Miami Health & Wellness Destination Guide
Table of Contents
Below are the chapters of the destination guide. Click on any of the buttons below scroll to the actual chapter.
Destination by the Numbers
83/69 f (28/21 c)
Days of Sunshine
1,946 miles (5,040 km)
Gmt - 5 hours eastern standard time
Country dialing code (u.s.): +1
Telephone area codes: 305 / 786
Hospital Beds in Miami-Dade County
9,839 (includes acute and long term)
Average Number of Convention Delegates Per Year:
Number of national parks
Two - everglades national park and biscayne national park
Miami international airport: more than 38.3 million annual arrivals at the new mia
Port Miami passengers: more than 4 million cruise passengers annually, making miami the cruise capital of the world.
110 volts ac, 50 hz - flat two-pin plugs or third round pin are used
Call 911 for all emergencies, police, fire and medical
About the Author
President of the Medical Tourism Association®
Renée-Marie Stephano is the President and Co-Founder of the Medical Tourism Association® and Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Tourism Magazine and the Health and Wellness Destination Guide Series of Books. Ms. Stephano has authored several books from Developing International Patient centers, Best Practices in Facilitation, to Medical Tourism for Insurers and Employers, and the most recent, Engaging Wellness.
Ms. Stephano is an attorney and specializes in working with governments and hospitals to develop sustainable medical tourism/international patient programs and strategies. She has worked with governments and hospitals all over the globe in developing healthcare clusters, international patient departments and long term international patient strategic plans. Ms. Stephano works with Ministers of Health, Tourism & Economic Development in developing public private partnerships to support medical tourism and at the same time to provide a benefit and return to the local community. She organizes one of the only Ministerial Summits that brings together every year; Ministers of Health, Tourism and Economic Development.
She has helped assess the feasibility and opportunities of international programs for both U.S. and international hospitals, cities and countries with international expansion, clinical development and affiliations and partnerships. She also consults governments in the development of sustainable Medical Tourism Zones & Free Healthcare Zones.
Ms. Stephano is a keynote speaker at international conferences and has been mentioned in several media publications around the world. Ms. Stephano serves on the Board of Directors for the International Healthcare Research Center, a 501c3, non-profit medical tourism research center, the Corporate Health & wellness Association, and two Washington DC Based lobbying groups focused on lobbying the U.S. Congress for the benefits of Medicare reimbursement overseas and the support of U.S. hospitals in their overseas initiatives.
You may reach Renée-Marie at:
From the Author
Call it poetic justice. For the past five years I have crisscrossed the globe visiting with government leaders and healthcare providers of countless nations in the name of medical tourism. From Singapore to Brazil, I’ve site-toured more hospitals than you can shake a stick at (and probably one too many radiology departments if the greenish glow of my skin is any indication). I’ve seen everything a medical destination has to offer and then some. Keynote speaker, globe trotter, road warrior, princess of the skies; I am all of these. Yet few medical tourism destinations have impressed me like the one in my backyard.
from the author Miami is often called the “Gateway of the Americas” because of its proximity to South America, Central America and the Caribbean. In fact, travelers from many of these destinations can reach Miami in less than three hours. Best known for its tropical weather, sun-swept beaches, Art Deco vibe and lively nightlife, Miami is rapidly gaining a well-deserved reputation as a premier healthcare destination
A large concentration of top-rated hospitals and specialty centers cater daily to patients from all over the world. Greater Miami is a world leader for many medical and surgical specialties including organ transplants, eye disease, cancer, spinal cord injury, reconstructive plastic surgery and Level 1 trauma and burn care. In Miami, patients have access to the largest Neurosurgery ICU, the largest Neonatal ICU and the largest pediatric intestinal transplant facility in the United States.
Whether you are from out of state or from abroad, you can expect personalized attention and services customized to your specific needs. These include assistance with passports and visas, travel, accommodations, emergency air ambulance services, coordination of medical, hospital and diagnostic appointments, and language assistance from multilingual healthcare employees.
In recent years, an increasing number of U.S. employers have begun to implement what is referred to as domestic medical tourism in order to improve quality of care and reduce employee healthcare costs. The premise (which has been proved at other centers of excellence around the country) is that top-tired specialty centers can provide better outcomes at lower cost, in part due to improved operational procedures and processes gained from superior expertise. I believe Miami can become a prime provider to this sector as it continues to promote its state-of-the-art healthcare infrastructure and medical expertise to a growing market of medical travelers.
