Destination Medical Care: Right New Take on an Age-old Practice

Many people look at a destination medical care as a new idea.  In fact, nothing could be farther from true.  From antiquity, people around the world have traveled to distant locations to reach the best medical care possible.  The earliest references date from about 2650 BC, when people traveled to see the Egyptian physician Imhotep who was renowned for medicines for wound care and for relief of intestinal, muscular and skin disorders.  Definitive records show significant medical travel by the Greeks as early as the 6th Century BC.   The asclepieion at Epidaurus was the most celebrated healing center of the Classical world, the place where ill people went in hope of being cured.  The Pool of Bethesda, recorded in the Gospel of John, surrounded an asclepieion where the ill and infirmed traveled for healing.  Roman records from around 75BC describe the healing centers in Bath, England.

Destination medical care in the United States became important in the mid-1800′s as Americans suffering from tuberculosis traveled to places like Colorado Springs; Battle Creek, Michigan; Louisville, Kentucky; and Saranac Lake, New York, among others.  In the second half of the 19th century, patients began traveling cross-country to leading specialty hospitals including the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  More recently, international hospitals have become the destinations of choice with high quality hospitals emerging in China, Turkey, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and other nations.

Destination medical care decisions are common.  A family may prefer a particular hospital or doctor because the provider is in their health insurance company network, or a specialist may be chosen based on expertise, surgical outcomes and how quickly an appointment can be scheduled. In many of these cases, geography is not the primary consideration.

In 2009, the American Medical Association and the American College of Surgeons each adopted positions supporting destination medical care.  The American Society of Anesthesiologists joined them in 2010.   The American College of Surgeons recommends patients “seek care of the highest quality” and encourages its members to “assist all patients in reaching informed decisions concerning medical care, whether at home or abroad.”

Whether it’s an international center of excellence or one nearer home, destination medical care provides access to treatment not available at home and the first real opportunity in decades to bend the cost curve on health insurance down without sacrificing medical quality.

Isn’t it time to learn how you can spend less and recover your health?  Call us now for more information.

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