Private Hospitals Likely To Gain From Medical Tourism Initiatives

Why do people do medical tours?
  • Low-cost care

Savings include travel costs, can be as much as 30% to 90% off the US.

  • Quality of care

The quality of medical care has increased. There is also a rapid increase in technology and drug advancement. In the last ten years, it has only ascended. The most benefit is received by the underdeveloped and the developing countries. To avoid malpractices in the US, some trained physicians go to abroad as well. The best doctors generally go abroad.

  • Economic climate

The economic climate in the underdeveloped and the developing countries has improved a lot. In the last five to 10 years the most advancements have been made by all of the Asian countries. The middle east countries always have had been strong economically and are also a prominent medical hub which attracts medical tourist.

  • Procedures not covered by insurance

The traditional health insurance typically does not cover any cosmetic care, dental or other considerations; therefore, the employees have to travel abroad to protect them.

Avoid wait times

To avoid wait times, residents of countries with national healthcare generally travel abroad.

  • Obtain all kinds of experimental or investigational treatments

Specific treatments traditionally illegal in countries feign the residents to travel abroad for such therapies. People always look for ways to improve their lives and therefore get desperate. Health insurance policies typically do not approve by the FDA.

  • Enjoying a vacation

Now, who doesn’t love a vacation? People always try and find leisure in their medical trip or even work trips for that matter to take a chance to travel. Employers seek care abroad to enjoy a vacation too, along with the treatment. When medical tourism comes to mind, we always consider Mexico and Thailand because both have an abundance of beautiful beaches.

  • To incorporate local therapies

Less frequently, people may engage in medical tourism to incorporate local therapies. (eg. Yoga or Chinese medicine) with ongoing treatments.

Top five countries know for a well-equipped medical tourism:

  • India- for patients in need of any cardiac and orthopaedic surgeries, India is growing in medical travel popularity.
  • Singapore- With a healthcare system that ranks sixth in the world, according to the World Health Organisation. Singapore attracts an immense number of international patients each year.
  • South Korea
  • Bulgaria
  • Panama

The initiatives announced by the government for medical tourism are indirectly beneficiary to the government. The initiative announced is an RM25mil allocation for the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) as next year is the Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020.

Private hospitals are better equipped to offer personalised care than state or government-aided hospitals. They have a shorter wait time and excellent service. The doctor- to patient ratio is also quite remarkable. They are equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment; upscale amenities and the best medical specialists can also be approached a lot faster.

MHTC (Malaysia) is an agency working under the Finance Ministry that coords with the various private hospitals in the country in facilitating various medical tourists from abroad and it also works for promoting the country’s medical tourism sector within the country or overseas. The initiative announced is an RM25mil allocation for the Malaysian Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC) as next year is the Malaysia Year of Healthcare Travel 2020.

Five common problems faced by a private hospital treating international patients:

  • too many avoidable patient days
  • due to a very few employed physicians, there is a desire for physical integration.
  • A struggle with an unhealthy community.
  • Poor communication between providers.
  • Physician and nurses shortage.

The Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia’s president Datuk Dr Kuljit Singh told that the move of the patients would help the country’s private hospitals gain stature among medical tourists. The president said that they are deeply honoured to witness such strong support as this from the government in driving a more significant market here for the private healthcare industry. They would also like to thank the Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng immensely, for his support in the considerable development of the healthcare travel sector.

The move to build more and more government hospitals, Kuljit suggests that the government should consider partnering with private hospitals in the county instead of just building more infrastructure.

The only concern as commented by Kuljit is that building hospitals may not be good enough as they will need better medical personnel there, specialists. They can help to build a hospital in a particular area, but they cant be sure that the government would be able to convince specialists to go there.

There should be a greater focus on human capital development as well for the healthcare sector where there are more specialists cultivated to support the existing hospitals instead of pouring all of the money on building new and weak ones.

Meanwhile, the move to allow any Employees Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawal for any fertility treatment such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) procedure the cost of doing such an expensive method in private hospitals is more non-cost high. The reason for the travel is because the fertility rate in Malaysia has fallen at an alarming rate. The income tax relief that was announced to include on expenses that are incurred on fertility treatment which is a severe expansion of the definition for any medical treatment of serious illnesses tax relief.

TMC Life Sciences Bhd’s group chief executive officer Nadiah Wan says that the travelling aided will open up access to fertility treatment to a broader number of patients. It would be good news for the industry. The initiative is timely. Malaysia is promoting itself as the fertility hub of Asia, and this is one way to develop and promote the industry across the region.

The medical tourism industry value at present is $439 million.

Currently, some 70% of of the infertility patients are local with the international patients comprising the remainder of the 30%.