But Miami isn’t all about medical procedures and hospitals. Lest you fear your companion will acquire carpel tunnel syndrome from 24/7 thumbing on the TV remote, think again. There are golden eaches, water sports, the Everglades, shopping, museums, relaxing spas, exquisite dining and exciting nightlife. The danger is you may never see your companion! Whether your ultimate goal is to improve your health or simply enjoy the many attractions Greater Miami has to offer, it is my hope that this guide will serve as a roadmap for your journey.
Renée Marie Stephano
About the Medical tourism Association® Destination guides
For decades, travelers have trusted destination guides for information such as culture, language, gastronomy, tourism activities, currency and a highlight of things to do in the destination they visit. Currently, as a result of the high cost of healthcare, limited access to high technology and specialized surgical technique among other factors, patients are finding themselves looking for alternative options for treatment, many times, outside of their local community, state and even country.
As nearly 100 countries around the world embrace the medical tourism industry, the Medical Tourism Association® has launched its Destination Guides program as a commitment to education, with a focus on consumer awareness. The Medical Tourism Association® Destination Guides provide an exclusive focus on a destination, country or city with detailed information about the quality of healthcare in the destination and the healthcare infrastructure found in that region, including wellness and preventative healthcare options as well. The key function of the Destination Guides is to empower medical travelers with knowledge on the industry and provide a step by step set of guidelines to take into consideration when traveling for healthcare and/or wellness.
The Destination Guides are structured to educate consumers and take them through their medical tourism decision making process; from the moment they begin to research a destination, they will know what to look for. The key function of the Destination Guides is to empower medical travelers with knowledge on the industry and provide a step by step, set of guidelines to take into consideration when traveling for healthcare and/ or wellness.
Additional features of the Destination Guide include instant free access for prospective medical tourism patients. Patients can download our destination guides from MedicalTourism.com (one of the highest rated websites for medical tourism on the internet), MedicalTourismMagazine.com, and/ or MedicalTourismAssociation.com. The print edition of the guides may be available through Amazon.com™, iTunes, and/or other merchants for worldwide distribution. The guide is also available for download on to your Nook or Kindle eReader.
A recent Medical Tourism Association® survey found that almost 73 percent of medical tourists researched their information on medical tourism online. The guide will include information on hospitals, clinics, medical spas, wellness centers, hotels and tour operators for patients. The Medical Tourism Association® Destination Guides also feature tourism information for patients with full color photos to go along with the tourism information to help establish expectations and includes helpful tips for patients and their companions during their medical stay.
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau (GMCVB) is a sales and marketing organization. Its mission is to attract, encourage and induce all persons and organizations to visit Greater Miami and its Beaches for conventions, business and pleasure. Acting on behalf of its members, its interlocal partners and the citizens of Miami-Dade County, the GMCVB markets and promotes all segments of the community as a preferred destination. In furtherance of this mission, the GMCVB will support and encourage actions and programs that enhance the desirability and attractiveness of Greater Miami and its Beaches for its visitors.
The GMCVB was established in 1986 as the official sales and marketing organization for Miami-Dade County and all of its communities. With the support of the industry and its volunteer leadership, the GMCVB has spearheaded tourism efforts that have yielded record results and sustained the hospitality industry as the number one employer in our community.
Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
701 Brickell Ave., Suite 2700
Miami, FL 33131 USA
Toll Free: 800-933-8448
Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce is the leader in business development and the voice of business in South Florida, representing more than 400,000 employees of member companies. Since its inception in 1907 as the Miami Board of Trade, the Greater Miami Chamber has been advancing issues and building a better community; being widely recognized and well regarded for its legacy of leadership in economic development and community improvement.
The Greater Miami Chamber is a proactive chamber, regularly engaging in issues important to its member companies and individuals. To carry out its mission, the Greater Miami Chamber involves the private sector in community leadership and produces an annual program of work organized in six areas: community growth, governmental affairs, industry growth, international business, leadership programs and marketing & member services. Supporting the Chamber’s work is its not-for-profit arm, the South Florida Progress Foundation. For more than four decades, the foundation has invested in programs to improve the quality of life in our community.
