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Medical Tourism is bad for the locals?

Travel Forums Asia Medical Tourism is bad for the locals?

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1. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 8y

I've seen Bangkok hospital at a time I was sick... and boy, I never poorer in my entire life.
It looked like a resort hotel... well we have those hospitals in Manila, its for the rich and the foreign. ha

Health care has always been luxury, but try it in a foreign country with no insurance.

If hate the tuktuk drivers for overcharging you, try the man in white and you'll think the motorbike taxi drivers of Hanoi are angels. I eventually had to consult a doctor in KL. I should gone to a Hindu Temple and pray to Ganesh and all the gods to heal me. IT WAS HELL EXPENSIVE...

The first clinic at Puturaya, to my surprise, recognize me as a foreign object 30 seconds after I entered the boutique, I mean clinic. She spoke English to me and ask for a passport and told me how much the fee was... WOW! I'm paying the same rate a guy from MONACO will be charged. So I said I can't afford that rate, she then KINDLY refer to a cheaper place, a hospital on the same street. It was not cheap either... the nurse said, "SO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE RATE?" Is that a hospital or a hotel??? The rate or fee? The hospital had high tech facilities and an English speaking doctor that tried to make his speech worth his consultation fee worth it. It was a major ripped off... I payed a fortune for what? NASAL DECONGESTANTS... He then advice me to do a procedure, which was going to save my ear, but will cost me an ARM and a LEG. I really don't trust doctors that sound like TELEMARKETER, I'm a communications coach, I can smell a lie with my nose clogged. So I said no, I'll just go to pray somewhere.

I may need to see a doctor again. But I am afraid they will charge me 1st world rates. Thailand is a developing country, but the consultation fees may just be as expensive as Malaysia. I paid something like 2,000 baht or 200 Ringgit, it would cost me less than 200 baht in Manila. WILL GOING WITH A LOCAL HELP?

And I have friends who have insurance, but the hospitals will try to suck it up, so they will do whatever to charge you, even if it means putting you in danger.

Its just not fair... If the dental clinics are all interested in getting foreign CUSTOMERS, then what about the locals? I went to a dental clinic and a French guy, who assumed I'm American, kept talking about how cheap things are... he was so embarassed when I told him money is in peso.

I'm not that poor, but I wonder how this reality affects other travellers from the third world. What if you are from Laos and you have a medical emergency.

Fortunately, I never get sick and I made a careless remark, that people from the 1st world deserve to get sick, its the law of averages, besides they have insurance. Apparently, my friend caught dengue in Thailand and was really pissed at me. I said if I get dengue its a death sentence.

2. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 8y

I went to a VN hospital in Nha Trang and came away pretty impressed. I wrote about this in my blog. This was a small problem, I am not sure what would happen with a true medical emergency. I am happy I did not find out firsthand.

In Thailand, there are at least 3 price levels. A Thai pays very little for care at the public hospitals. Of course many don't make very much on a western pay scale, but a Thai citizen can get affordable medical care at public hospitals. A farang with language skills or who has a Thai friend along will pay more at the same hospital than a Thai, but not excessively more. Then you have the private hospitals. These are geared for wealthier Thais and foreigners. A tourist going to a private hospital will pay 'list price' for service. An ex-pat with a discount card will pay less than the tourist and a Thai will pay even less for the same services. A 'local discount'.

Thai citizens are not affected by medical tourism as they use the public hospital system or get the benefit of the double pricing system.

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 5, 2008, at 10:59 AM by vegasmike6 ]

3. Posted by Hien (Moderator 3906 posts) 8y

Quoting Swept Away

... I eventually had to consult a doctor in KL. I should gone to a Hindu Temple and pray to Ganesh and all the gods to heal me. IT WAS HELL EXPENSIVE...

The first clinic at Puturaya, to my surprise, recognize me as a foreign object 30 seconds after I entered the boutique, I mean clinic. She spoke English to me and ask for a passport and told me how much the fee was... WOW! I'm paying the same rate a guy from MONACO will be charged. So I said I can't afford that rate, she then KINDLY refer to a cheaper place, a hospital on the same street. It was not cheap either... the nurse said, "SO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE RATE?" Is that a hospital or a hotel??? The rate or fee? The hospital had high tech facilities and an English speaking doctor that tried to make his speech worth his consultation fee worth it. It was a major ripped off... I payed a fortune for what? NASAL DECONGESTANTS... He then advice me to do a procedure, which was going to save my ear, but will cost me an ARM and a LEG. I really don't trust doctors that sound like TELEMARKETER, I'm a communications coach, I can smell a lie with my nose clogged. So I said no, I'll just go to pray somewhere.

