Mexico the new dental destination

by Dave

Some cash rich Indian hospital chain needs to consolidate  these solo/duo dental practitioners South of the US border  – and speed up regulatory compliance and obtain insurance company blessing for these procedures, after the necessary rebranding. Apollo, Fortis, Wockhardt anybody?!

A huge belt from Mexico to Central America and the Caribbean are ripe pickings. Indian specialist doctors can be flow-in for 2 to 3 month shifts to augment local medical talent.
At a CII Latin American conclave held in Bangalore on Feb 24-25, Ana Vilma de Escobar, VP of El Salvador was making the same pitch – for Indian hospitals to locate in that country to serve American clients. 2 hr plan ride from Miami, Houston etc.

[Los Algodones] a sleepy village on the U.S. border into the latest boomtown of medical tourism, the practice of traveling abroad to get medical care. From face-lifts in Costa Rica to heart surgery in India, medical tourism has become a $60 billion enterprise by one estimate.

Los Algodones, population 4,000, is home to about 350 dentists geared to foreign patients, including snowbirds from Chicago and elsewhere in the upper Midwest. Their treatment comes at a huge discount—70 percent or more—from what Americans pay at home, a reality that many patients call an indictment of U.S. health care.

But U.S. medical authorities warn that this desert outpost is a medical Wild West, an unregulated environment where substandard providers can hang their shingle without the same oversight that exists in the United States.

Rubbing his jaw after getting a dental implant, Wisconsin native Carl Zeutzius downplayed those worries, saying he was pleased by the care and by a bill that was 75 percent cheaper than in the U.S.

“We’re in favor of helping the economy in the United States, but we don’t want to be ripped off, either,” said Zeutzius, who winters in Arizona with his wife, Chris.

A recent survey reported about 350 dentists working in 160 offices. While pharmacies and eye doctors also share the sidewalks with quesadilla stands and souvenir vendors, dental care is the real engine. A Phoenix company, Dayo Dental, organizes van rides to make the three-hour run each way. TLC Dental has even opened a bed-and-breakfast adjacent to its dental office for visitors who want to make an overnight trip of it.

The consulting firm Deloitte found that 2 in 5 Americans would go abroad for medical care if they could save 50 percent of costs and were assured that the quality of care was comparable.

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