Medical Tourism

The Mexican official today presented the Government’s strategies for participation in the market for “medical tourism”, a segment in 2020 will leave the country income and $ 4050 million to 650 000 visitors of this kind, according to estimates by the Ministry of Tourism (Tourism Ministry). Medical tourism is traveling to another country to obtain medical services and, during the period of stay, do some sightseeing, activity in which Mexico joined in 2009 a total of 122 million dollars? According to projections by the Tourism Ministry, in 2010 Mexico will get 304 million dollars in medical tourism. The goal is for U.S. residents to use medical services in Mexico, which is necessary to “bring medical capabilities and infrastructure” of the country to expected demand and “remove obstacles to the development of this segment,” explained minister. Mexican officials have proposed a two-phase strategy. The first is a pilot program lasting five years that will focus on the Hispanic population in the U.S. uninsured and in some specific groups seeking private insurance for dental procedures, ophthalmology and cosmetic surgery. Also offered in this initial part of orthopedic procedures, heart and cancer in basic and intermediate level.

The second phase, also lasting five years, aims to position Mexico as a destination for advanced medical services, with the idea to bring all the uninsured and those with private insurance in the U.S. general seeking procedures “more advanced and highly specialized.” The geographical proximity of Mexico to the U.S., lower costs for health services and the ability to provide post-medical procedure in specialized rehabilitation centers are some of the “competitive advantage” of the country. For example, in 2007 a bypass heart cost 130 000 U.S. dollars and $ 28,000 in Mexico, according to the Tourism Ministry. The Mexican strategy to win in the medical tourism has taken into account factors of success in countries like India, Thailand, Brazil, Costa Rica and Colombia. In Mexico, states that to date have “simultaneously developed medical infrastructure and tourism with a greater potential” are the Federal District, Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua, California, Sonora, the official said. Mexico has more than 40 private hospitals with the capacity to provide high quality services, of which eight have been approved by the “Joint Commission International (JCI), the largest organization of certified U.S. hospitals. Elizondo explained that it is “key” to achieve insurance arrangement between the U.S. and private hospitals and clinics in Mexico to receive reimbursement for services rendered. According to projections by the Tourism Ministry, in 2010 Mexico will get 304 million dollars in medical tourism, but will invest 1.027 million dollars in the industry to have by 2020 a total of 165 hospitals with more than 50 beds.

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