Today marks the one-year anniversary of the creation of FutureComp Consulting, and this past October 29th was the three-year anniversary of the creation of my blog, Transforming Workers’ Comp.
In the three years that I have been writing my blog, I have attended three medical tourism conferences, two in Florida, and one in Mexico in November of 2014, where I gave a presentation entitled, “Barriers, Obstacles, Opportunities and Pitfalls of Implementing Medical Tourism into Workers’ Compensation.”
At these conferences I have met many people from Latin America and have told them of my idea for transforming workers’ compensation in the US by sending patients to countries in the region.
To date, not one person I met at these conferences, nor anyone who has read my blog and is from that region has contacted me to offer their support and services to make this idea a reality.
And when I discuss the issue with Americans, especially those in the workers’ compensation industry, their response has been to call it a stupid and ridiculous idea, and a non-starter.
They have also suggested that medical care in your region is not up to American standards, despite the fact that I have pointed out to them that outcomes here are not guaranteed, and that mistakes can happen in local hospitals as well.
Here is a sample of a typical response from someone in the workers’ comp industry:
“Honestly, medical tourism for injured employees will not work. We are already challenged daily when injured employees leave the country and we have to provide them with care outside of the US. I hear you but it’s a stretch. We can’t get good outcomes here I hate to think what would happen when we send them somewhere else. The laws are much too complicated to garner the intended result.”
Early in my blogging, I wrote the following article based on some comments made on social media that I included in a virtual dialogue, “Point/CounterPoint: A Virtual Dialogue on the Merits of Implementing Medical Tourism into Workers’ Compensation”.
In the presentation I gave in Reynosa, I said that there is a lack of knowledge about the quality of medical care abroad (so-called “Third World medicine”) and that American harbored negative attitudes towards medical care abroad, as well as the conceit known as “American Exceptionalism” whereby only American doctors know how to practice medicine and only American hospitals are qualified to offer care.
However, not all Americans are like that; in fact, one lawyer representing injured workers had knee surgery in Costa Rica, and had such a great experience, he wants his clients to have that too.
In my presentation, I laid out six major barriers and obstacles to implementation, but in writing this letter now, I want to say to the Latin American medical tourism community, that there is a seventh barrier and obstacle, and that is your inability to market and defend your medical services to the American insurance industry, and most specifically, to the workers’ comp community.
That has been one reason why I have been writing about this for so long. In many of my articles, I implore you to do something about this. I even said this in Mexico when I said that you had to go after the market; the market will not come to you.
Just so you don’t think I am some crazy gringo, Norte Americano, here are some of the articles I have written that does exactly that:
Finally, next week was supposed to be when I was going to give a second presentation in Mexico, this time in Puerto Vallarta, but for personal reasons, I had to back out.
This is the presentation I was going to give that outlines the challenges facing workers’ compensation, and what the medical tourism industry needs to do.
So my challenge is to you, Latin and Central America. Are you going to market your services to this industry, and will you defend your medical care as equal to, or better than the care we get in the US?
What about price and transparency? Will you share data with industry leaders skeptical of your better medical care, or are you going to allow them to call you “carnival barkers”?
I am willing to work with you. You know how to reach me.