...

Obviously the one you went to is a private clinic/hospital. As far as I know, their expensive charges are the same whether or not you're a local. If you had gone to a public hospital, you would be charged more at "Tier 1" rate (there are 3 tiers), but even Tier1 is still way much cheaper than private clinics/hospitals.

How much were you quoted/charged by the clinic and hospital anyway?

4. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 8y

Quoting Hien

[quote=Swept Away...

How much were you quoted/charged by the clinic and hospital anyway?[/quote]

I paid 200 ringgit. That is like 2,000 BAHT,
and I got NASAL DECONGESTANTS for 4 days...
Its not even anti biotics or medicines for an infection.
It will cost me 20 ringgit back home for the same service in a clinic.

I just wanted to know if I could board a plane. Well I still need to see a doctor, since I decided not to go home.
Fortunately, I'm fine now. I'm not Hindu, but I visited three temples and pray this thing will go away.

5. Posted by Swept Away (Travel Guru 1113 posts) 8y

Quoting vegasmike6

Thai citizens are not affected by medical tourism as they use the public hospital system or get the benefit of the double pricing system.

But the best doctors are in the resort hospitals for the medical tourist? They are either there or in the US working as nurses. What angers me is the fact that I get to pay the same rate with guys from Scandinavia or Monaco.

I will do my root canal in south east asia soon. Would you do it in Vientiane or Hanoi? I may not be in Thailand, if my tooth strikes. Its been okay for two years. But dentist always tell me I need the root canal. I had it fixed by fake dentists in China several times. I paid a lot when it chipped off in Macau. But I think I paid the same rates locals do. The price list was on the wall and the dental aid was from my country.

6. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 8y

Many Drs. practice at both the public & private hospitals. A friend of mine now living in Pattaya saw the same Dr. at the public Banglamung Hospital and also at the private BKK-Pattaya Hospital. I guess they spend some time serving the Thai citizens as well as their private practice.

I have used the dentists at BKK-Pattaya Hospital and also a dental clinic on Pattaya Tai (south). You can get good quality dental care for a reasonable price in Thailand. I am not sure about the quality of care in VN or Laos. I would stick with Thai dentists.

7. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 459 posts) 7y

I have experience of both the private and, as I have a social security card, the free side if care in Thailand. And whether you go to either one, one thing is for sure, the care you get is basic to rudimentary.

There are competent doctors and staff in the Thailand medical industry, but there are also a huge number of people who just don’t live up to the claims of their qualifications...how they got them is anyone's guess.

In areas such as emergency, diagnosis and general patient well-being, advice etc they are severely lacking.

If you have an unforeseen problem whilst in the care of a hospital...BEWARE!!...there is no guarantee that they will be able to cope with it.

routine ops and treatments are usually OK, but look at the scarring and inoculation scars on rank and file Thai people and you can see the treatment they received, whilst it "did the job" has no finesse, attention is paid simple to fix the injury, scarring or any after-problems are ignored completely.

Don’t be fooled by fancy fish-tanks and leather seats, this is all only on the surface, dig deeper and you may wish you were back home in your free healthcare hospital dormitory.

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 8, 2008, at 7:00 PM by wildfk ]

8. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3562 posts) 7y

Quoting wildfk

I have experience of both the private and, as I have a social security card, the free side if care in Thailand. And whether you go to either one, one thing is for sure, the care you get is basic to rudimentary.

Don’t be fooled by fancy fish-tanks and leather seats, this is all only on the surface, dig deeper and you may wish you were back home in your free healthcare hospital dormitory.

Wil,
I am glad you chimed in on the care received at Thai hospitals. I can only go with my experiences at the BKK-Pattaya Hospital and my ex-pats friend's stories. I was happy with the care I received and the price. It was much less than I would have been charged in the US. This was late 90s, early 2000. Now their prices are approaching the US for some services. They were charging more for LASIK eye surgery at the BKK-Pattaya Hospital than here in Vegas.

Wil, I wish the US had free health care, but sadly, we do not.

9. Posted by travelolic (Full Member 12 posts) 7y

2000 bath = US$ 55 right?
That the same price for a local Vietnamese pay in Public Hopital

10. Posted by wildfk (Respected Member 459 posts) 7y

Everyone pays for health care...its just a matter of how you are charged and the system is organised. Some people have insurance, others pay tax whilst others have to pay straight out of their pocket on an ad hoc basis.

No matter which way you look at it the health system in Thailand is not well organised and only the well-off have a chance of the top medical facilities. This doesn't mean that others don't from time to time have access to good doctors ,but funds will limit the treatments available and the standards are not homogeneous throughout the country.