Medical Tourism to Get Boost Next Year

Medical Tourism is expected to get a big boost next year as overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) are expected to participate in the soon to be launched diaspora health care.

Rudy Rupak, founder adn president of Planet Hospital said he is looking at launching the diaspora healthcare program in the Philippines next year.
The diaspora healthcare provides basic healthcare to OFWs in the country where they work and full health coverage in the Philippines.

So far, Planet Hospital agreed to endorse four doctors from the Philippines practicing in the field of plastic surgery, surgical oncology and cardiology.

The Philippines can earn as much as $4 billion in the health and wellness industry if only the government will give enough support to the sector through tax perks and the passage of a new law.

In an interview, Ruy Moreno, private sector director for the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) said there is a need to pass a new legislation allowing foreign nationals to use their insurance when seeking medical attention here in the country.

"We need a new law that will pave the way for insurance portability," Moreno said.

Aside from passing a new law, the government must likewise provide fiscal incentives and review tariffs and duties imposed on medical instruments, equipment and medicines.

Rupak said that they expect to tap at least two percent of the 3.2 million Filipinos residing in the United States.

"We will double the number the next year then grow from there," Rupak noted.

Rupak is in the country for seven days to scout for partner health insurance firms in order to formally launch the Philippines as a wellness destination.

Rupak, who is based in the United States, is a pioneer in medical services outsourcing. Planet Hospital sends American patients to 13 countries namely India, Singapore, Thailand, Israel, Cyprus, Malta, Belgium, El Salvador, Mexico and Costa Rica.

Rupak is one of the first major overseas prospects who have strong interest in the Philippines.

source: Philippine Star (November 21, 2007)