Costa Rica to host global medical tourism conference

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Costa Rica, known worldwide for its leadership in ecological preservation, sustainable development and eco-friendly tourism, will lead the world once again as it hosts the 2011 Medical Travel Internat

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Costa Rica, known worldwide for its leadership in ecological preservation, sustainable development and eco-friendly tourism, will lead the world once again as it hosts the 2011 Medical Travel International Business Summit May 2-4, 2011 in San Jose and Guanacaste provinces.

The Summit will begin May 2-3 with a series of roundtable discussions and expert lectures at the Ramada Plaza Herradura Hotel Convention Center in the capitol city of San Jose. On May 4, conference attendees will travel to the Hilton Papagayo Hotel in the North Pacific province of Guanacaste, where they will participate in medical tourism training workshops, and learn about medical tourism projects in this rapidly growing province.

“While more than 500 attendees have already confirmed for this global conference, we welcome ‘last minute’ registrations from insurance companies, human resource professionals and corporate representatives to discover the incredible opportunities in Latin American medical tourism,” said Massimo Manzi, Executive Director of PROMED.

The world’s attention will focus on the small democratic Central American nation of Costa Rica, which has managed to achieve a coveted spot among the most attractive locations for medical tourism. While the United States continues to debate the future of national healthcare, Costa Rica offers the world a glimpse into one of the most progressive and advanced healthcare systems worldwide.

Why is Medical Tourism Important for Americans?

Currently, 49 million U.S. citizens are not covered by medical insurance and 108 million Americans do not have even basic dental insurance. By 2015, it is estimated that the U.S. will spend 20% of its GNP on medical services, while a staggering 25% of the population will still lack medical insurance.

Medical tourism represents a critical lifeline to uninsured Americans that cannot afford medical care in the U.S, as well as those seeking advanced medical procedures that are not available in U.S hospitals. Medical procedures in many Latin American destinations, including Costa Rica, are routinely one-third the cost of the same procedure in the U.S. Low cost, high quality medical care within a short flight from most major U.S gateways makes medical tourism an important link for those in need of affordable medical procedures and health care.

What Makes Costa Rica a Leader in Medical Tourism?

Costa Rica first gained prominence as a medical hot spot when American citizens began to travel to this popular Central American nation for inexpensive medical procedures…generally 50%-70% less expensive than the same procedures in the US. Medical tourism gained in popularity in Costa Rica as thousands of happy patients returned to the US and spread the word about their high-quality care, English-speaking doctors, and their incredible tropical vacation, all for a fraction of the price of the same procedures in the US. Inexpensive airfares and Costa Rica’s location only 3-6 hours by plane from most major U.S gateways has made Costa Rica one of the top medical tourism destinations for North Americans. In fact, some 30,000 “health & medical tourists” visited Costa Rica in 2009.

The most popular medical tourism procedures are:

• Dentistry (36%)
• Orthopedics, Bariatric & Cardiovascular (22%)
• Cosmetic Procedures (12%)
• General Medical Treatments (14%).

Interesting Facts about Costa Rica:

Costa Rica is recognized as the “Switzerland of Central America” for its abolition of the military and its commitment to peaceful conflict resolution. Costa Rica has also accomplished many other remarkable feats that have made this nation one of the most coveted “quality of life” locations on the planet.

• Costa Rica provides free healthcare for all its citizens
• Costa Rica has achieved a 96% literacy rate (US literacy rate is 88%)
• Costa Rica has achieved one of the highest life expectancies of any nation
• Costa Rica is one of the top retirement destinations in the world
• Nearly 30% of Costa Rica’s landmass is set aside as national parks or biological reserves, making it a global role model for land preservation and ecological sustainability.

2011 Medical Travel International Business Summit: Highlights

• More than 500 International Attendees from 10 Countries (United States, Canada, Thailand, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, El Salvador & Costa Rica)
• 35 Featured Lectures (Topics: Promotion, Marketing, Safety, Quality, Service Certification & more)
• 150 Exhibitors (Doctors, Hospitals, Clinics, Hotels, Recovery Centers, Tour Operators & more)
• Summit sponsored by PROMED, Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT), Costa Rica Foreign Trade Promotion (PROCOMER) and private companies from the medical and tourism sectors.
• Web Site & Registration:

Featured Conference Lectures:

• “Effects of US Health System Reform on Self-Insured Companies”, Robert Repke: SIIA (Self-Insurance Institute of America).
• “Legal Forum: Medical Tourism-Related Risk Management”, Steve Weiner, Mintz Levin Law Firm: Boston.
• “Marketing to the American Medical Tourist”, Patrick Goodness, CEO, The Goodness Company: Medical Tourism Marketing
• “How to Sell to Corporate Buyers”, Laura Carabello, Director of CPR Strategic Marketing Communications: New Jersey
• “New Market Niches for Medical Tourism”, Dr. Jeff Dugas, International Sports Surgeons.
• “Globalization and Health”, Costa Rican Coalition for Development Initiatives, CINDE.

Dr. Jorge Cortes, President of PROMED, offered the following comment about the upcoming summit. “Medical tourism is in its infancy. As more people discover the incredible quality, safety and value of health care in Latin American nations like Costa Rica, they will become a part of the growing trend to seek affordable healthcare, while enjoying a tropical vacation in some of the most stable, beautiful and exotic locations in the world. We welcome you to attend the 2nd Annual Medical Travel International Business Summit in Costa Rica to witness the future of global healthcare.”

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.