Today, October 29th, marks my second anniversary writing the Transforming Workers’ Comp blog, and as I wrote in my first blog post, What I Learned at the 5th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress, and Why It Matters to the Workers’ Compensation Industry, I began the blog three days after returning from the MTA Congress in Hollywood, Florida.
The first anniversary was a milestone in that I actually was able to sustain my writing for an entire year, and gained enough support that my articles appeared in online medical tourism magazines and blogs. But this year’s anniversary is even more special, because next week I will be in Reynosa, Mexico, speaking at the 5th Mexico Medical Tourism and Wellness Business Summit.
At this year’s summit, I will be meeting people I have connected with through my writing and through LinkedIn who are in the medical tourism industry and who are business leaders here in the US and in other countries in the Western Hemisphere.
It is my hope that during the three days of the summit, I will find time to write a short piece about the day’s events, but if I am not able to do so (well, it is a mini-vacation, after all,J), then I will certainly do so once I return, as I did two years ago, and earlier this year after the Miami Beach event.
My topic, which I will be presenting on Friday morning, November 7th, is about the Barriers, Obstacles, Opportunities and Pitfalls of Implementing Medical Tourism into Workers’ Compensation. It is based on my original White Paper and various blog articles that I have written over the past two years.
Those of you who have criticized my idea in the past as ridiculous and a “non-starter” have failed to understand that globalization cannot and will not be stopped by any one industry, including the workers’ compensation medico-legal behemoth.
The fact that I was invited to speak proves that someone believes my idea has merit and is worth paying for both my airfare and hotel. Maybe in your narrow-minded view of the world it doesn’t, because doctors, lawyers, and service providers have placed the workers’ comp system in a padded cell.
It does as far as the medical tourism/medical travel community will learn about next week. As Schopenhauer wrote, “Every man takes the limits of his field of vision for the limits of the world.”
How many of you workers’ comp professionals have seen claimants treated by doctors, both in private practice and in hospitals who are foreign-born? Doesn’t that tell you something about where health care has been for several years, and where it is going? Of course it does. It even is happening in the UK, as one of my UK medical tourism connections has written about last week.
It is a sign that medical care is not limited to one part of the world, one hegemonic power in the world, and to one culture. As doctors and nurses come here to work, so too do our medical students go abroad to learn medicine when they get turned down by American medical schools.
Why not our workers? Because some judge says so, or some lawyer would object because he can’t collect a hefty fee? Or is it because our politicians are so jaded that they only know one thing: screw the workers anyway they can.
I take it as a badge of honor that business professionals will hear what I have been writing about, even though those in the workers’ comp industry bury their heads in the sand, shut their ears, eyes and minds to new ideas, no matter how “out of the box” they seem. You see, that is the real reason workers’ comp today is failing to address the problems injured workers face. The industry keeps insisting on doing the same things over and over again, expecting different results, and wasting time, money and resources on a broken system.
They insist that state laws, regulations and rules prohibit medical travel, but some states do allow it, as I mentioned in my paper and articles. Even a WC Deputy Judge said that medical tourism is here to stay, and while he referred to domestic travel, cross-border workers’ comp is already occurring in CA, and AZ amended their work comp laws to allow a claimant to collect benefits in AZ and Mexico, and a unanimous court ruled on behalf of that claimant.
Given these facts, medical travel to Mexico and other countries in the region for surgical procedures under worker’ comp cannot be too far off. What is really going on, is some high-level executives and consultants who get paid from keeping things the same, refuse to allow new ideas to enter the system, thus bringing on hardship, pain and misery for injured workers, while they and their clients get rich.
And the industry is now dealing with some bad actors who are screwing and maiming legitimately injured workers because the system is bought and paid for by the very entrenched interest groups that profit from maiming and harming workers who have already been injured. In law that is called “double jeopardy”, and no, Alex Trebek is not going to double your winnings.
So the next time I write, it will either be in Reynosa, or back home after my trip. Until then, muchas gracias por seguir conmigo estos últimos dos años, y espero que siga haciéndolo en los próximos años.
To paraphrase the most interesting man in the world, “Stay open-minded, my friends.”