Medical tourism going mainstream

I just listened to a documentary on this. By my count there are now about a dozen countries promoting themselves as a destination for medical tourism.

It’s really not that crazy an idea. The Americans pay – by far – the most for health care in the world. The comparative cost – full cost all in – for major surgeries in the U.S. is double or triple the cost in Canada.

People have so many entrenched notions about health care – this would never work in New Brunswick but I think it should at least be given a serious look. What sector has the highest average wages in New Brunswick? Health care. What sector has been growing the fastest in New Brunswick? Health care. What cost has been eating up the vast majority of new government spending in New Brunswick? Health care.

So, you go to the medical schools, double your seat allocation in various programs. Ramp up the infrastructure and start promoting the heck out of NB as a place for medical procedures.

Your direct flights to Boston and New York get a huge boost. You could charge 40% or 50% more than the cost of the service and plow that money back into the system. You could create hundreds maybe more of high paying health care jobs and you would be an innovator.

Cripes, why would an American fly to Israel if they could get the service in New Brunswick?

I know that it’s a nutsy idea – but I think it could be work exploring.

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0 Responses to Medical tourism going mainstream

  1. IMS Global says:

    Dear David,
    In reply to the question why would an American go to Israel for medical care, there are a few reasons.
    1. If the American is one of the 50 plus million without health insurance then Israel has the same high standard of health care only at a fraction of the price.
    2. Jews, Christians and Muslims all look of an opportunity to come to Israel, you won’t find the Temple Mount or The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in New Brunswick…

    anyone interested in medical services in Israel can visit our site for more information.

    By and by Canadian’s are also coming to Israel for surgery they would have to wait 3 to 4 years to have done in Canada.

    Ira Nissel
    IMS Global Israel

  2. mikel says:

    Let’s not get carried away, there are NO surgeries that canadians wait 3 or 4 years for. Waiting times are at an ‘all time high’, which are 18 weeks for non emergency surgeries. The average is 25 weeks, that’s 6 months, which is bad enough, but isn’t years. Scans are 4 weeks and 9 weeks between seeing a GP and specialist.

    However, that begs the question that if there aren’t the machines or staff to service canadians in a timely fashion, how exactly do you build up a ‘medical tourism’ industry? NB can’t even find nurses and doctors, let alone foreign patients.

    However, a necessary first step (besides more funding) is the medical school, which Graham has apparantly pushed back to 2010, against the wishes of his own cabinet. Maybe he’s saving it for 2026.