What Is Medical Tourism? Let Sarasota Show You!

Shopping to get the most bang for your buck isn’t relegated to buying a car or the best cell phone plan anymore. Patients seeking medical procedures such as knee or hip replacement and cataract surgery are now shopping around, going beyond their local physician and hospital to investigate places around the world, comparing prices and well, looking into what each has to offer as a vacation destination as well.

Let’s face it, if you’re going to recuperate from surgery, you may as well do it in a place that offers beautiful scenery, exquisite service, delectable dining and engaging entertainment.

Not only does Sarasota offer all of the above, it also happens to house the best trained physicians, cutting-edge technology and the most stringent safety standards in the world.

Dr. Debra Sandberg, CEO of Sarasota’s Florida Medical Retreat, says that while patients had been traveling outside of the U.S. for lower-cost surgical procedures, the trend in medical tourism is beginning to shift back to the States.

“A couple things happened to change industry,” Dr. Sandberg explains. “People who had gone to other countries suffered complications because the equipment is just not as good. Our surgeons have had to do repairs on patients who’ve had procedures performed in other countries.

“So in the last five years the U.S. has been a popular choice for its safety and security,” Dr. Sandberg continues. “It was just rated the fifth most desirable destination in world. Also, doctors in U.S. hospitals are willing to work with those who pay cash.”

Florida Medical Retreat: Surgery in Paradise
Florida Medical Retreat is designed to accommodate patients who not only desire superior medical treatment, but a superior rehabilitative experience as well. The retreat offers door-to-door concierge service-from assistance in scheduling the procedure to arranging luxury accommodations and entertainment for the family, to planning the patient’s medical itinerary.

The retreat boasts 10 specialists who offer medical services that include cosmetic procedures, cataract surgery, orthopedic corrections, vascular surgery, urological treatments and neurological procedures performed at both Doctors Hospital of Sarasota and Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

Following surgery, patients can join their families at the luxurious Sarasota Bay Club, where the club’s rehabilitation center, The Inn at Sarasota Bay Club, offers physical, occupational and speech therapy.

Post-Op Perks
In addition to world-class medical facilities and staff, Sarasota’s advantages include pristine beaches, world-class museums, theater and dining.

Siesta Key’s Siesta Beach was recently named the No. 1 Beach in North America by beach expert Dr. Stephen Leatherman. Its powdered sugar sands and island amenities offer serenity and comfort in a tropical setting. But there’s also plenty of beach to enjoy on Longboat Key, Casey Key and Lido Key, Venice and Englewood. Sarasota boasts 13 public beaches along Florida’s southwest coast.

When John Ringling brought his circus to town in the early part of the 20th century, his love of the arts and discriminating taste came with him, which helped to mold Sarasota into the internationally acclaimed cultural destination it is today.

The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art houses 600 Baroque masterpieces and a collection of Peter Paul Rubens’ work that is considered the finest in the world, and his historic mansion is an architectural masterpiece. Also located on the estate is the Asolo Theater, a genuine 18th century palace playhouse originally constructed and used in Asolo, Italy. Ringling had the theater carefully dismantled, shipped and reassembled in Sarasota, where it now serves as a state theater housing a world-class repertory company.

Sarasota thriving downtown theater district includes the Sarasota Opera House, the Banyan Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre and the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe. And there are galleries, too, such as Art Uptown and Artisans” World Marketplace, to name a few.

Sarasota’s culinary offerings are no less stellar. This coastal community’s international flavor and love of culture have enticed chefs and sommeliers from around the world to call Sarasota home. And their award-winning restaurants offer everything from European fare to Indian flavor, surfside seafood to submarine sandwiches.

International Travel for Surgery or Stem Cell Treatment

“Medical tourism” typically refers to patients from developed countries seeking less expensive treatment in other countries. However, as our society becomes more global, patients are increasingly seeking the very best shoulder surgeon or the best knee surgeon for treatment… and still choosing the United States for the best value.

An important distinction is that the best value may not necessarily be the cheapest price, which is why it is critical for patients to consider a number of other factors when contemplating travel for knee or shoulder surgery and cutting edge new treatments with stem cells or platelet rich plasma (“PRP”). International patients travel to the Tampa Bay area to seek adult stem cell treatment, PRP, knee surgery, and shoulder surgery with William F. Bennett, M.D. at Bennett Orthopedics and Sportsmedicine. Dr. Bennett, an orthopedic specialist located in Sarasota, trained in both the United States and in Switzerland with the world’s leading experts. He has been recognized internationally as a pioneer in shoulder and knee procedures.

Dr. Bennett is able to provide the best value to international patients. As an independent surgeon, he can negotiate with various hospitals and outpatient surgery centers to obtain a good price. Unlike many surgeons, Dr. Bennett is not an owner of a surgical facility, so his interests are aligned with his patients’ best interests in choosing a location for surgery. The physician’s fees often represent a small part of the total cost of a medical procedure, so it is helpful to choose a doctor who can shop for better hospital or surgery center rates, and does not steer their patients to one particular location where they have a financial stake.

While often not the cheapest destination, the U.S. is still a destination for international patients due to the stringent requirements for surgeons: medical residency, board certification, and individual state licensing requirements. Regulations in the United States also encompass medical supplies and materials. Dr. Bennett helps patients choose the right implant or supplies to ensure that they get the best medical result for a good price. (This is in contrast to the cheapest price on the market, which may involve implants or equipment that is decades old or less than optimal for an individual patient’s lifestyle… which is why it is critical to choose a qualified surgeon like Dr. Bennett who has access to the best materials and equipment to ensure you get a good medical result for a fair price).

Complications are also important for the medical traveler to consider. If you leave the country for medical treatment and have a complication, most patients will seek follow up care from the operating surgeon. This can result in additional costs, ultimately making a procedure more expensive than it would have been if the patient chose the better surgeon with a higher upfront price. Infections can lead to more surgeries and a worse outcome. To get the best value, you need to choose the surgeon who will get it right the first time.

Dr. Bennett is located in the Sarasota and Bradenton area, with easy access to Tampa, Port Charlotte, Sun City Center, Naples, Ft. Myers, Arcadia, and Northport. finally, IMG Academy is located just 15 miles from Dr. Bennett’s location -if your child is training there- seek out the best! To find out more about how Dr. Bennett can help you, and to learn more about international medical packages, call (941) 404-2703.

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