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Introduction to Destination Medical Care for HR Professionals

Posted by Mair, David at Monday, 12/10/2012 4:56 pm
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2.9 from 30 votes
Businesses and individuals often think of destination medical care as something very new or different. The reality is that it is a choice people make almost every time we see a doctor. If you’ve ever made a choice between doctors based on skill, reputation, cost, or available appointment dates; told someone you wanted to go to one hospital over another based on quality of care; or thought about whether to visit a specialist in another city, you’ve made a destination medical care decision.

What is different for people today is travel to international medical centers of excellence as a care alternative. These hospitals and doctors offer premier medical outcomes, access without long wait times, affordability, and access to the latest in treatment technique and technology. Soter Healthcare offers access to Centers of Excellence in more than 30 medical specialties and subspecialties.

History of Destination Medical Care

Some of the earliest records about destination medical care date to roughly 2650 BC, around the time the Egyptians constructed the first pyramids. During this period, travelers came to visit the Egyptian healer Imhotep, a physician widely regarded for wound care and treatment of muscular, intestinal and skin disorders. Definitive records from the fifth century BC describe the travels of the injured and ill to Epidauria, a territory along the Aegean Sea where the physician Asklepios lived. During this period, the cult of Asklepios gained a reputation for successfully treating chronic and often fatal conditions other doctors would not or could not treat. Patients are known to have come from Athens, Kos, Alexandria, Jerusalem, Rome and other cities around the Mediterranean and Middle East.

In the United States, destination medical care grew in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Americans suffering from tuberculosis traveled to places like Colorado Springs; Louisville, Kentucky; and Saranac Lake, New York, among others. In the second half of the 20th century, destination medical care developed further as patients journey to leading hospitals including the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, Johns Hopkins, the MD Anderson Cancer Center, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Today, patients travel to reach world-renowned international hospitals, in addition to those in their home countries.

Key Medical Associations Support Proper Destination Medical Care

The American Medical Association and American College of Surgeons each recognize the value of destination medical care and adopted position statements in support of its use. Our destination medical care programs meet their criteria and offer the essential medical care and support you need.

Selecting a Destination Medical Care Center

Realistically, this is the hardest part for most people, and we understand why. There is a lot of information from many companies promoting this location or that for medical care. We believe you should use the same standards you do when you pick a doctor or hospital at home. It starts with a simple question: Is this doctor or hospital going to deliver the care I need, at the time I need it, and at prices I can afford. Soter works with you to share information to help you make that decision.

Unfortunately, many companies begin by talking about the location you should visit. Many go on to describe the wonderful vacation opportunities. They don’t talk about your medical condition, except as an afterthought. That’s wrong.

We start with your medical need. If you tell us you want to go to a particular hospital, we’ll probably ask why before anything else. That may not be the best hospital option for you, and we want to evaluate that with you. We’ll look into your health insurance coverage. Most companies skip this step entirely.

When it comes to payment most medical tourism companies you find on the internet don’t understand, don't care or find it too hard to work with your insurance provider. We think that's wrong too.

Often we are able to find benefits that minimize your out-of-pocket medical expense. Because we also focus solely on your medical need, your care is almost always eligible for medical reimbursement or tax deduction.

Can your business benefit from an integrated destination medical care strategy?

For more information, contact us or click Destination Medical Care White Paper.

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