Health care tourism in Mexico is not new, but the new tragedy set it in the Highlight : NPR

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Health care tourism in Mexico is not a new phenomenon, but the recent tragedy in the country has thrust it into the spotlight. According to a new report from National Public Radio (NPR), Mexican hospitals and health care facilities have long been providing medical services to international patients, regardless of financial or legal status.

The recent surge in violence and drug-related activities in Mexico has resulted in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries. As hospitals in Mexico reach capacity and the need for medical care continues to grow, many people are turning to hospitals abroad for treatment. From cosmetic procedures to complex surgeries, Mexican health care facilities are providing a broad range of services to their international patients.

While Mexico has long been the preferred destination for medical tourism in Latin America, the recent tragedy in the country has put a renewed emphasis on safety and security for medical tourists. Many medical centers in Mexico are now providing increased safety measures, such as security personnel, entry way control, and rigorous medical protocols.

For those seeking affordable health care abroad, Mexico continues to offer significant savings. Medical tourists can save as much as 70 percent on medical procedures such as dental work and cosmetic surgery. An increasing number of international patients are now seeking out Mexican health care providers to receive high-quality medical care at a low cost.

The tragedy in Mexico has shone a light on medical tourism in the country, and it is likely that more international patients will be seeking out the services of Mexican hospitals and medical centers for their health care needs. Despite the potential risks, many medical tourists are weighing the cost savings and low-cost quality care that Mexican health care providers can offer. [ad_1]

NPR’s Ari Shapiro speaks with David G. Vequist, who operates the Heart of Health care Tourism Study at the College of the Incarnate Term in San Antonio, about medical tourism in Mexico.


When you cross the U.S.-Mexico border into Matamoros, you quickly see wellbeing care amenities – pharmacies, dentists, clinics. Additional than a million men and women cross the southern border just about every calendar year for what is acknowledged as health-related tourism. The 4 U.S. citizens who have been kidnapped very last weekend were being among them. Two ended up killed. Two some others are recovering in the U.S.

David Vequist operates the Heart for Clinical Tourism Investigation at the College of the Incarnate Phrase in San Antonio, Texas. Welcome to ALL Matters Viewed as.

DAVID VEQUIST: Thank you pretty considerably.

SHAPIRO: In accordance to the group Individuals With no Borders, travel to Mexico for health-related good reasons is now back again to pre-pandemic degrees. What does your study present in phrases of the quantities?

VEQUIST: We are viewing the identical point, and we are anticipating to have an boost from what the figures we saw in 2019. We noticed an enhance in physical complications for the duration of the pandemic and enhance in each mental health and fitness problems, like despair and anxiousness, and then the men and women had – getting set off both equally preventative treatment and key treatment.

SHAPIRO: Can you tell us what some of the most popular strategies are that men and women cross the border for?

VEQUIST: Yeah. The most typical, according to investigation both by our middle as effectively as the CDC, tends to be dental. Most people come to feel that there’s not a lot high quality differences amongst a dentist, say, you know, south of the border and north of the border. So hence, their significant option distinction is fundamentally on price. If the excellent is the very same, then basically the rate would make up extra of the value.

SHAPIRO: So dental operate is just one widespread procedure. What else?

VEQUIST: Pharmaceuticals – touring across the border for prescription drugs – then come the standard surgeries, which includes cosmetics. We observed that cosmetics likely make up upwards of about 13%, and that was a single of the treatments that one particular of the victims of this kidnapping was touring for.

SHAPIRO: Do you feel this reveals a problem or a failing of the U.S. wellbeing care method, or is it kind of like, effectively, people today are wanting for a offer, and if they discover a much better rate on 1 side of the border, they will go there as an alternative of being on their aspect of the border?

VEQUIST: You will find extremely small that we can do in phrases of this arbitrage. It’s like the concerns that have been lifted in the United States in conditions of staying designed in the United States when it arrives to automobiles or nearly anything else. And people today are generally heading to be hunting for what they perceive to be much better worth. And that could be French wines, or it could be Korean autos. In this circumstance, it happens to be wellness treatment which is worldwide. Now, I assume this is not a thing that can automatically be solved by just investments in infrastructure or even policy adjustments. It truly is the consumerization of health and fitness care.

SHAPIRO: It is really definitely extremely abnormal for medical tourism to conclude in a kidnapping. But explain to us about the dangers. Is it normally harmless?

VEQUIST: So you will find two areas. A single, of study course, is the high quality features, and the minor facts that we do have does present that there won’t look to be significant variances. For instance, the CDC did some research on self-noted results – lousy outcomes that folks acquired from obtaining absent overseas for health and fitness treatment. And when you assess people to U.S. results, they do not show up to be drastically different.

SHAPIRO: So this is typically medically protected. What about in phrases of safety, like kidnapping and gunfire?

VEQUIST: So what we’ve viewed in health-related tourism all through the globe is certainly when persons obtain an spot to be unsafe or garners a poor reputation due to criminality and other concerns, then individuals don’t tend to go there. What we discover is that in several areas all-around the environment, there is a – if you will, an unspoken rule that they try to steer clear of harming visitors, especially health-related travelers, for the reason that of the considerable financial impacts they can have on the region. A University of Michigan study, for instance, confirmed that for Mexico by yourself, crime and narcoterrorism and some of the other points that are going on could be costing the region up to 21% of its full GDP.

SHAPIRO: What assistance would you give individuals who are contemplating crossing the border for a health-related technique?

VEQUIST: Regretably, it really is heading to be customer beware, which is that you have to get as a great deal details and get as a great deal info as you can ahead of you make that selection.

SHAPIRO: David Vequist operates the Center for Clinical Tourism Investigate at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio. Thank you.

VEQUIST: Thank you so significantly, and I respect pretty significantly your time.

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