Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Medical Tourism - Surrogacy Agency Is Under Federal Investigation - What Can We Learn From It?

One of the interesting trends with the rise of health care costs is medical tourism. An investigation by Al Jazeera America focuses on medical tourism in the surrogacy area where people have claimed that they were defrauded by a prominent surrogacy company which operates in the U.S. and Mexico. 

While I do not know the merits of the allegations, the article and the concept show the globalization of health care, how it will affect pricing and the incredible shift in how health care procedures are approached.

When I reviewed the website for Planet Hospital, it was in one way unnerving in seeing quotes for "tubal ligation reversal from $2,750," "gastric bypass from $7,000," or "kidney transplant - call for pricing." Why is that? Insurance payments and the roles of insurers have made it where we walk into hospitals or doctor's offices and there are no prices, no price lists and we have no idea what the charges will be for most medical procedures until we receive the bill.  It is different for cosmetic or elective procedures but I am talking about medically necessary procedures. However, why can't hospital and medical providers reveal their prices to patients and the differences between cash prices or insurance charges?

I predict that there will be a significant increase in physicians practicing internationally and traveling to perform surgeries in other countries. There are more physicians serving as locum tenems abroad. However, if a physician is licensed in California or other states, they would still be subject to their state medical board and complaints about their practice abroad regardless of where the complaint originated.  As this investigation piece shows that if American patients decide to complain about the medical tourism company, it will affect them and subject them to the jurisdiction of U.S. investigating agencies.

Globalization of medical services is an interesting trend and will have a great deal of legal consequences both for the companies who offer these services and the medical providers who work for them.

Posted by Tracy Green, Esq.
Green and Associates
Phone: 213-233-2260
Email: tgreen@greenassoc.com 


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