The high cost of American healthcare has been a growing issue for years, prompting thousands of patients to explore health care services outside of the U.S.
Partially a reaction to foreign medical tourism, some large employers such as Lowe’s, PepsiCo, and Wal-Mart, have turned to a concept known as “domestic medical tourism.” These companies pay for their employees to travel out-of-state to hospitals that have negotiated reduced rates for medical procedures. The article by American Medical News, “Wal-Mart Gives Major Boost to Domestic Medical Tourism,” shows that the number of companies joining this trend is growing quickly.
“We’re going to see a lot more of this… And if physicians cannot compete on price, then they are going to have to compete on quality and exceptional customer service if they are going to keep patients,” said Simon Hudson, PhD, director of the SC Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development at the University of South Carolina.
One company, BridgeHealth Medical, specializes in negotiating discount rates with hospitals and extends those rates to big businesses. In the future, it seems domestic medical tourism will reshape the way healthcare is delivered, making quality, cost, and efficiency crucial for hospitals and physicians to compete in the marketplace.
While companies have released limited information about how many employees have traveled for care and how much has actually been saved, the negotiations with hospitals and insurers is on the rise. Read More…