Medical tourism opportunities in South America


New Jersey based chiropractor Dr. Peter Ferraro, nationally recognized for his work in spinal decompression therapy, is exploring the possibility of bringing medical tourism resort centres to Panama, beginning with a five-star health care facility for people from around the world. 

Dr. Ferraro believes Panama is the perfect setting for people to incorporate a vacation with alternative, non-invasive treatments for a lengthy list of ailments, diseases and injuries. Advanced treatment in non-surgical spinal decompression therapy means the avoidance of going under the knife for many suffering from debilitating spinal injuries.  When the therapy is performed at a medical tourism resort, a patient’s family can be by their side while enjoying a vacation at the same time.  An added benefit of medical tourism resorts is the ability of the physicians to control the lifestyle of the patient being treated, enabling a healthy, speedy recovery. Dr. Ferraro explains, “A medical resort can create a path to recovery that encompasses the entire mind and body. As opposed to just prescribing a drug and sending a patient home, when they are at the resort their recovery may incorporate meditation, a special diet, detoxification programs and more.” The Panama-based medical resort would bring together physicians from around the world and offer alternative, non-invasive treatments for cancer, spinal injuries and anti-viral treatment. 

According to Mike Cobb of ECI Development 500,000 American retirees pick up their monthly social security cheques at an embassy or other location outside of the United States, and what stops up to 4.5 million others from following them is concerns about healthcare. Cobb says that the standard of healthcare in many South American countries has improved greatly and the cost is low too. Many countries have at least one or two top-notch hospitals with U.S.-trained English-speaking doctors and state-of-the-art equipment, often with new technology such as 3D scans, not used widely in the USA.

ECI Development is in discussion stages with some doctors on partnerships to add assisted living care and medical centres to real estate developments in Belize, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. In an assisted living pilot exercise for a woman with M.S., her costs in the United States were $10,000-$12,000 per month for round-the-clock care; her costs at Gran Pacifica in Nicaragua were 25% of that for a quality of her care better than she was receiving in the U.S.Cobb feels that businesses in medical tourism are missing an opportunity by ignoring assisted living, perhaps because it lacks the glamour of surgery or cosmetic treatment, as the old and the sick need help too.

Pegasus Star, the developers of Hacienda Matapalo, a gated community on Costa Rica’s South Pacific coast, will partner with New York based Patients Medical to establish a holistic wellness centre to help residents discover health and rediscover vitality. Dr. Rashmi Gulati of Patients Medical says, “Our physicians will bring their multidisciplinary perspective of health and healing. Educated in conventional medicine, our doctors discovered the power of holistic medicine and now balance the two approaches. David Matluck of Pegasus Star adds, “Unlike the traditional medical clinic that we have planned for our commercial centre, the new holistic wellness center will actually be part of our gated community.”

Deepak Chopra, founder of the Chopra Center for Wellbeing in Carlsbad, California, is looking at Costa Rica as a potential location for a future centre.



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