This morning I met with executives from Sanivisit, a new medical tourism company based here in Reston, Virginia. This company is affiliated with the Colsanitas corporation in Bogotá, Colombia.
I met with Mr. Alberto Ospina, a native Bogotano and President of Sanivisit and his colleague, Ms. Monica Wainbarg, Medical Tourism Advisor. Both of them were very gracious and interested in this project.
I was surprised and pleased to see that both of these individuals have certainly done their homework. In this past, I have had mixed experiences with medical tourism companies. Some have been excellent, but others like the LaMontes, (interviewed for Cartagena surgery project) were blatant opportunists with little understanding or caring about the specialized needs of the medical tourist.
This was not the case with Sanivisit. Both of the executives I met with have personally visited and met with all of the physicians involved. They have toured and inspected travel facilities, and have arranged for VIP services for their clients. As Mr. Ospina explained, “I’ve been in every hotel, measured the rooms, talked to the staff. I make sure that rooms are clean, and comfortable. I make sure that there is room for wheelchair accessibility. I talk to everyone. I make sure that everyone involved knows what we are doing.”
This includes arranging for transportation, diagnostic testing, doctors appointments, private nursing care after surgery, and even physician house calls, if needed.
Right now, they are trying to get the Colsanitas hospitals included in some of the medical tourism pilot projects (as alternatives to India) with several health insurance companies. As readers know, several other large health insurance companies already support and encourage medical tourism excursions, and have establish separate divisions to assist medical tourism efforts. (Unfortunately, in many cases these divisions exclusively work with Indian hospitals. As we’ve discussed at Cartagena Surgery on multiple occasions, and published elsewhere on-line – India is a less than ideal location for American patients for several reasons.)
Since the company is in its infancy. the next year will be the trial by fire for Colombian medical tourism, Sanivisit and Colsanitas. They seem like genuine, and caring individuals. I wish them the best of luck.
In the future, I hope to interview some of their returning clients for readers here – to get their perspectives and experiences.
For the sake of absolute transparency and honesty, I would like to disclose that I have offered several of my articles on Medical tourism to Sanivisit for their use (with no compensation or remuneration.)
Update: October 2011