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Medical tourism: Outsourcing your health

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Medical tourism is known today as a path to lower-priced plastic surgery, dental implants or laser eye surgery, and a last resort for the middle-class uninsured who can scrape together $50,000 for a liver transplant in India, but not the $200,000 it would cost in the U.S. The business end of medical tourism, however, sees major growth potential in the already insured.
But there is a problem: No public data on quality and little recourse for injured patients. Despite the industry's assertion that it offers U.S.-quality care, there is no backup to that claim. A new U.S.-based accreditation system for international hospitals adds some reputational sheen but doesn't let patients compare results of, for instance, cardiac bypasses. Patients are often faced with signing airtight waivers that free providers from liability for negligence or error, starting with the paid "facilitators" who arrange travel, visas, lodging and hand-holding during the process.

www.latimes.com/features/health/medicine/la-oe-dugan3-2009nov03,0,4342765.story