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Panama Seeks to Regulate Medical Tourism; Goal: Make Money

Article Summary:

With a draft law on paper, Panamanian authorities hope to regulate the activities of medical tourism; their goal is to harness this cash cow by offering individuals seeking highly specialized surgeries a “medial safe-haven.” Meanwhile, the Medical Tourism Association of Panama and the Ministry of Tourism knows there is money to be made.

Photo Credit: El Financiero

Original Article Text From El Financiero via Google Translate :

After Regulation Of Medical Tourism
While in Panama, one way or another is known as medical tourism, health tourism, there is no law regulating this activity in the country.

Deputy Hugo Moreno, president of the Health Commission of National Assembly, met with members of society and public institutions linked to the new concept of medical tourism, with a view to preparing a draft bill.

For Moreno, the initiative aims to recognize medical tourism in Panama, because today’s medicine is in crisis, as in the United States and other countries, and is required to pass a law regulating this activity to give the country an opportunity to earn income.

For his part, Ernesto Reina, president of the Panamanian Association of Travel and Tourism (APAVIT), said sector unions have more than one year of trying to develop a project to regulate it.

He acknowledged that while in Panama there is no law, medical tourism practices in areas like Punta Pacifica hospital. However, having considered positive for legislation because the travel agent or operator is a very sensitive tourism.”If someone comes to have an operation or something in Panama, your passengers can take advantage to know Panama, do tours or certain things. That is the idea of health tourism in various destinations, “said Reina.

$ 800 million

However, he added, is sensitive to the travel agent to let the operator to do so because it is required to clarify certain items in an emergency with the patient.

"I think it's healthy that there is some sort of law governing this type of tourism, because it depends on to protect the travel agent or tour operator that will manage the health tourism package," said travel agent."For now, we have not been consulted, but I have understood that you have created a small association or union to promote this type of tourism.

Over a year ago we heard something about it but there was no follow actually through APAVIT or those of the Panamanian Association of Tour Operators (APOTUR) are not involved in that, "he said.

He added that should be taken into account and could give their input, because they must have different opinions and that will be best for the country and healthier for the travel agent or tour operator that is handling the package and even the same hospital.

Medical tourism offers a unique and accessible treatment to patients by giving them the opportunity to relax in a holiday atmosphere as they recover or wait for their private surgeries.

According to Deputy Hugo Moreno, Panama has everything to be the hub of medical tourism in Latin America and has great potential that enables the development and growth in the economy, which in turn would regenerate more jobs and investment of an international character.

Erick de Icaza, president of the Medical Tourism Association of Panama, said that tourism will bring great benefits to the country because it is a highly specialized industry that involves private sector actors and audience must agree to promote itself internationally .

Link to Original Article:

From El Financiero

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