August 31, 2019

A 56-year-old woman from Mississippi, who needed knee replacement surgery that would be covered under her husband’s health care insurance, chose to have the surgery performed at Galenia Hospital in Cancun, Mexico, where a surgeon from Wisconsin flew in to perform the surgery. Not only did the woman not have to pay any co-pays for her surgery and medical care, she received a check in the amount of $5,000 from her husband’s health insurer as an incentive to have the surgery performed at the Mexican hospital. The health insurer also paid for all travel expenses and hotel expenses associated with her knee replacement surgery and recovery.

Even taking into consideration the incentive payments to patients, travel and hotel expenses, and the costs of medical treatment (the costs are often a fraction of the costs in the United States, and the cost of the knee replacement implant is also a fraction of the cost), health insurers often pay less than one-half of what it would cost in the United States.

The woman reportedly had a satisfying medical tourism experience, describing her caregivers in Mexico as like having family members taking care of her. The American surgeon who spent less than 24 hours in Mexico while performing the surgery was also please with the experience – he earned three times the amount he would have been paid for the surgery if Medicare had paid for the procedure in the United States.

The U.S.-trained surgeon is one of about forty orthopedic surgeons in the United States who have signed on with the Denver, Colorado-based company, North American Specialty Hospital (“NASH”), to fly in and perform surgeries on Americans at Galenia Hospital in Cancun, Mexico, on their days off. NASH reportedly has assisted “a couple of dozen Americans” at Galenia Hospital since 2017. NASH is paid a set amount by employers or others to arrange for medical treatment of Americans at Galenia Hospital and pays for additional medical malpractice coverage for physicians who provide medical tourism services at Galenia Hospital.


Galenia Hospital

Galenia Hospital states on its website: “We offer you a highly trained medical body that exercise various specialties and are constantly updated in the different medical branches. Our facilities and equipment are high technology, which translates a medical tourism service with effective and timely first world care … Our medical staff is certified by the Medical Council, and they have also been trained in many of the best medical schools and hospitals in the world. This medical staff provides care in more than 20 medical and surgical specialties and subspecialties, and currently attracts patients from the United States of America and Canada … We are the only High Specialty Hospital in all of Mexico, creditor of the Certification of Health Care Establishments granted by the General Health Council (CSG) with the Internationally Approved Standards with the Joint Commission International (JCI) and Accreditation Canada International (ACI). These accreditations guarantee compliance with international norms and standards for the medical tourism market.”


If you or a loved one may have suffered serious harm as a result of medical negligence outside of the United States, you should promptly contact a medical malpractice attorney in your home state who may advise you regarding your rights and responsibilities in pursuing a medical malpractice case, if available and appropriate.

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