A new twist on medical tourism: American surgeons, patients meet in Mexico

Ayla Ellison (Twitter) - Print  | 

Some U.S. companies are paying for employees to travel to other countries for medical care. To alleviate concerns about quality of care, American surgeons are traveling to perform their procedures, The New York Times reports with Kaiser Health News.

The report highlights the story of one patient who traveled to Cancun, Mexico, for knee replacement surgery. The patient, Donna Ferguson, gets her health coverage through her husband's employer, Ashley Furniture Industries. In exchange for having her surgery performed in Mexico, Ashley Furniture paid Ms. Ferguson $5,000 and covered her travel costs. She also received the surgery free of out-of-pocket copayments or deductibles, according to the report.

An orthopedic surgeon flew from Milwaukee to Cancun to perform Ms. Ferguson's knee surgery. The surgeon was paid three times the Medicare rate for performing the procedure. He is one of roughly 40 orthopedic surgeons in the U.S. who have teamed up with Denver-based North American Specialty Hospital to treat patients abroad.

When patients are deciding whether to travel abroad for surgery, a key consideration is the quality of care they will receive. NASH hopes having American surgeons perform the procedures will alleviate quality of care concerns for patients and self-insured employers considering whether to offer this option to their workers, according to the report.

Access the article from The New York Times and Kaiser Health News here.

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