Costa Rica promoting Medical Tourism

Private hospitals and medical services companies from Costa Rica showcased their services this week at the Society for Human Resource Management Annual Conference & Exposition (SHRM 2017) in New Orleans.

Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER) coordinated the visit of the local companies to the international event. The mission’s main goal was to facilitate networking with potential business partners and also attract foreign patients to Costa Rica.

PROCOMER Exports Manager Álvaro Piedra said in a news release that SHRM 2017 was also a platform for the Costa Rican health sector to establish contacts with human resources representatives of large U.S. employers.

“It was an opportunity to showcase the quality and the talent of Costa Rica’s health services companies,” he said.

Costa Rican representatives at the event promoted the country’s offerings in dental treatments; bariatric and spine surgeries; orthopedic procedures, particularly knee and hip surgeries; and alternative treatments and minimally invasive surgeries, among other services.

A 2016 survey by the Medical Tourism Index ranked Costa Rica 4th in medical tourism services in the Americas, just behind Canada, Colombia and Panama. The country placed 14th in the global index.

Representatives from Costa Rican hospitals, insurance companies, research centers, medical and wellness tourism companies, among others, displayed the country’s services at the SHRM’s 2017, June 18-21. (Courtesy of PROCOMER)
Local organization

PROCOMER research has found that medical tourism is a niche with some of the best prospects for growth in the country.

Earlier this year, some 95 hospitals and health services providers that make up the Council for International Promotion of Costa Rican Medicine agreed to transform the organization into the Costa Rican Chamber of Health. The chamber, officially founded in February, brings together hospitals, clinics, doctors and specialists, universities, insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, clinical laboratories, research centers, medical and wellness tourism companies, among others.

Executive Director Massimo Manzi said at the time that the new organization aims not only to attract more international patients, but also to offer its associates solutions for training, technical assistance and international promotion. One of its main goals is to obtain updated figures and statistics about the medical tourism sector in Costa Rica, which were non-existent, he said.

Results of the PROCOMER study released in February found that tourists seeking medical services in Costa Rica were drawn to the country by various factors, including lower prices, the quality of professionals here, and the wide range of options ranging from preventive treatments to cosmetic and wellness procedures.

Costa Rica’s political and economic stability are also highly valued factors for medical tourists, PROCOMER found.

Chamber leaders expect the number of members to increase to at least 180 by the end of this year.

Mexico Dental Tourism to receive 56 Thousand patients this year

Dental tourism in Mexico will report this year an impact of about USD $372 million, seven percent more than in 2016, say experts from the sector.

This was highlighted by the announcement of the Dental Implant Week for Low Resources Patients, an event held in Mexico City from May 22 to 27, with the support of the Mexican Association of Oseointegration (COMO).

The president of the Mexican Association of Dental Industry and Trade (AMIC), Raquel Tirado Perez, said that “medical tourism with all procedures will generate in 2017, $3.69 billion dollars.”

She pointed out that the economic pledge for “dental medical tourism will be one thousand $1.37 million dollars.”

The specialist mentioned that this year is expected the arrival of about 56 thousand patients from the United States, Canada, as well as Central and South America.

In recent years this sector has reported an average growth of seven percent with the care offered to foreign patients, which is of great benefit to Mexico, she said.

She remarked that a foreign patient obtains savings of up to 90 percent in dental procedures performed in Mexico, compared to the costs of their home nations.

Tirado Perez mentioned that Nuevo Leon is the second entity in the country with the most important impact from dental medical tourism, which this year is expected to exceed $100 million.

For its part, the director of COMO, Diana Laura Bernal, reported that in the Week of the Implant fifty patients were attended with bone regenerations with equine bone and collagen membrane.

The patients were attended by specialists certified in dental implantology, she said.

Also she reamrked that in a private practice the cost of dental implant and bone regeneration ranges from $900 to $1,500 dollars, while under this program it only costs 3 thousand 180 pesos, about $150 dollars.

The technique that was used is the one applied in Italy, where the largest number of implants in the world is made with more than 200 thousand per year, while in Brazil and Argentina it is 100 thousand annually.

Indian Medical and Wellness Tourism Policy

The NDA government will roll out India’s first Medical Tourism and Wellness policies on June 21, National Yoga Day, this year. To incentivise medical tourism and traditional Indian wellness programmes, the government has decided to get hospitals and wellness centres to register with the ministry’s website and to also notify costs at which procedures or packages will be offered by them.
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Speaking to TOI, on the chief highlight of the policy to be unveiled on National Yoga Day , MoS tourism (independent charge), Mahesh Sharma, said, “India has the ability to be a world leader in offering health services at very competitive prices. To bring in greater transparency, our aim, through this policy, is to get hospitals and wellness centres to register with us. They can then put out their rate charts, the details of the procedures they offer, and their success rates to allow tourists to choose what suits them best.”