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Group Opposes Medical Travel Limits

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The International Medical Travel Association says it has concerns about the America Medical Association’s recently adopted guidelines on medical tourism.

The AMA, Chicago, established, for example, the principle that “medical care outside the U.S. must be voluntary” and that “financial incentives to travel outside the U.S. for medical care should not inappropriately limit the diagnostic and therapeutic alternatives that are offered to patients, or restrict treatment or referral options.”

The AMA also ruled that, “Coverage for travel outside the U.S. for medical care must include the costs of necessary follow-up care upon return to the U.S.”

IMTA, Los Angeles, welcomes the AMA’s move to adopt medical tourism guidelines, according to IMTA President Dr. Steven Tucker.

“However, addressing the issues faced by patients, physicians, insurers and other medical tourism industry participants requires the cooperative action of industry stakeholders,” Tucker says in a statement.

IMTA is concerned that at least one state medical society wants to prohibit insurers from offering incentives to patients who are considering crossing borders for health care, Tucker says.

“U.S. executives working abroad must often cross borders for care,” Tucker says. “What of them?”

In addition, many U.S. hospitals have facilities overseas or are working with health care organizations overseas, Tucker says.


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