Alpharetta, GA (PressExposure) July 28, 2009 -- A partnership agreement recently signed between Global Surgery Network, Inc. (GSN) and Hospital Punta Pacifica of Panama makes the benefits of medical tourism available to a greater number of Americans.
In 2008 more than one million Americans traveled abroad for medical treatments, primarily because overseas operations typically cost 60% to 70% less than those done in the USA. But not all hospitals are accredited to the same high standards, and many fine medical facilities are located long distances away.
Formerly, patients seeking the benefits of medical tourism had to spend up to 30 hours flying to India or Thailand to get world-class medical care at substantial savings. Now, thanks to the partnership with GSN, a short, four-hour flight can bring millions of Americans to Panama City and Hospital Punta Pacifica, the only hospital in Central America accredited by JCI and operated by a division of Johns Hopkins, ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #1 hospital in the USA for 19 consecutive years.
"Traveling after surgery can be harmful for clotting," says Jack Schafer, President of GSN, "and spending 30 hours on a plane right after a major medical procedure is dangerous. So our clients were staying in India or Thailand for two extra weeks just to be safe. Now we can get a patient in and out of Panama in one week, and our complications insurance covers any problems that may need to be addressed back home."
In addition to facilitating access to internationally accredited hospitals and surgeons around the world, GSN also coordinates the dozens of details that can impact a patient's experience in a foreign country. For example, they assist with booking 4- or 5-star hotel accommodations and air travel, acquiring necessary travel documents, providing a full-time English-speaking local assistant with private car and driver, and an international cell phone for 24/7 communications with family and friends back home. They also facilitate insurance arrangements as well as coordinating communications between the overseas surgeon and the patient's home physician.
International medical travel is a $5 billion industry, and it is expected to grow to over $20 billion by 2012 as many large, self-insured US employers and major health insurance providers are discovering the benefits of medical tourism.
Global Surgery Network is one of only five facilitators in the USA certified by the Medical Tourism Association.