Analysis of outbound Bermuda medical tourism

 

A new Bermuda Health Council report, 'Overseas Care: a synopsis of trends for the island of Bermuda' provides an analysis of how much money was spent, where and on what type of care.

To ensure that Bermuda’s residents have access to specialised health care, strategic partnerships have been formed with overseas facilities enabling residents to receive much needed care.

Bermuda’s residents spent $84.5 million on overseas care between April 2015 and 31 March 2016, with $6million on transport and accommodation.

Claims for overseas care and ancillary services were paid to over 5,000 different overseas providers for 7,526 individuals in 29 countries and 41 US states. Most people went to the USA but they also went to Canada, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, Virgin Islands, and UK.

Boston, Massachusetts was the most used location for Bermuda’s residents to receive overseas care, getting $ 40 million plus online patient services, travel, and lodging. The top Boston facilities used included Boston Children’s Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Eastern Regional Medical, Griffin Hospital, Johns Hopkins, Lahey Clinic Hospital, Massachusetts General, Mayo Clinic Hospital and New England Baptist Hospital.

On average, claims paid to overseas providers were $345 more than claims paid to local providers. The most common overseas provider types used (outside of hospital services) include paediatric care, spinal care, dermatology, radiology, pharmacy, pathology, psychology, ophthalmology and orthopaedic medicine.

Expenditure on overseas care has more than doubled since 2004, although there has been a decrease in expenditure since 2014.

32 people went overseas for treatment for complex, brain-related injuries. Bermuda cannot provide these services to patients because of the lack of volume and trained personnel. Providing these services would mean implementing expensive resources to perform procedures on a limited number of cases. The quality of care for complex brain related injuries could be compromised. Lack of volume also means that local health professionals would not receive enough experience handling these cases. Ancillary staff such as nurses and pharmacists may not be sufficiently familiar with these types of conditions to ensure they are doing their job well and patients are getting the best care necessary.

Tawanna Wedderburn, of BHC says; “This synopsis provides an opportunity for health professionals, especially specialist physicians, to take the lead in referring Bermuda’s residents to cost-effective facilities with good health outcomes."

BHC wants to encourage robust discussion and more critical thinking about the clinical needs of the 61,295 Bermuda residents. Overseas care is funded by all residents through tax dollars, insurance premiums, out of pocket payments, loans and charitable donations.

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