Costa Rica is fast becoming a main destination for medical tourism, as foreigners seek out professional medical attention at a price lower than in their country of origin. The list of services sought out include elective procedures, as well as specialized surgeries.
Medical tourism is a us$60 billion dollar industry worldwide and expected to almost double that to us$100 billion by the year 2025.
And the principal market for Costa Rican medical tourism is the United States and Canada.
Lets take a look at some of the numbers. In the US, some 11.000 people turn 50 years of age daily; almost 50 million Americans do not have a doctor, double that do not have dental coverage and in 2007, 750.000 Americans traveled abroad to obtain medical attention. The expectations are that this year that number will grow to 6 million.
Countries already heading the list of destination for medical tourism are Mexico, Panama, Brazil, India, Thailand and South Africa.
Costa Rica wants to make sure it doesn’t get left behind in this important sector and as such will be holding this month the first Latin American congress on medicine and welfare.
Promoting Costa Rica’s medical tourism is Promoción Internacional de la Medicina de Costa Rica(PROMED), private non-profit organization that coordinates the efforts being undertaken to ensure the quality of services provided by the healthcare industry in Costa Rica and and to promote them internationally, in order to consolidate the country as a centre of international medicine and leading destination for health tourism.
PROMED groups health care providers, health professionals, providers of tourist services, the academic sector and other marketers of goods and services related to medical tourism.
Some of the affiliates of PROMED include, Hospital Clínica Bíblica, Hospital CIMA San José, Universidad de Ciencias Medicas UCIMED, Hospital Hotel La Católica, the Costa Rica Association of Medical and Dental Recovery Inns and Hotels, Hotel Ramada Herradura, Hilton Papagayo, DoubleTree Cariari and HOMEWATCH CAREGIVERS Latin America.
The World Health Report 2000 – Costa Rica ranks 36th on the world’ s health systems Health systems: Improving performance; Highest ranking in Political Stability and Absence of Violence in Latin America World Bank, 2007; and, Educational Best system in Latin America, 36th worldwide World Economic Forum Global The Competitiveness Report 2007-2008.
In addition, San José ranks 4th among the cities with the best quality of life of Latin America. San José is also the first among Latin American countries in the Worldwide Business Trip Index The Economist Intelligence Unit 2006 Costa Rica Health System National. The health system includes the Ministry of Health, which has taken leadership for the sector; the Costa Rican Social Security System (CCSS), which delivers care in the event of disease and maternity.