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TV Documentary on Medical Tourism Covering India, Mexico, & Barbados

TV Documentary on Medical Tourism Covering India, Mexico, & Barbados

Thursday December 08, 2011

Travel agents curious about medical travel might want to catch the cable documentary “Under the Knife Abroad.” The show was scheduled for broadcast on the Current TV channel on Monday, Nov. 14, at 9 p.m. EST.

The 60-minute documentary takes a comprehensive look at medical travel, including through coverage of one patient’s trip from California to Mexico to receive surgery she could not afford in the U.S., according to Rudy Rupak, president of PlanetHospital.

The patient was a client of PlanetHospital, a medical travel facilitator that works with travel agents overseas. PlanetHospital is owned by the publicly traded international medical tourism company Global Health Voyager.

Overseas investigations

In “Under the Knife Abroad,” correspondent Adam Yamaguchi traveled to India, Mexico and Barbados to investigate medical tourism.

The documentary’s program notes warn that healthcare could be “America’s next industry to be outsourced to foreign lands” because of out-of-control costs in the U.S.

Travel agents viewing the documentary will get an idea of what medical travel is like through interviews with American patients and healthcare executives.

Referral fees for agents

Rupak of PlanetHospital said that his firm works with some international travel agencies but, as of yet, no U.S. travel agencies.

Travel agents partner with PlanetHospital “to help their clients get the medical side of the medical tourism done, while the travel agent takes care of the travel portion,” Rupak said. PlanetHospital pays agents a referral fee.

In the U.S., medical tourism could be a new revenue stream for travel agents, but many shy away from serving medical travelers, because of potential liability issues, Rupak observed.

 “While we feel leisure travel agents would benefit the most, corporate travel agents could let their corporate clients know that they have partnered with PlanetHospital to provide medical tourism that could save companies money on healthcare benefits,” Rupak said.

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Tags: Mexico, India, travel agents, medical travel facilitator, documentary, Barbados

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