Far In Front of the Crowd


The title of today’s post comes from a blogger you are all familiar with by now, Joe Paduda. Joe provided me some feedback the other day on my Lessons post, and while trying to figure out what to call this post, I felt that this was an appropriate title, because I have been consistently far in front of the crowd on the issue of medical tourism and workers’ compensation, and on the subject of today’s post, which is Latin America.

One of my very good publishers, Santhi Nair, in Malaysia, sent me a link to a press release on SBWire.com entitled, “Latin America Becoming Prime Destination for Medical Tourism”. Another article that I found on Travel and Tour World.com, called “Latin America’s Medical Tourism Witnessing Boom”,echoes the SBWire release, but goes a bit more into detail.

Both articles discuss a survey conducted by IPK International that revealed that roughly 3 percent of the world’s population travels for medical treatment to foreign countries, and they both pointed to a Patient Beyond Borders report that stated that the medical tourism industry is a $40 billion a year business. (This has not been confirmed by me, so it would be best to check it out with PBB)

According to the Travel and Tour article, the impetus behind traveling for medical care abroad, as far as the US is concerned, is beyond saving money. The Latino community is attracted to this because it affords them peace of mind in dealing with Spanish-speaking doctors and quality facilities. [Emphasis added]

Various surgeries are now performed in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, and El Salvador. Patients Beyond Borders reported that Mexico now attracts more than a million patients a year, many of whom come from California, Arizona and Texas, and are mainly Hispanic.

It is Latin America’s proximity to North America that makes medical tourism so attractive, a point I have been making for some time. Other factors include favorable exchange rates, bilingual healthcare personnel, friendly cultures, tropical climates, and as I have mentioned before, lower cultural barriers that will provide a relaxed recovery period, with friends and family in those countries able to visit the patient while recuperating.

Travel and Tour World also listed popular destinations in Latin America such as: Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, Brazil and Colombia.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for some time will note that I have mentioned these countries before, so it does not come as a surprise to you that these are the most popular medical tourism destinations.

Getting back to the title of this piece, I had a running email conversation with Joe yesterday morning before I had to leave for a memorial service, and the upshot of our conversation was that the workers’ compensation industry does not change unless it is forced to change. My reply to that was that the industry will have to change whether it wants to or not, and whether it likes it or not, not because of me or my writing, but because as you will see in the companion post to this one, the US population, and the workforce is becoming increasingly more Hispanic, and to ignore their desire to seek medical care abroad in their home countries, is not only expensive, given that costs are lower in these facilities, but it is also counter-productive, in that better outcomes and happier employees will result from implementing medical tourism into workers’ compensation.

And as for being far in front of the crowd on this issue, I have to say I am proud to be so far in front of the crowd, if the future workforce of the US is going to be more Hispanic, but I am also disappointed that the workers’ compensation industry is so far behind what the rest of the world is doing. Medical care is not stopping at the water’s edge, and neither should workers’ compensation.

Yes, it is a complex issue, which is something else Joe mentioned to me, but that’s because we have made it so. David DePaolo, who I wrote about the other day, said so a while back, and I think he is right. We have spent more effort on dealing with lawyers, providers, payers, service providers, etc., and have forgotten what workers’ compensation is all about. It’s about the claimant/patient, and shouldn’t we think about what is best for them, and what they would want to do?

Watch out, workers’ comp, change is coming, and you’d better get on board with it.


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This entry was posted in Immigrant Workers, Immigration, Immigration Reform, Medical Tourism, Workers' Compensation and tagged , , on by .

About Transforming Workers' Comp

Have worked in the Insurance and Risk Management industry for more than thirty years in New York, Florida and Texas in the Claims and Risk Management spheres, primarily in Workers’ Compensation Claims, Auto No-Fault and Property & Casualty Claims Administration and Claims Management. Have experience in Risk and Insurance Business Analysis, Risk Management Information Systems, and Insurance Data Processing and Data Management. Received my Master’s in Health Administration (MHA) degree from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida in December 2011. Received my Master of Arts (MA) degree in American History from New York University, and received my Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in Liberal Arts (Political Science/History/Social Sciences) from SUNY Brockport. I have studied World History, Global Politics, and have a strong interest in the future of human civilization in all aspects; economic, political and social. I am looking for new opportunities that will utilize my previous experience and MHA degree. I am available for speaking engagements and am willing to travel. LinkedIn Profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/richardkrasner Resume: https://www.box.com/s/z8rxcks6ix41m3ocvvep

3 thoughts on “Far In Front of the Crowd

  1. Patrick Pine

    Absolutely correct on the underrated importance of the cultural “comfort” factor – I serve a predominantly Latino population – most California but also Oregon/Washington/Arizona – many
    with familial relationships in Mexico. While most believe this population prefers medical services there for monetary reasons, I strongly believe there is a substantial preference to be in a setting which is more comfortable in nearly every way.


  2. Pingback: Far In Front of the Crowd | Welcome to Medical- South East Asia

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