Our Competition in Brussels
I've talked a great deal about the myths and realities of working in a foreign country for the past four years in this blog. Many people have presented me with the argument, "If healthcare is so great in other countries, then why do so many foreigners come here for care?" Until now, I've only been able to provide anecdotal responses of my experiences working in New York City, which would be a likely spot for medical tourism. An article came out in this weekend's New York Times demonstrating that actually, the trend is exactly the opposite. US citizens are traveling abroad for their care.
This highlights what APTA President Paul Rockar Jr., PT, DPT, MS, voiced earlier, that we must demonstrate value in our services. If people can get equally good treatment in another country and pay significantly less, including the airfare, then why should they stay here? The article showcases an elective joint replacement where the patient stays in Brussels for an extra week for rehab. There is no mention of rehab upon return to the United States.
Knowing the business of healthcare, not just rehab, is imperative for survival in this rapidly changing environment. I'm encouraged by fellow ADVANCE blogger, Mike Kelley, committing to read the Affordable Care Act. To quote his previous blog, "Knowledge is power!" It is time we all become empowered or we might be watching our business take flight across the pond.