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Monday, August 13, 2007


PANAMA CITY, Panama -- I have long been convinced that medical tourism will be one of Latin America's biggest industries in the 21st century. On a visit here last week, I got a glimpse of the coming boom. 100 million Americans will reach retirement age over the next 30 years, and growing numbers of them won't be able to afford ever-rising U.S. healthcare costs. Read the full column here, and let us know what you think.


Blogger Jim Wesberry said...

Tienes razon Andres. Yo acaba de tener un nuevo nieto (el octavo) nacido en el Hospital de los Valles de Quito. Este nuevo hospital es mas limpio y mas profesional que muchos que conozco en los EEUU.

8:51 AM  
Blogger Jim Wesberry said... is the above in English: Your are right Andres. I just had a new grandson (the 8th) born in the Hospital de los Valles in Quito. This new hospital is cleaner and more professional than many I know in the US.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Satanas en Persona said...

Estimado Andres Oppenheimer: Me tomo el atrevimiento de invitarlo a leer mi opinion sobre el apoyo de Macri a Lopez Murphy para las elecciones de la Republica Argentina.
Desde ya muchas gracias y disculpe las molestias.


Mariano Iraola

8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from: Paul Thørsen

åndêrš, there are no beaches in England, Sweden or Germany. And with all the cold, wet weather England had this year, I can see why their retirees want to retire in a warmer locale.
The USA has beaches, we have warm weather.
Most Americans are covered by insurance. The ones without are too poor to even consider flying down to Latin America for a medical procedure.

10:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

from: Paul Thørsen

Hey åndêrš, are you American? Or do you live in Arhentina? the reason I ask is all your columns are about how to enrich Latin America and 90% of your ideas involve ripping off the USA to do so and never about how Latin America can become a player on the world stage by creating its own goods and products as Korea, China and India have done in the last 10 years.
If you people want to be accepted here instead of being seen as thieves, you got to do your medical services here, even if it costs a little more. You got to buy American cars, even if they are more expensive then Korean cars. You got to wave a USA flag, not foreign flags. You got to cheer for USA international sports teams. You got to show you want to learn English and want to speak it. You got to invest your money back into the USA insteasd of smuggling it overseas.

12:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, you're right. People would start move to places like Panama, where you could get the same quality of treatment for much lesser cost compared to US. It is obvious decision...
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11:25 AM  
Blogger El Aguila said...

Señor Thørsen,
Are you even a US citizen? Your English is terrible and your philosophy is more reminiscent of a totalitarian society than of a free capitalist society such as we practice in the United States. Why would anyone who is concerned about automobile quality and gas mileage buy an American car for instance? This is why Toyotas are the best selling cars in the United States. And you must not watch many American sporting activities such as basketball and baseball (our national pass time) because both sports have large percentages of foreign-born players, including Latin Americans.

So why don't you take your own advice and learn to write correctly in English or at least use your computer's spell and grammar check. I apologize to Andres and the rest of the readership for posting off-topic but I grow tired of this person's ignorant and hypocritical comments.


1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andres, I think you are right on the money. What Latin America lacks in terms of infrastructure and JCI accreditation can be corrected over time, at which point proximity will become the overriding factor. Meanwhile India, Thailand and Singapore are good, but they are always going to be half a world away.

I recently started, a news, information and discussion forum about medical tourism. I've visited Singapore and written about my experience there and have conducted interviews with JCI's Karen Timmons, authors Jeff Schult and Josef Woodman, along with doctors, hospital executives and travel facilitators active in the field.

We'll soon be issuing a white paper regarding the implications of medical tourism for US health plans, employers, hospitals, and doctors.

David Williams

8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I read with considerable interest your Aug. 12 article
on the above mentioned topic. This is a subject dear
to me both on a personal level and a business level.

In your research for the article, you will have found
reference to Medical Tourism companies, which package
tours to several destinations for medical, dental,and
cosmetic surgery procedures. We are one of these
companies, recently established, and are growing,
albeit slowly. Interestingly, we have found Panama
and Costa Rica to be easy 'sells', and Colombia
considerably more difficult. The negative image of
Colombia in many peoples' minds, persists to quite a
degree; the usual comments--safety, kidnappying,
assasinations, etc. all come up.

Neverthelss, another interesting factor that comes up
is--among the local (Miami) Latino population,
Colombia is not so much a negative, due in large part
to the presence of many Colombians here, and the
familiarity with the language.

We have visited all of our providers, verified
credentials, and are in full agreement that the Punta
Pacifica Hospital in Panama is indeed impressive.
Simply entering the lobby one is impressed with the
surroundings, the technical expertise, and the
attitude of the welcoming staff. We have sent clients
there and they are happy.

Along the same line, we cooperate with some clinics in
Medellin and San Jose, and again, the standards are
impressive, to put it mildly.

We feel that what we do benefits those persons here
who want or need procedures that would otherwise be
unaffordable, and at the same time helps to provide
good paying jobs and professionalism in the countries
where we send clients. This may be very helpful to
those countries who experience 'brain drains.'

We have some other visions of this industry, and where
it is likely headed in the very near future. We would
welcome the opportunity to briefly sit down with you
and discuss some of these ideas, which may prove to be
of benefit to both of us. In all likelihood you have
considered some of the ideas, and we welcome the
opportunity to learn from you. At the same time, we
may be able to provide some personal insight into this
very interesting development on the international
scene for future articles.

We may be reached through this email address, or
through our company Our website is Our phones are:
305-595-0262, or 1-888-880-8746.

Thank you for your time in reading this, and we look
forward to your response (we know your time is

Ken Latta, Director, Global Care Concepts LLC

10:15 AM  
Blogger Andres Oppenheimer said...

For all those who wrote wondering about the title of the book I mention in the column, it's "Medical Tourism in Developing Countries," by Milica Z. Bookman and Karla Bookman, published by Palgrave/Macmillan.

11:49 AM  
Blogger NMHInc Admin said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

1:15 PM  
Blogger NMHInc Admin said...

Well, Mr. Oppenheimer, all I wanted to say was that you should read the recent article in about Seniors emigrating to Mexico for cheap nursing care. Latin America is in a unique position to fulfill the needs of medical travelers. And like I said in the email, if you need any information, we'll be happy to oblige.

1:22 PM  
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