The Greater Miami Chamber provides unique opportunities for its members through committee involvement, educational seminars, member-to-member programs, new market development trips, advertising and sponsorships, networking receptions and special events -- in all more than 200 events each year. The Greater Miami Chamber offers countless opportunities and access for its members and partnership in building a stronger South Florida.
Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce
1601 Biscayne Boulevard, Ballroom Level
Miami, FL 33132
What you Need to Know About Medical Tourism
What is Medical Tourism
Medical tourism (also known as medical travel or global healthcare) is the process in which a patient travels to another destination for medical or health and wellness services. Oftentimes these services can take the form of a dental treatment, knee surgery, health check-up or even a trip to a wellness spa. The term medical tourism may sound strange and exotic to some people; but in fact it is a rapidly growing phenomenon spurred on by an increasingly empowered patient base searching for quality, affordability, availability, and accessibility in healthcare.
What is Medical TourismSome people have the erroneous impression that patients are flying for open heart surgery to a dilapidated jungle clinic in some third world country - followed by bungee jumping. The opposite is true. Most patients are receiving care in high-end hospitals or clinics located in major urban centers, and will plan their trip to allow enough time for a prudent recuperation period before heading home.
The term medical tourism is often used in the context of patients traveling abroad for medical care to countries such as Mexico, Costa Rica, India, Thailand and Singapore - and this is certainly true. However, not all medical tourism is offshore based.
Domestic Medical Tourism
Domestic medical tourism – whereby individuals or employees travel across the country for medical care – has been growing steadily over the past few years. Although driven in part by individuals seeking low cost surgeries, the trend toward domestic medical tourism is being led by employers and insurers whose primary focus is quality.
Typically, an employer will contract directly with high quality centers of excellence. These are hospitals that specialize in certain procedures and can therefore offer better outcomes at a lower price than can be found locally. By steering workers to facilities with high-quality care and lower prices, employers can reduce their costs 20% to 40% — more than enough to cover the travel expenses. To encourage workers to use the program, employers often waive deductibles and cover their travel and hotel costs.
Employers with domestic travel programs save money in part by negotiating a single rate, which includes fees for surgeons, anesthesiologists and all medical care up until the patient is discharged. But there are other benefits. Referring employees to a center of excellence has also been shown to reduce medical complications, surgical reinterventions and recovery times, allowing employees to return to work quicker. Hospitals benefit by getting paid up front and increasing patient volume.
Although domestic medical tourism is still only a small slice of the medical tourism pie, its recent implementation by several high profile companies can only help its growth in the coming years.
Why is Medical Tourism Growing
Why are more and more people around the world bypassing their local medical providers and, instead, choosing to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles for medical care? Is it a subliminal yearning for some type of masochistic medical adventure or the lure of super economical airfare? In reality there are a number of factors that are contributing directly or indirectly to medical tourism’s explosive growth, these include:
- A trend towards globalization of services including healthcare
- A growing population of baby boomers in need of care for degenerative conditions such as a failing heart and joints
- Healthcare costs continually rising, which motivates people to look for innovative solutions
- Millions of uninsured or underinsured people are being forced to look outside traditional healthcare options
- People have better access to information than they did fifteen or twenty years ago, particularly through the Internet
- Hospitals, clinics, doctors, and medical tourism facilitators are increasingly and enticingly advertising their services
- State-of-the-art procedures are not available in many locations
- Patients cannot access procedures due to long wait times and religious or cultural reasons
- People searching for non FDA approved procedures
- People searching for higher quality medical care wherever it may be
Whether the prime motivator is affordability, accessibility, availability or better quality, medical tourism’s popularity is being fueled by a rapidly growing market of potential customers who, in many cases, are being forced to look outside traditional healthcare models for solutions to their healthcare needs. In sum, it is a movement of patients in search of value.
When Did Medical Tourism Begin
You might be surprised to know that medical tourism is not a new phenomenon. In fact, archaeological evidence from the third millennium B.C. suggests that ancient Mesopotamians traveled to the temple of a healing god or goddess at Tell Brak, Syria, in search of a cure for eye disorders. A few thousand years later the Greeks and Romans would travel by foot or ship to spas and cult centers all around the Mediterranean. The Asclepia Temples, dedicated in honor of the Greek god of medicine, were some of the world’s first health centers. Pilgrims would sometimes spend several nights in the temple, hoping Asclepios would appear in a dream and suggest a diagnosis or treatment.
