It seems the recent economic crisis has created a boom in medical tourism for plastic surgery. As Americans spend less, they have been turning to lower-cost foreign care providers for a wide variety of procedures.
According to Josef Woodman, author of Patients Beyond Borders and noted consumer advocate for the globalization of healthcare, the market in the United States for overseas medical care is currently valued at $20 billion annually, a number expected to double by 2010.
More than 220 overseas hospitals and care centers are now accredited by the Joint Commission International, the nation’s leading hospital accreditation organization. And major U.S. hospitals, such as Johns Hopkins Medical Center and Columbia University Medical Center, have begun to form partnerships with international clinics to coordinate care.
At the same time, a new medical tourism industry has sprung up, with medical concierge companies fiercely competing to sell patients package deals to dozens of overseas destinations for medical care.
But are patients seeking plastic surgery abroad without sufficient information? Are they failing to ask necessary questions or fully considering the possible outcomes of their decisions? Are Americans prioritizing their wallet over their safety and placing themselves at needless risk? There are many reports of disasters related to plastic surgery tourism.
So what questions should you ask before making a decision to seek overseas plastic surgery or other medical care?
First and foremost, you should investigate the a medical tourism provider’s reputation before doing a deal.
For example, providers who specialize in travel to only one country and only offer first-tier providers are more likely to be trustworthy. A responsible medical concierge service will also make the resumes of its recommended doctors available upon request, along with verifiable testimonials from former patients. Medically trained staff and public recognition are other signs that a medical tourism company is legit.
At the end of the day finding a well trained board certified plastic surgeon right here in the U.S. of A. will likely keep you safe and minimize the hassle factor.