If “medical tourism” is defined as traveling for healthcare, that does not necessarily mean overseas. This article highlights U.S. “domestic” medical tourism case studies from Lowe’s, BridgeHealth Medical, The Health Services Coalition, and Alpha Coal West. “Domestic” medical tourism is also increasing in Europe where patients travel to other European providers.
The article does a good job of pointing out the advantages and challenges of domestic medical tourism and has good examples. It also shows the tensions between providers and employers with insurers being caught in the middle.
Still, insurers are reluctant to offer travel incentives because “it really angers the (local) provider community” to send patients elsewhere for care, Hayes says.
James Caillouette, co-owner and surgeon at the Newport Orthopedic Institute in Newport Beach, Calif., says doctors and hospitals better get over their anger and embrace the new model. Two years ago, the center began signing flat-rate prices with domestic travel companies. “That’s where health care is heading,” Caillouette says. “We’re no longer going to be paid piecemeal.”