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Medical tourism gets healthy

Monday, May 19, 2014

Arizona-based American World Clinics will develop a Costa Rican facility, which serves foreign retirees and medical tourists.

Another new regional option, El Salvador Medical Holding, still needs work, but last week participated in a prominent national export-promotion fair.

For its part, American World Clinics will invest $150 million in a 1,200 square meter (12,000 square foot) facility, scheduled to open in 2016 in the western suburbs of San José.

Services include general surgery and various types of specialty care, along with cosmetic treatment.

The project, largely funded by New York-based National Standard Finance, includes a five-star, 100-room hotel operated by California-based K-Hotels, and a retirement community for 400 people.

A potential competitor needs work.

El Salvador Medical Holding, founded last November, does not yet have a bilingual website.

On the other hand, the company, which participated in last week’s Business Super Round Table, hosted by the country’s export promotion office, has alliances with Medbrick Health Care Management and Passport Medical, both from Canada, and United States-based Partners Insurance, according to local media.

El Salvador Medical Holding plans to offer services, ranging from cosmetic surgery to stem cell treatment.

Costa Rica is widely considered the region’s medical-tourism leader, with more than 150,000 visitors last year, including patients, friends and family members.

Guatemala and Panama are also active in medical tourism.