Medical tourism

Every time Dr. Brian Day burps, there are dozens of articles about the woes and perils of ‘private’ health care. But have you ever heard once anyone talking about the potential of private health care as an economic development driver?

Health care is the fastest growing industry in North America. Six of the top 10 fastest growing occupations over the next 20 years are expected to be in the health care sector.

A number of offshore countries are beginning to make medical tourism a targeted economic development sector and companies in the United States including Companion Global Healthcare — via BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina — are offering health insurance covered medical tourism programs.

Countries like Singapore, Thailand, India, Korea and Costa Rica pour money into health care facilities in preparation for medical tourism to take flight.

One expert cited in this article believes medical tourism will go mainstream because, while the United States has advanced health care, it is debatable whether or not it has the best service and the best access to care for most people.

Instead of whining and complaining, wouldn’t it be neat if New Brunswick could become a nearshore medical tourism option for U.S. citizens? We could build a world class health care system for a market of 300 million people. We could invest some of the ‘profits’ from that system to ensure that the public system in New Brunswick is very good.

Now, most of you are laughing at this right now. But I urge you to think this through. Why would this be so hard? The industry is high wage, highly skilled. We do have the ability to attract some health care workers from the U.K. and Quebec because wages are lower there compared to here. In addition, the buzz we could build from being a medical tourism destination could lead to attracting other health care sectors including remote diagnosis (reviewing xrays from afar), telecare, research, etc.

Or we could continue to ignore the fastest growing industry in North America because we are all tied up in knots about the word ‘private’.

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0 Responses to Medical tourism

  1. www.broadcastnb.com says:

    I don’t think anybody is ‘laughing’ about that. That’s serious business, the problem is, do you actually expect that a medical system that barely considers the health needs of canadians is going to set up a private system that will continue to operate in any way that remotely considers them?

    In other words, set up ‘private’, lose ‘public’. People’s health is not supposed to be an ‘industry’. I wonder if you would be saying that if instead of your wife having to wait a year, they simply told you there was no chance of seeing somebody, or it would be two years or three.

    If there aren’t enough suppliers for the local market, how can you expect there to be enough to service a BIGGER market.

    The problem, as usual, is political and media driven. Say, for example, that its known that in some part of the province there is an underuse of staff or resources. This was the case until they started closing all the hospitals where this was the case.

    But does anybody know what those are? Does anybody actually TRUST government enough to put their life at risk over the possibility that a new industry ‘may’ arrive. New Brunswick barely even has a ‘provincial’ health service. I was looking online and something as important as organ donation isn’t even handled by a provincial body, but barely by the individual regions.

    It’s particularly true since its very apparant that the new generation of doctors is highly salary driven. Do you really think a doctor who is going to have the option of more money is going to think ‘hmmm, you know I really enjoy all the bureaucracy of the public system and the lower wages’.

    Public insurance was fought hard by doctors, and with good reason. And public insurance was a hard fight to win by our parents and grandparents, and with only nominal success. There’s a good reason to fear a return to ‘the bad old days’.

  2. David Campbell says:

    With all due respect, your opinion on this thing reflects my concern. We get tripped up in terminology and ignore an economic opportunity that could represent thousands of good paying jobs over the next couple of decades. If you have a brain surgery clinic in New Brunswick offering private services to U.S. clients, I still think you can still offer publicly covered brain surgery to New Brunswickers.