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Medical Tourism: Why Do Americans Seek Neurologists Abroad?

Cured Americans Seek Neurologists Abroad

 

Lately, many Americans seeking medical care travel to other countries as part of medical tourism. Medical tourism is a popular activity among US residents that happens every year. American medical tourists frequently visit Mexico, Canada, Cuba, the Caribbean, and Latin American countries. Healthcare can be obtained in a foreign country in a variety of ways, such as the following:

  • Another country may offer more affordable treatment or procedures.
  • Healthcare providers who speak the traveler's language and culture will likely provide the traveler with the best care.
  • Procedures or therapies that are not approved or available in the United States are impossible to obtain.
  • Many people undergo medical treatments in the medical tourism industry, such as dental care, cosmetic surgery, surgical procedures, fertility treatments, transplant surgeries, and cancer surgery.

 

Expensive Neurologists in the United States

The estimated cost of a neurosurgical procedure was $578.43 (standard deviation, $264.61). The mean cost of different procedures ranged from $299 (standard deviation, $103) for burr hole evacuations to $1,444 (standard deviation, $481) for the excision of brain tumors. For most surgeries, overhead costs represented the largest proportion of the total cost (30%-40%).

Ralph Grosswald, CEO of Beyond Borders Dental LLC, adds, “Our patients can trust In Beyond Borders Neuro to come from only a small group of carefully selected offices, ensuring top-notch neuro care. The neurologists are interviewed at our clinics, documented on their education and credentials, procedures for sterilization are reviewed, and laboratory tours are conducted. When someone just surfs the web to choose a neurosurgeon, they might have a less positive experience." He adds, “Our neuro specialists in Mexico come through a much different system. To reduce medical and neuro costs in an underprivileged country, Mexico established programs for neuro students to educate themselves for free by contributing a year of service as neuro specialists in their community. A strict price control system is in place for drugs. Unlike in the US, because trained neuro specialists do not need to pay back enormous loans, as well as the low cost of rent and labor, Mexican neurosurgeons are able to deliver high-quality neurological treatment for a much lower cost, usually 50%-70% less than US neurologists.”

 

A cautionary approach to medical tourism

Several factors can influence your risk of complications: the location, treatment facility, physical and cognitive conditions for your procedure, and prior knowledge of the care given. A number of other factors can contribute to complications, including:

 

Viruses and infectious diseases

Almost every medical procedure involves some risk of complications. However, procedures performed in other countries have the potential to result in infections of the wound, bloodstream, infection from the donor, as well as diseases that may cause them, including hepatitis B, C, and HIV, in addition to other infections.

 

Resistant against antibiotics

Antibiotic resistance is indeed an issue that needs to be addressed globally; however, some countries have a higher likelihood of developing antibiotic-resistant infections. Infectious disease outbreaks among medical tourists are caused by bacteria that are highly drug-resistant.

 

Health Care Quality

It is also possible that there are countries where licensing, accreditation, and credentials are lower than American standards. Various illegal drugs and low-quality medical devices are usually available in some countries.

 

The challenges of communication 

It may be difficult to communicate with the healthcare facility and the staff at the destination. If you struggle with a language barrier when receiving care at a facility, it can result in inaccurate information about the care you will receive.

 

Taking flights

The risk of developing blood clots, such as deep vein thrombosis, increases after surgery. Travel by air should not be performed after chest or abdominal surgery unless the atmospheric pressure changes before it. Those who undergo cosmetic surgery on the face, eyelids, or nose, and have completed the procedure, are advised to wait 8-12 days before flying. 

 

Care continuity

If you have complications after returning from overseas, you may need medical attention in the United States.

 

A Guide to Minimizing Medical Tourism Risks

Make sure you get a consultation before you leave

In case you plan to travel abroad for medical care, see your neurologist consultant at least 3–5 weeks before traveling for information on how to stay healthy while visiting abroad as well as specific risks related to your health, before and after the procedure, and what to expect from traveling there.

  • Medical evacuation from a foreign country should be covered by international travel health insurance.
  • Discover what activities are prohibited after the procedure before planning vacation activities, like swimming or taking tours.
  • Keeping your medical records up-to-date is important
  • Your medical records should be brought with you, along with any lab tests and other tests you may have undertaken. Any allergies you may have should be communicated to the neurologists at your destination.
  • Prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines should be packed in a travel health kit. If there are any delays, bring extra medicine to last you for your entire trip. Be sure to bring a list of all the prescriptions you have and a copy of all the medications you take, along with their brands, generic names, manufacturers, and dosage information.
  • Take a copy of your medical records where you will be staying at the destination, and ensure you have them before returning home. There is a possibility that they will need to be translated into English.

According to the American Journal of Medicine, medical tourists travel to other countries to receive medical care. It was developed because many Americans sought cheaper cosmetic, dental, or surgical procedures when they were on vacation abroad. Compared with other countries, they charge lower rates due to lower wages for neurologists, lower overhead costs because patients pay cash, and malpractice insurance costs are lower. 

The majority of medical tourists travel to Central and South America or Asia. There are also a number of European countries that offer excellent healthcare at significantly lower costs. The Czech Republic boasts some of the most affordable neuro and cosmetic surgeries, as well as some of the best services. A European vacation and medical care can be combined in the Czech Republic, which can be a great option for Americans.

There is a concern that Americans will receive a lower quality of health care than in other countries; however, they each have a state-of-the-art healthcare system that holds the same or higher standards. Vacationing in beautiful venues coupled with significant health insurance savings means these are likely to remain destinations for medical treatment for a long time to come.

Since medical tourism generates such a large revenue, local governments and cities actively attract medical tourists. Dubai, Singapore, and Malaysia are examples of these cities. There are a number of healthcare brokers on the market both in the U.S. and abroad that provide travel services, reservations, excursion planning, as well as hospital admissions, and early access to neurologists.

There is no doubt that India provides excellent neurosurgical care and cancer surgery, but it has also gained popularity as a destination for cosmetic surgery, eye surgery, and bariatric surgery. A number of American retirees live there as well, and it is among the top five countries people visit for medical treatment. There is a 40% to 50% reduction in medical costs compared to the United States.

 

Conclusion

In addition to medical reasons, travelers may seek treatment or a procedure that may be cheaper in another country. Cost is the biggest factor, as travelers may get cheaper treatment elsewhere. The cost of consultancy by neurologists in the U.S. averages $140 compared to $60 in Mexico, which is a 70% reduction. In the case of skull surgery, a saving of 60.63% occurs, with $3,250 compared to $1550.

A person's choice to travel for healthcare is also influenced by different factors, such as language and culture. It is also common for people to go abroad to receive medical treatment or procedure that is unavailable or approved in the USA. “Patients should balance their U.S. costs against the total cost of overseas procedures and travel and keep safety as their first priority,” says HealthCare.com co-founder Jeff Smedsrud. “Medical travelers should also remember that many countries require U.S. citizens to have travel insurance in order to visit.”

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