AMA medical tourism policy emphasizes care quality

As part of its annual conference, the American Medical Association has taken its first official stand on the principles it believes should govern the provision of care for medical tourists. In the principles, members seem focused on making sure employers and payers don't force patients to get substandard care or care that doesn't include adequate follow-up. (To date, we here at FierceHealthcare haven't seen any evidence that patients are being forced to go overseas or, if they choose to go, are being forced to accept inadequate care, but I suppose the AMA wants to stay ahead of the issue.)

In its new policy statement, the AMA addressed not only patient care, but also the financing of that care.  First and foremost, it's advocating that employers, insurance companies and other middlemen in the medical tourism process follow several voluntary guidelines. Among other things, it's advocating that medical care outside of the U.S. is voluntary, that financial incentives to seek care outside the U.S. should not limit care alternatives and that patients should only be referred to providers accredited by international accrediting bodies like the Joint Commission International. It's also advocating that prior to any medical travel, patients should be able to arrange and establish financing for local follow-up care when they come back to make sure continuity of care is maintained.

To learn more about the AMA's new policy:
- read this AMA statement (.pdf)

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