In an article in ITIJ, Alejandro Cambiaso, President and Founder of the Dominican Republic Health Tourism Association is quoted saying that medical tourism is becoming more important for private health service providers, most of whom are in the process of gaining international accreditation. In separate news, SZV in Sint Maarten has said it will no longer be sending patients to the Dominican Republic for general medical referrals.
The article covered the presentation made by Alejandro last month at the ITIC Santo Domingo Review 2019. He shared statistics and data showing the number of public and private facilities on the island, as well as the funding system that forms the backbone of healthcare provision. Medical tourism, said Alejandro, is becoming more important for private health service providers, most of whom are in the process of gaining international accreditation. An overview of some of the top hospitals on the island serving international patients highlighted the different specialities available, which include cardiovascular care and oncology; however, dental treatments, general and plastic surgery are currently the most popular treatments for medical tourists.
The article stated that, during the discussion following Alejandro’s presentation, the fact that medical tourism has pushed forward the development of medical services in general on the island was emphasised. As the public healthcare system lacks the resources to cater to tourists, private providers catering to international patients are considered the best place for tourists to go. There is an upcoming move towards the development of urgent care centres on the island, which will help to treat tourists needing emergency care.
In a separate article in The Daily Herald, social and health insurance company SZV will no longer be sending patients to the Dominican Republic for general medical referrals as of April 2. Referrals to the Dominican Republic will only continue for specific specialties, emergency and trauma cases to the contracted hospitals in the Dominican Republic. The decision is said to be a cost-saving measure and SZV estimates a reduction of 80-85% in referrals to the Dominican Republic. About 1,000 patients are referred to the Dominican Republic per year, at least once.