Later in the 16th and 17th centuries, spa towns such as St. Moritz and Bath became prime destinations for the European upper classes looking to soothe their ills. More recently, the wealthier citizens of underdeveloped nations have begun traveling to renowned medical institutions in the United States or Europe, usually for invasive medical procedures such as open heart surgery or cancer treatments that require a high degree of specialization and experience.
Over the last fifteen years, however, the trend has reversed itself as increasing numbers of patients have begun traveling from developed nations such as the United States and Canada to so-called “underdeveloped” nations in search of affordable medical care or treatment options not available at home. Most media attention has focused on patients traveling for what are referred to as “elective” procedures such as plastic surgery or dental. However, a growing number of patients are traveling for more acute care procedures such as open heart surgery, spinal procedures or hip and knee replacements.
In 2009, The Deloitte Center for Health Care Solutions, a U.S. based consulting company, predicted a 35 percent increase in medical travel over the next several years, including an expected 1.6 million Americans traveling for medical care in 2012. The same report predicts growth of up to 561,000 inbound medical travelers to the United States by 2017.
"Archaeological evidence from the third millennium B.C. suggests that ancient Mesopotamians traveled to the temple of a healing god or goddess at Tell Brak, Syria, in search of a cure for eye disorders."
Who Travels for Medical Care
When you think of a medical tourist you might be tempted to picture a khaki-clad adventurer - a la Indiana Jones or Lara Croft - macheteing a path through the jungle in search of a long lost elixir. Romanticism aside, medical tourists are just like you and I; they have simply made an educated (and usually thoroughly researched decision) to travel to greener healthcare pastures.
Patients from all walks of life and from many regions in the U.S. and abroad are currently traveling for medical care. In the United States, medical tourism patients can be grouped into three broad categories:
- Self-Pay Patients
- Uninsured or Underinsured
- Corporate Insured Market
Self-Pay Patients are those patients who are paying out-of-pocket for their medical procedure or treatment. Currently much of the outbound medical tourism (from the U.S. abroad) is made up of self-pay patients. The majority of these patients are uninsured or underinsured, or seeking elective procedure options usually not covered by insurance.
Underinsured patients are those who have health insurance coverage, however, their policies may high deductibles or high co-insurance. The Corporate Insured Market on the other hand, is made up of individuals who have access to healthcare options through their employer. In some instances, for example, an employer might send high level employees to a Miami area hospital for executive physical exams. In other instances, a company that self-funds its employees’ medical plan will outsource healthcare services to hospitals out of state or even out of country, for the same reasons. The motivation for the employer in both examples is to lower healthcare costs and provide better value.
Patients traveling for medical care may not be searching for a magical elixir; however, they are looking to improve or maintain their quality of life through procedures such as executive health check-ups, fertility treatments, weight loss surgery, cosmetic surgery, cardiac surgery, orthopedic surgery and dental treatments.
What Kind of Savings are We Talking About
One of the prime drivers behind medical tourism is the savings. Medical procedure costs in the United States can vary significantly depending on your location and which hospital or clinic you choose – sometimes as much as forty percent! The hospitals, clinics and doctors featured in the Miami Health and Wellness Guide are some of the best in the nation, yet they also offer competitive prices in a wide range of medical procedures and treatments.
Is Medical Tourism Safe
You may have heard stories on the six o’clock news of offshore surgeries gone bad or patients returning to the U.S. with medical complications that their local doctors refused treat. While some of these stories may be true, it is important to point out that thousands of patients are traveling safely within and outside the U.S. for medical care and the vast majority are having very positive experiences and excellent procedure outcomes.
Can something go wrong? Yes. Even if every precaution is taken, medical complications can occur in New York as well as in New Deli. You lower your risks – regardless of your location – by gathering sound information and following your doctor’s recommendations. If you take time to research your options and communicate with providers and physicians, you are much more likely to enjoy a positive outcome as well as a pleasant medical tourism experience.
Consider the following questions when doing your research:
Does the Hospital Specialize in the Procedure or does it Boast a Center of Excellence?
There is no substitute for experience. This translates into lower mortality rates and complications, which means a greater chance for your procedure to be a success! It’s also no secret that top hospitals attract top physicians – another compelling reason to choose a great hospital.
