Extra medical travel to South Korea?

Medical travel services are being expanded in The Northern Mariana Islands, a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States, composed of 22 islands and islets in the western Pacific Ocean. Hospitals in South Korea may benefit.

The medical referral programme in the Northern Marianas is now back in the hands of the island’s only hospital, after being in the executive branch since 2013.

The islands Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation is expanding access to care and the CNMI medical referral programme is being adjusted by the hospital.

Patients can now either decide to be referred by their healthcare provider or go direct to the hospital for assessment. The hospital is processing 50 applications a week.

The hospital now looks to hospitals in South Korea with the return of direct flights from Saipan. Options also include virtually any hospital in the USA with which they’re able to make an agreement.

The hospital is waiting on action on House Bill 22-77, HS1 that would create the Medical Travel Assistance Programme, updating regulations that would give the hospital the ability to shift to a network system that would create a two-way street for patients to seek care with more providers and allow doctors to provide care on the island.

The long-term plan is for most services to be done in the hospital but that would need more money from the state.