taken care of for the moment, but a lifetime of medical bills choke them to death. Even for those who live under a false security blanket that they are insured, having paid fat premiums all their productive years on the assurance that they will be provided quality health care when they need it the most, were in for a rude shock when news broke out that California Blue Cross, the state’s largest health insurance providers has been found guilty of systematically dropping policy holders, when they become sick or pregnant.

In a scenario like this, most often they are forced to seek out alternatives and one of the most attractive on the horizon in traveling to other countries, which promise the same medical attention if not better at 1/10th of the costs as in a hospital in the US. What however finally clinches the deal for the patient, to board the plane and travel 10,000 miles for the very first time in their lives, is a promise of a holiday in an exotic locale thrown in as part of the healing process.

The promise of a world class medical treatment at any of the Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited hospitals in India, China, Thailand, Philippines and others, an extended comfortable stay for the patient and a family member in hospital rooms which offer the luxuries of a five-star hotel room and the availability of a 24 hour registered nurse beats the odds out of treatments here. Besides the crippling costs, the hospitals budgeting needs here means shorter and shorter post-operative stays, which does not bode well with the elderly and the pregnant women.

Though over the last ten years, medical tourism in these countries is booming, thanks to half a million foreign patients to India alone till last year, there are still several millions who are hesitant to take the first step and research the information needed to put their mind and body at rest with the medical options available elsewhere. For those not so discerning patients, Global Health Care Facilitators have stepped in to find low cost, yet quality health care. One of the only three organizations promoting medical tourism here in the United States, Global HCF is just a click away from making a smooth transition to a hospital on foreign soil. The organization based in Cookeville, Tennessee not only helps partner the patient with the right doctor, it also makes travel arrangements, takes care of accommodation and food with a consolidated bill at the end of a comfortable healing holiday.

To those cynics who believe in stories of botched surgeries floating around, Dr. Bill Thomas, the brain behind Global HCF, a seasoned traveler himself says that though life-saving medical procedures like heart surgeries, cancer treatment and elective surgeries like dental implants and cosmetic surgery cost as less at 1/10th of the costs of a procedure in the US, it is not because of a lack of expertise, rather a lack of malpractice suits and high administrative costs, which has crippled the health industry here. A surgery which would cost 50,000 dollars and above here in hospital charges alone can be performed for as less as 10,000 dollars all inclusive of medical costs and a holiday package, a realistic amount which can be put together with savings and loans. Global HCF takes care to see that they partner with JCI certified hospitals. In most cases the doctors have been trained in USA and in Europe and have impeccable career records, with less than one percent failure rates.

Countries like India which are actively promoting medical tourism are increasingly seeking JCI certification, to instill faith in the medical tourists coming to them, very well realizing that the publicity generated by one botched surgery could de-rail a burgeoning industry, expected to jump 30 percent every year. Besides the hospitals equipped with the latest medically advanced diagnostic equipments, Indian pharmaceutical companies too meet stringent requirements of the US Food and Drug administration. Medical advancements have meant that Indian doctors can now perform the hip re-surfacing surgery among others where the damaged bone is scraped away and replaced with chrome alloy, an operation which costs less and causes less post-operative trauma than the traditional hip replacement procedure done in the US.

To those who refuse to believe that anything could surpass the medical treatment available here in the US, there are statistics to show that the doctors in these developing countries, have far more expertise and a higher success rate in handling complicated life-saving surgeries, than the doctors here in the US, thanks just to the sheer volume of surgeries they handle on a daily basis. Besides in most cases, treatment here in the US is hardly an option for those with little or no insurance. In such a scenario, if traveling to an exotic destination would mean that they can be healed and lead a productive life post-surgery, instead of wasting away for want of expensive, medical care, then it certainly seems worth taking that one chance.

How to Decide If a Voluntary Medical Procedure is For You

There are some people who are so afraid of medical procedures they will go to great lengths to avoid them even when necessary. They put off visiting a doctor until their symptoms are unbearable or until something is seriously wrong. Not everyone is like this though. Many people understand the value of not just medical care, but volunteer surgeries. Some go overboard with voluntary procedures and the opposite end of the surgery spectrum can be just as dangerous and expensive as avoiding medical attention. But if you are able to find a happy balance between necessary procedures and procedures that will help you live a happier, healthier life, you will find there are numerous benefits to being open to voluntary medical procedures. Imagine you are a couple desperate to have a child but your body is not cooperating. You may need the support of a fertility clinic. Fertility problems can be treated safely and effectively, and before you know it you will be welcoming a new addition to your family. These procedures can be expensive and there is some risk associated with them, but if you visit an experienced, professional doctor, there is no reason why your treatment cannot go smoothly and work out well for you and your spouse.

People who have spent their lives unhappy with a specific part of their body may be some of the first to consider voluntary surgical procedures. Plastic or cosmetic surgery will help you alter your body so you are a better version of yourself. In cases where a facial feature or aspect of your body has always prevented you from feeling truly beautiful, a surgical procedure could change your entire life by boosting your confidence and getting that feeling you have always wanted. If you have found your body has changed due to childbirth or the normal changes that come with age, cosmetic surgery can help you restore your body to a younger, more familiar shape or size. Cosmetic surgery changes are not going to make you into an entirely new person, but they may be just the boost you have been searching for.

Finally, there are voluntary surgical procedures that will improve your health but that may not be treating a life threatening issue. If you are dealing with pain and discomfort in certain parts of your body, there are often things that can be done that will relieve your chronic pain. You could live without these procedures, but by taking the somewhat controllable risk of having surgery, you will eventually lead a higher quality of life. Most doctors recommend that the surgery is worth the risk unless another issue you have increases the risk a great deal. In many cases, health insurance will pay for these procedures, but there are occasions when they are not viewed as necessary, so there may be some financial challenges associated with the surgery. In the long run though, if you can eliminate chronic pain in your daily life, you will be happy with your choice.