Panama offers visitors a lush, tropical landscape bordering the Pacific and Caribbean coastlines and now excellent health services with cost savings anywhere from 40 to 70 percent lower than costs of similar treatments in the United States. Panama is one of a number of countries including Thailand, Costa Rica, Hungary, that are similarly benefiting from medical tourism as patients seek more affordable treatment options abroad because of rising healthcare costs in high income countries. There has been substantial investment and improvement in its healthcare sector, as part of the country’s rapid development initiative. Hospital facilities have been upgraded and enhanced and the country’s leading hospitals now boast the latest in technology, credentials and international affiliations such as Joint Commission International Accreditation (JCI). Panama is a politically stable country and in recent years has been trying to market itself as “hub of the Americas”. The country is promoting its medical tourism industry and trying to advance its competiveness in the region. Panama is still a relatively Americanized country with an English speaking medical community and many doctors that have been trained abroad. Panama also uses the US dollar as its currency, making it easy for American tourists without the need to exchange currencies. Key Strengths of Panama for medical tourism
- Close proximity and ease of access from the United States
- JCI-accredited hospitals and joint affiliations with US hospitals
- Compassionate health professionals with many trained abroad
- Fast growing medical tourism hotspot in Latin AmericaWhy should you consider Panama for your health care needs?
Medical tourists are choosing to travel to seeking treatment in Panama for a variety of reasons including:
1. Investment in hospital upgrades and joint affiliations with world-renowned medical institutions
Hospitals in Panama have invested in improvements to technology with computer assisted technology, electronic medical records and robotics for surgical procedures. For example, Hospital Nacional has just finished a $25 million USD renovation including a robot-operate pharmacy and state of the art operating rooms. Established in 1999, Punta Pacifica has an accreditation with JCI and established a joint affiliation with Johns Hopkins Hospital, considered one of the top medical institutions in the world. Centro Medico Paitilla was established in 1975 and is affiliated with the Cleveland Clinic in the US.
2. Increases in quality and availability of strategic medical services
Panama has been trying to increase its medical tourism capacity with government support of certain medical services through the health services department to enhance their capacity. Dental Treatments, Cosmetic/Plastic Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery, and Cardiovascular treatments are the most common forms of medical services international patients travel to Panama to seek treatment for. These services have been emphasized because of their international demand and their degree of delicacy.
Many dozens of countries and thousands of medical providers are eager move beyond cosmetic procedures, Lasik eye correction and dental implants to seek and attract international patients seeking more medical demanding and lucrative services including cardiovascular treatments, cancer and orthopedic surgery.
3. High quality medical services at affordable prices
Panama offers patients excellent English speaking medical and dental professionals, excellent technological resources and modern hospitals. Not only is quality up to international standards, but also offers a great value, it is possible to save from 40 to 70 percent off of equivalent procedures in the United States. The cost savings makes Panama a worthy contented in the global medical tourism market and it continuously seeks to attract foreign patients to its borders.
4. Government support and initiatives for medical tourism
The government of Panama has been making progress in promoting its medical tourism potential. Panama held its first medical tourism conference in 2013 which included a government proposal for a roll-out of a medical free trade zone in support of the country’s medical tourism industry. The proposal would include tax breaks for foreign investors and a certification process for providers that want to treat international patients. The government has also been instrumental in developing certain medical procedures that are in high demand from international patients.
5. Stable and tourist friendly environment
Panama is a great travel destination offering beautiful and diverse landscapes, friendly and hospitable people, a politically stable country and a fast growing and developing economy based on the US dollar.. The country is one of the most economically competitive in the region, it has had made major improvements to its communications and transportation infrastructure and is considered one of the most technologically advanced countries in Latin America. In an effort to promote tourism and give travelers peace of mind, Panama is offering free medical insurance in case of emergency for first 30 days of their stay. The program is administered by the Panama Tourist Authority (PTA) and is only valid for persons not living in Panama.
More information about healthcare and medical tourism in Panama
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