Going Abroad for Substandard Care

A trend is emerging where patients in need of medical care are going abroad for surgeries. This trend is in response to rising health care costs in the U.S., a function of insurance companies increasing rates to maximize profits. However, there are numerous risks associated with major medical procedures abroad. Initially, the level of care may not be the same given different licensing requirements and regulations. Further, patients may be exposed to substandard protections against infection and the spread of disease. The American Medical Association has expressed concern over the standard of care in other countries and is not yet convinced that the purported benefits outweigh the costs. For patients that do seek care outside the U.S., it is important to see a U.S. physician for a follow-up upon reentry. These patients must also keep in mind that surgery and travel often do not mix.

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