Destination Doctors: Health Care and Medical Tourism in Baja
When most travelers head south across the International Border, they are usually anticipating a carefree getaway that might very well include some fine dining, a wine tour, a fishing adventure or even just a few days of stress free relaxation on the beach under the warm Baja sun.
Yet, there are a growing number of individuals who are part of a new contingent of tourists who visit for medical reasons. Over the past few decades, the number highly trained physicians, surgeons and other healthcare professionals in Mexico has grown exponentially; particularly in the state of Baja California. In fact, it is not at all unusual to encounter a sizable number of these individuals who received at least part of their schooling in the United States.
Of course, in most urgent situations, a visitor is probably more likely to deal with the Cruz Roja, which is a government supported, low cost clinic offering free ambulance service in emergencies, than with a doctor whose practice was researched in advance. Nonetheless, there are numerous quality clinics in both Tijuana and Ensenada that offer their services at a price that is only a fraction of what would normally be charged for a similar procedure north of the border.
Cardiac problems are at the top of the list when it comes to the most common concerns linked to advanced maturity. And Ensenada’s well-respected hospital, CardioMed, stands at the forefront of those providing treatment for these types of issues. Author, Robert H. Page, MD opined that CardioMed possesses “advanced diagnostic and surgical facilities” and is “surprisingly more advanced than one would expect…”
He and co-author Curtis P. Page, MD, wrote the book Mexico: Health and Safety Travel Guide, which offers extensive information and direction regarding how to access high quality English-speaking physicians, medical care facilities, and informed reviews of various operations in Baja and other popular travel venues on Mexico’s mainland. It also offers translations of common medical terms and phrases, a pharmaceutical guide, useful city maps and much more. This book provides a reliable reference tool that is convenient, if not essential, to have on hand whether you happen to be a casual traveler or a seasoned expatriate resident
Currently, the number of tourists coming to Baja California in search of medical services offers annual revenues of almost 90 million U.S. dollars. In a recent interview, Baja’s Secretary of Tourism, Juan Tintos Funcke, indicated that quality medical services in Baja California are generally 40% to 60% less expensive than similar assistance in the United States.
He added that they also seek services based on quality and the treatment that they will receive at the various health institutions, plus the clinics and physicians are certified by the Secretariat of Health, which is an added trust factor for the tourist.
Hence, as medical costs in major U.S. cities continue to rise and become less accessible to those with shrinking incomes, a symbiotic relationship between visiting Americans and the Mexican healthcare industry is being forged; one which promises great benefits to both in the future.
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