Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Wednesday

July 9, 2014

When patients stay and when they go

TRAVERSE CITY — Great Lakes Plastic Surgery center owner Dr. Matthew Smith draws some patients from outside northwest Michigan, but he loses even more.

“People go a lot of times to Mexico,” Smith said. “I’ve had patients who have gone to the Czech Republic because they either have family there, or they read somewhere they can get a plane ticket and still the cost is only going to be 50 percent of what it is in Traverse City.”

It’s a practice called medical tourism, where patients leave home to have procedures elsewhere.

Smith said patients sometimes come to his Traverse City office so they can recover away from their social circles, but most who leave home are seeking cheaper procedures.

He sees the real cost as the risk of recovering from surgery far away from the surgeon who did the procedure.

“What happens when there’s a complication?” Smith said. “It’s not like you’re going to turn around a week or two after surgery and get back to Mexico.”

Business Leaders for Michigan, a group that researches the state economy, lists medical tourism as a potential boost for the state’s finances. Business Leaders for Michigan Vice President Kelly Chesney said some Michigan hospitals, such as Beaumont Hospital in metro Detroit, already market themselves outside of their geographic region.

Alonzo Lewis, Vice President for Women & Children’s Services and Business Development at Beaumont Hospital, said the hospital reaches out to smaller, area medical centers hoping to be first on their lists in case they need help, and wants to staff renowned physicians who will draw patients with their expertise. It also markets itself as a destination, hoping dollars spent on advertising will mean potential patients searching the Internet see Beaumont’s name first.

Dale Killingbeck of Munson Medical Center’s communications department said the hospital doesn’t market itself to patients outside northern Michigan.

Text Only

Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Associated Press Video
Bill Murray Continues To Be Just Bill Murray By Eating Some Free Bill Murray Ice Cream Deja vu: Another NYPD officer choke-holding a suspect Hillary Clinton Blamed Bill's Affair With Monica Lewinsky On Abuse He Suffered As A Child 'Fifty Shades of Grey': Watch the Super Sexy First Trailer Now! Reports: Ravens RB Ray Rice Suspended For 1st 2 Games Of The Season Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director Air Algerie plane with 119 on board missing over Mali Diamond Stone, Malik Newman, Josh Jackson and others showcase talent Free Arturo - The World's Saddest Polar Bear A Look Back at Batman On Film Through The Years LeBron James -- Dropped $2k On Cupcake Apology ... Proceeds To Benefit Charity Snoop Dogg Says He Smoked Weed at the White House Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Chris Pratt Interrupts Interview To French Braid Intern's Hair Shirtless Super Mario Balotelli Dances While Ironing - @TheBuzzeronFOX Whoa! Watch "Housewives" Star Do the Unthinkable LeBron apologizes to neighbors with cupcakes Justin Bieber In Calvin Klein Underwear Shoot Samsung Pre-Trolls The IPhone 6 With New Ad Jimmy Kimmel Introduces His Baby Girl