Thank you for sharing an interesting point, as many in the US only consider the options outside of the US versus those coming to the USW for medical tourism. What percentage of medical tourism comes in versus out of the US?
Peer #2 (medical Tourism- discussion)
If I had a family member interested in medical tourism I would first want to know what procedure they were looking to get done. The most frequent conditions treated in medical tourists are dentistry, cosmetic surgery, cardiac conditions, In vitro fertility, weight loss, dermatology, spine surgery, and liver and kidney transplants (Dalen & Alpert, 2018). If my family member was looking to get some type of non-essential surgery not covered by their insurance, then I may consider medical tourism as a good option. US healthcare insurance oftentimes does not cover cosmetic surgeries, and many countries offer significantly cheaper options. If my family member was very sure about it, then I would work with them to find a reputable, high quality medical practice for their procedure.
There are plenty of things to be concerned over when it comes to medical tourism. Dalen and Alpert (2018) discuss the most common concerns for Americans traveling for medical purposes, “Are foreign hospitals and physicians subject to malpractice suits? What if complications become apparent after a patient returns to the United States? Will US doctors treat patients for complications related to medical tourism, or does a patient have to return to the hospital that performed the care” (Dalen & Alpert, 2018). These questions should be considered when engaging in medical tourism. Many hospitals across the world have received US accreditation, and these are often the safest options.
Many people travel to the US for medical tourism as well. According to M. Aiello (2014), “International patients seek treatment in the United States to access medical services with high success rates and good outcomes for surgeries and procedures that are not available in their country of origin,” (Aiello, 2014). The United States is a leader in quality of care and skilled physicians. Some of the most common services sought in the US are high-risk obstetrics, pediatric cardiovascular services, trauma, and neurology (Aiello, 2014).
Dalen, J. & Alpert, J. (2018, July 15). Medical Tourists: Incoming and Outgoing. The American Journal of Medicine, 132(1), 9-10. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2018.06.022
M. Aiello. (2014, April 16). The flourishing medical tourism business in America. Health Leaders. https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/strategy/flourishing-medical-tourism-business-america?page=0%2C1
Peer #3: (Creating Resilience):
Between 2014-2016, the world experienced the deadliest outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD), spreading to several countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Nigeria, Mali, Italy, Senegal, Spain, the U.K., and the U.S; it killed 11,325 people, 99.99% in Africa (WHO, 2021a). The outbreak revealed gaps in the international system’s ability to identify and limit disease spread. Many people traveled with the virus, placing the world at high risk because it is very contagious with a high mortality rate.
Ebola was discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1976 and causes flu-like symptoms (CDC, 2021). On average, 50% of people infected with EVD die, ranging from 25%-90% in past outbreaks (WHO, 2021a). Limiting high-risk activities, testing, contract tracing, providing early treatment, quarantining, using personal protective equipment, sanitizing contaminated surfaces, and educating the public are critical interventions to contain EVD (WHO, 2021a). Because the international community was not ready for the 2014-2016 outbreak, Ebola spread to many countries and killed many people. It continues to present a threat even though WHO declared that the epidemic was over in 2016 and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a vaccine, Ervebo, in December 2019.
Ebola has re-emerged many times after an outbreak was declared over; 2299 people died from EVD in 2019. In February 2021, the WHO declared that the new Guinea outbreak was over (WHO, 2021b) before another cluster emerged nearby from a known genetic strain; WHO (2021c) declared the recent outbreak over in June 2021. As long as the virus continues to re-emerge, the risk of a new vaccine-resistant variant exists.
As the Program Director of Casa de la Vida, a residential acute psychiatric facility in Oakland, CA, this writer practiced regular emergency preparation. The process consisted of reviewing and revising the written plan as necessary, training all staff upon hiring then annually about the protocol, and practicing it. Community Care Licensing and the Department of Health Care Services required a very detailed plan, which included a system to mark and store the deceased in case of an earthquake.
CoOp is a method to develop a written emergency preparedness plan (FEMA, n.d.; 2011). It is comprehensive and can be combined with other processes to enhance stakeholder engagement and ongoing quality improvements, such as the one proposed by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2012). Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the United Nations (UN) engage in detailed planning for safety and emergency. International COVID-19 response demonstrates that protocols will fail if the leadership is uncoordinated or unsupportive. Blackburn and Ruyle (2020), who spent years analyzing countries’ responses to pandemics, find that leaders who base their decisions on science and communicate clear, cohesive information to the public demonstrate the best results.
ASPR. (2012, January). Healthcare system preparedness capabilities [Emergency planning process PDF]. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.phe.gov/Preparedness/planning/hpp/repor…
Blackburn, C. C., & Ruyle, L. (2020, May 27). How a country’s leader affects its COVID-19 response. U.S. News. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-countries/article…
CDC. (2021, April 28). What is Ebola virus disease? Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/about.html
FEMA. (n.d.). Continuity of Operation, An overview. Federal Emergency Management Agency, Department of Homeland Security. https://www.fema.gov/pdf/about/org/ncp/coop_brochu…