There’s a new article over at IMTJ about a new medical facility being built in Bogotá – but it’s not the facility itself that is interesting (sounds like a new private cosmetic surgery mega-clinic).
It’s the statistics within the article that caught my eye. I’m not sure how accurate these statistics are, but if true – it confirms much of what we’ve been saying here at Bogotá Surgery. I’ve placed a direct quote from the article below:
“According to Colombia’s Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism the most popular treatments sought by visitors are heart surgery (41%), general surgery (13%), gastric band surgery (10%), cosmetic surgery (10%), cancer treatment (6%), orthopedic treatment (4%, dental care (2%) and eyecare (1%).”
If this information is even remotely accurate – it confirms what many of within the medical tourism have been saying – and contradicts much of the popular media reports.
People aren’t just going overseas for breast implants and face-lifts – people are going overseas for essential lifesaving treatments, and procedures to improve their quality of life.
This is an important distinction to make, but many people tend to see cosmetic procedures as frivolous, and consider the issues around medical tourism, and travel health to be equally unconcerning*. So when they see flashy news stories (good or bad) about patients having overseas surgery (which the media usually portrays as plastic surgery) they shrug and change the channel.
Hmmm.. patient died of liposuction in Mexico (or Phoenix or India..) Or Heidi whatshername had 26 procedures at a clinic overseas..
But as these statistics show – that’s not the reality of medical tourism – and that’s what makes all of the issues around it even more important.
People may not get fired up about insurance coverage for medical tourism for cosmetic surgery – but what about tumor resection? or mobility restoring orthopedic procedures? Or as cited above, life-saving heart surgery?
When put into this context – the government (President Obama’s) stance against medical tourism looks a little less democratic – particularly given the state of American healthcare.
* This is not the opinion of the author – but an accurate reflection of statements made in multiple articles and news stories
In other news: Joint Commission take note: The Indian Health Commission plans to perform surprise health inspections of Indian facilities to ensure quality standards. (Joint Commission announces their impending visits months ahead of time.) Joint Commission is the organization that accredits most American hospitals.