Medical tourism is not always just about the savings. More often than not it is to seek treatments that are not accepted or performed in their home country thus forcing them to look towards medical tourism for reprieve.
Over the past few years, the medical tourism industry in Costa Rica has begun to mature and evolve to the point whereas it is now considered one of the Top 5 medical tourism destinations in the world. Not to mention the #6 ranked best hospital in Latin America is right here in San Jose.
JCI (Joint Commission International) accredited Clinica Biblica, is leading the way in facilitating foreign medical patients and have even appointed a specific department especially for this rising industry spearheaded by Mr. Brad Cook.
“Increasing awareness of medical tourism in Costa Rica is of the utmost importance for Clinica Biblica and for that reason we have created an entirely new division dedicated to providing the best care for medical tourists.” says Brad Cook, Managing Director of the International Department of Clinica Biblica
Hot throughout the current media is the subject of a revolutionary new treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS), a degenerative disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged. The treatment is called “Liberation Therapy” and was first proposed by an Italian neurologist Dr. Paolo Zamboni.
As is often the case with new and unproven medical treatments, the Liberation Therapy is being received with mixed reviews. As is usually the case when this happens, victims of the illness suffer while governments and healthcare officials decide if it is fit for public use.
The treatment is still to be accepted in Canada and this only fuels the alternative options for many MS suffers in Canada…medical tourism.
Mark Semple of Passport Medical based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada claims to have facilitated over 350 MS suffering Canadians for treatment and recovery in Costa Rica. The costs currently run around $13,000 for the two week therapy and recovery period. Recovery in a tropical location amongst the “happiest people on the Planet” might not be such a bad thing.
Like Clinica Biblica, one location offering the controversial treatment, many healthcare staff including doctors, nurses and aid workers, all speak both Spanish and English in order to accomodate North Americans, Europeans and their local Spanish speaking populous.
With its rise in popularity, medical tourism in Costa Rica is starting to get noticed by developers and new projects are springing up that offer a broad spectrum of services to cater to this market. One example is the Sun Ranch Project in Guanacaste. This project takes medical tourism to new levels not previous seen before in Central America.
Onsite of the Sun Ranch Project will be a plethora of amenities for retirees and medical tourism patients alike. Located within the project will be the new $40 million dollar state of the art Clinica Biblica hospital, a championship 18 hole Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed course and of course a huge selection of condominiums, recovery facilities and retirement home sites. Also included in the master plan are two branded hotels. John Scheman, spokesperson for the Sun Ranch had this to say,
“We feel we’ve succeeded in creating the next level of medical tourism facilitating projects along with a Costa Rica retirement location unmatched by anything else in Central America.”
Currently, at least with respect to MS victims, we are seeing an influx of Canadian medical tourists coming to Costa Rica.
Whether it’s for MS treatments, cosmetic surgery or other revolutionary treatments not available in North America, whatever the need it appears that Costa Rica is adapting to this lucrative industry and is showing no signs of slowing down.
For more information on referenced sources in this article, please visit the following sites:
* Joint Commission International: http://www.jointcommissioninternational.org/
* Clinica Bibilica: http://www.clinicabiblica.com/eng/index.php
* Passport Medical: http://passportmedical.com/2010/01/destination-costa-rica/