Consider Medical's Providers Accreditations and Affiliations.
In the past, the Joint Commission and, to a lesser degree, the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP), were the primary accreditation programs authorized by the Department of Health & Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to survey hospitals on CMS Conditions of Participation. Then, in October 2008, the CMS granted deeming authority to Det Norske Veritas Healthcare, Inc. (DNV), also known as the National Integrated Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations (NIAHO), making it the third CMS-approved accrediting program in the United States.
Although accreditation does not guarantee a perfect medical experience, it does signal that a particular hospital or clinic has invested significant time and resources in perfecting quality of care processes and patient safety protocols that over time will promote successful surgical outcomes. For patients it is an assurance that high standards of safety and quality of care are in place, and that the medical provider cares about delivering quality services to its customers.
It is also wise to look for hospitals that are affiliated to recognized national or international healthcare organizations. Although, again, this is no guarantee that something can’t go wrong, it does show that a particular hospital has met high quality standards in order to be associated to an outside credible source.
Is the Surgeon Properly Licensed?
Although the likelihood of your doctor being a quack is slim if you are dealing with a well-known medical institution, it is still prudent to verify your doctor’s credentials before traveling anywhere for surgery – especially if you are considering a smaller clinic or overseas hospital. Not only do you want to be certain that a particular doctor is really a doctor, but you also want to make sure he or she has the necessary background, skills and experience to successfully treat your condition. The American Board of Medical Specialties (https://www.certificationmatters.org/is-your-doctorboard- certified/search-now.aspx) is a good resource to check board certification status for U.S. physicians.
Is this Destination Safe?
Regardless of the quality of care available, there are certain destinations that are inherently less safe than others due to political turmoil, crime, terrorism or deficient sanitary conditions. Always educate yourself about the destinations you will be traveling to, and exercise precaution when venturing into areas that seem unsafe, particularly at night. If you are traveling abroad, check with the U.S. State Department and Center for Disease Control for current conditions at your chosen destination.
Are you Allowing Enough Time for Your Recuperation Before Traveling Home?
Regardless of the procedure or treatment you have undergone, it is always advisable that you wait a few days before traveling. Doing so will minimize your risk of medical complications and improve the healing process. This will also give your doctor time to spot any potential problems before you head home.
It is not uncommon for patients to feel fine a few days after a procedure, but don’t think this means you are well enough to hop on a plane. Travel puts a lot of stress on your body; early morning wake-up calls, crowded airport shuttles, long waiting times at the airport, and then the long flight home cramped up in a narrow cylinder packed with people. You can minimize the discomfort flying in business class or choosing bulkhead seats, but regardless of this, your body pays every time you travel.
Getting sufficient rest is particularly important if you are flying long distances where there is a risk of developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism.
DVT may be defined as a blood clot that forms in a vein deep in the body. If the blood clot breaks off and travels through the blood stream to the lungs, a pulmonary embolism may occur which is potentially fatal. Although rare, there are effective measures that traveling patients can use to reduce the risk of DVT. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:
Getting up and walking around every 2 to 3 hours
Exercise your legs while you’re sitting
Drink plenty of water, and avoid drinking anything with alcohol or caffeine in it
Your doctor may also prescribe anti-clotting medication and/or compression stockings to reduce the risk of DVT.
Waiting a few days before traveling also allows you to enjoy the local culture and attractions. Perhaps not jet skiing or scuba diving, but you can visit the theater, try the local cuisine, or engage in a few “soft” tours that will enhance your overall medical tourism experience.
Finally, make sure to talk to your doctor before traveling for any medical treatment in order to understand the potential risks of combining surgery with travel.
Looking at a Typical Medical Travel Process
Congratulations! You’ve passed medical tourism 101. But what, you may ask, is a typical medical travel experience to Miami like? Well, let’s take a look.
- Sally Jones is interested in a hip replacement for her husband Tom. She searches the internet and finds a hospital in Miami, Florida that specializes in this procedure.
- Sally fills out an inquiry form on the hospital website requesting information about the procedure.
- Rick, from the hospital’s international office, responds to Sally with a price range for the procedure and information about the hospital and the recommended orthopedic surgeon. Rick will also request x-rays of Tom’s hip and ask that he fill out a comprehensive medical history questionnaire.
