MEXICO CITY – Mexico is experiencing an increase in the arrivals of foreign tourists who travel to the country to receive medical care, and this year the number of such visitors could exceed the 50,000 patients reported in 2009, the Health Digital System company told Efe on Wednesday.
Between January and September of this year, 44,512 foreigners checked in to Mexican hospitals, 25 percent more than the 35,610 who did so during the same period in 2009, HDS director Jaime Carter said in an interview.
Last year, some 50,000 foreign patients were treated in Mexico and each one spent an average of $13,000 per week on medical care, for a total of $650 million, according to an HDS study.
Carter said that it is expected that this sector will continue growing and that in two years it will generate revenues of about $1.2 billion.
He said that the good quality of care and the low charges, which are about 50 percent below equivalent medical costs in other countries, spurs foreign patients to come to be treated in Mexican hospitals.
He also said that many of the foreigners, most of them from the United States and Canada, come for everything from regular checkups to dental and plastic surgery, and more recently many have even been coming for heart surgery.
“Mexico has managed to increase the development of its health system and in private hospitals as well as federal ones emphasis is being decisively placed on strengthening this type of tourism,” Carter said.
The study reveals that some 300,000 U.S. citizens each year travel abroad for medical care.
Carter said that currently the Mexican government is working with different U.S. insurance companies so that their customers can be treated in this country.
He noted that in Mexico just 2 percent of the hospitals and clinics have received certification according to the Joint Commission International Accreditation Standards for Hospitals, and so the federal health department “is working on new certifications for hospitals both on the northern border as well as in the center of the country.” EFE