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Getting Healthcare in Philippines? Get a Background Check!

Getting Healthcare in Philippines? Get a Background Check!

Back in the 1990’s, talking about vacations abroad was mostly about going to the beach to get a sun tan or getting tuned in with the rainforest vibrations. Today, getting healthcare and physical wellness is also part of the vacation program for many people.  Thanks to programs such as Obamacare in the U.S., healthcare is no longer affordable for many hardworking citizens.  But, before taking one of these vacations trips that also serves as a solution to your medical needs, make sure you´re informed on the rising fraud cases in the Philippines.  Cheaper case is not always the best care!

Finding affordable medical care in the U.S., Australia, Canada or the U.K is harder every day.  In most cases, legal citizens who are taxpayers find they are increasingly paying more in developed countries, especially under socialized medicine and redistribution of wealth programs.  The cost of healthcare is becoming such a problem that people are avoiding doctors and delaying treatments. The rising costs of healthcare in developed countries are helping other countries like the Philippines to set up an income strategy based on packages that combine traditional tourism with healthcare and that include all: great medical attention, special recovery treatment in the nicest facilities, and the opportunity to visit a new country and get well in the best conditions anyone can think of. That is the promise!

For medical tourists, paying for this package is worth much more (and it could even be less expensive) than paying for their insurance deductible – if you can afford insurance. But tourists –or patients- need to work a lot on their research before making a decision. Finding the best option according to their resources and conditions takes a lot of effort, and in most cases, it´s necessary to hire a local investigator to dig deeper, and to verify the offer, facility and doctor is reputable and trained.

Medical tourism has expanded quickly. A study presented at the first Global Wellness Tourism Congress in October 2013 estimates wellness tourism is directly responsible for $11.7 million global jobs, which delivers $1.3 trillion in global economy—or 1.8 percent of the world’s GDP in 2012. What this really means is that medical tourism is big business, which implies that many responsible companies see a great opportunity here, but there also scammers that are in it for the money, and they care little for the quality of the procedures or the safety of their patients who need it most.

The Philippines has been part of the medical tourism trend, and it is acknowledged as one of the preferred destinations in the world. Most of the accredited hospitals and clinics are located in Manila and Cebu. The most popular procedures sought in the Philippines are cosmetic surgery, diagnostic testing and imaging, bariatric surgery, dental treatments, ophthalmology, and dermatology. All of them will cost a small fraction (around 20%) of the cost in developed countries.

But beware! Cost isn´t everything.   Private investigators in Manila and Cebu report that most of the investigations that relate to this topic are done after a surgery-gone-bad situation. People start investigating when it’s too late, when they had a terrible experience and are looking for compensation. Most of the cases involve asset searches and getting enough evidence to proceed with legal action. But compensation is not enough, especially in the cases where severe damage has been done and the patient has had to suffer with pain or complications.  Verify first, and then decide!

Remember, prevention is key. It will always be better to make a decision based on clear evidence, whether it’s about getting married or getting surgery. Informed decisions are best.

Some of the things you might want to consider:

  1. Most people consider the regular travelling expenses, but there are lots of other expenses when travelling for medical care. It is important to understand that something could go wrong with the patient´s recovery and you need to be able to afford extra treatment if necessary. Not everyone responds the same to a medical intervention or procedure.
  2. Hire a local investigator to perform a background check in the Philippines. Good information could save your life. Never embark on medical tourism without understanding the risks involved. Make sure you know if the clinic is accredited by an international organization, if the doctors have certifications and does the country have national laws and guidelines for them. Is the procedure legal in the country, will the hospital be able to provide adequate care if things go wrong?  Have an investigator check for a history of fraud and other problems.
  3. There´s a lot of information that you´ll need to know, and it could be overwhelming. Try getting some professional help with the verifications, it might be hard to tell if a medical certification is a forgery or not, that´s why professional investigators can help locally.
  4. Think of your own conditions and how you will feel in the worst case scenario. Who are you taking with you? Will you be ok if something serious happens and you are alone? Would travelling so far affect you in any way?  Know the risks and weigh your options.

There are great tourism and medical tourism abroad.  Access to cheap and professional healthcare is possible in the Philippines, and can be a great experience and save you thousands.  But, there’s a darker side, so it’s important to proceed with caution, and verify your doctor carefully.

C. Wright
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