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In the world of outsourcing toda ...

Posted Nov 10 2008 4:24pm

In the world of outsourcing today, I can't help but stop and think of how this effort could get organized as time goes on with chartered aircraft leaving the US full of patients being taken to an "outsourced" hospital, simply due to cost.  Like most other Americans, I would prefer to be taken care of in my own country and not have the added trip to another country added on to my care simply because of cost. 

Of course this type of activity also opens up other areas of sales and marketing too.  Will we someday see an airline named "Osteo Express" dedicated to transporting US citizens to foreign countries for surgical healthcare?  Would insurance companies be the prime funding source due to cost and yet create another new type of health plan that would encompass a discount for the "medical tourism" option, "plan MT"? 

I know some of this may sound a little far fetched, but think about it with today's current trends...are we in fact moving in this direction and what impact this will this have on our own US Healthcare.  As in any business, you almost have to ask the question, how far can outsourcing go.  Some insurance companies have already outsourced call centers to other countries and is this the next plateau?  I have read stories too where the surgeon on some occasions also takes the trip to provide the surgical procedure in another country too, again simply due to cost.  The sad thing about all of this is that we have the best doctors and best diagnostic equipment in the world right here at home...where do we go from here?  BD

St. Petersburg, Fl. - From watching Bobbie Berger walk, you wouldn't know she's had both hips replaced. Surgery on her left side was only seven months ago, but she's not in pain and she's walking well.

Berger had her right hip replaced at Tampa General Hospital in 2000 when she had insurance through her employer. But when she needed her left hip replaced in 2006, Berger was self-employed without insurance. She says surgery at TGH was estimated to cost her between $95,000 and $110,000.

But Berger didn't have that kind of money, she was in pain and it was hard for her to walk.

So Berger checked into surgeons and hospitals overseas and chose an orthopedic surgeon at Gleneagles Medical Center in Malaysia. Berger flew to Malaysia for hip replacement surgery in November 2006 and recuperated for nine days at a resort. A combination of surgery and vacation called medical tourism.

But Berger says the most fascinating part of her trip, and the biggest reason she went, was the cost. The total hospital bill was $7,821.69.

Airfare and the hotel bill brought Berger's total cost to about $10,000-thousand dollars, about one-tenth the cost of hip replacement surgery in the United States.

Local & State News - Tampa Bay's 10 - tampabays10.com

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