- Dr. Callahan, the orthopedic surgeon, reviews the information and determines that Tom is an ideal candidate for the hip replacement procedure. Rick coordinates a conference call between Dr. Callahan and the Jones so that both parties can ask questions and get to know each other.
- Rick sends Sally and Tom a more precise price quote and the surgery is scheduled for next month. Flights are arranged by the patient while Rick coordinates their lodging at a nice hotel located ten minutes from the hospital. Rick then sends the patient a detailed itinerary, recommended packing list and pre-operative instructions.
- Tom and Sally arrive in Miami and are met outside the airport by a smiling hospital representative named Jose. They are then taken to their 5-star hotel to relax.
- The next day Jose picks up the couple and takes them to the hospital. There they are warmly greeted by Rick who takes them to a wellappointed lounge to begin the pre-admission process. Tom is then taken to his private room to relax while nurses take care of his blood work and coordinate an x-ray of his hip. In the afternoon he is visited by an internist and then his surgeon, Dr. Callahan.
- Early the next morning Tom is taken to the pre-surgery area to get prepped for the procedure. Less than an hour later he is unconscious and under the expert care of Dr. Callahan who deftly makes incisions, measurements and inserts the titanium hip prosthesis. After recuperating in an adjoining area, Tom is taken back to his private room to rejoin Sally and to begin the rehabilitation process.
- After four days of recovery and intense rehabilitation in the hospital, Tom is discharged to a hotel to recuperate for the remainder of his stay.
- Seven to 10 days (and many rehabilitation sessions) later, Tom returns to the hospital (walking with crutches) for a final evaluation with Dr. Callahan to confirm that his hip is healing correctly, and that he is fit to travel home.
* Please note that details can vary depending on the medical provider you use or whether your care is being arranged by your employer or a medical travel facilitator.
The Importance of Prevention
Most of us avoid doctor visits like the plague. If we do schedule a visit it’s at death’s door or when we wake up feeling like we were just hit by an 18-wheeler. Anything less (pick-up truck or SUV) usually merits little more than an aspirin before we drag ourselves off to work. It probably has something to do with our genetic make-up, but very few of us are willing to go to the hospital and submit our bodies to a battery of exams if we are feeling fine and dandy. We prefer to remain blissfully ignorant of what could be going on inside our bodies even if this lack of knowledge has the potential to lead us to an early grave.
Fortunately, in the last decade, preventive medicine initiatives such as corporate wellness programs have gained ground as businesses have learned that it is much less costly to keep people healthy, than it is to treat the debilitating consequences of diseases later on.
High-tech equipment such as MRI’s and CT scanners have become commonplace, allowing doctors to literally look inside our bodies and detect potentially harmful threats before they become untreatable. Gastroenterologists use probes with cameras to travel deep inside our rectum in search of unwelcome visitors such as polyps or tumors. In the lab, blood and urine tests are used to diagnose disorders such as anemia, high blood sugar and high cholesterol, as well as diseases such as cancer, diabetes and early Parkinson’s disease.
It is hardly surprising then that a growing number of companies are now using corporate wellness programs to lower their healthcare costs while at the same time nipping incipient enemies such as stress, heart disease, and cancer right in the bud.
“ A yearly visit to the doctor is a great way to keep our health on track and to prevent future complications.”
Corporate wellness can be defined as an employer led initiative to promote the health and wellbeing of its employees. The goal is to lower employee healthcare costs through programs that help prevent accidents and the development and/or progression of diseases.
If you arrived at the office this morning to find your boss on the carpet in a lotus position and the vending machine dispensing Kashi bars instead of Cheetos then you may be the latest “victim” of a corporate wellness takeover. No need to fear, however, as it can actually be good for you (or your employees if you are the boss).
Altruistic motives aside, the cold truth is that your employer is betting that a healthier you will be a more productive you and save them money; specifically by reducing your days of sick leave and the money they pay out for medical and disability costs. Corporate wellness stems from a philosophy of prevention – it is cheaper to keep employees healthy than to make them healthy again. The importance of this for any business (regardless of whether you are an employer or employee) cannot be understated. But is there really any hard data to prove that wellness programs help a business’ bottom line?
First, it is important to understand that not all corporate wellness programs are created equal. A good corporate wellness program must promote change at the individual level as well as at the operational and corporate level. Participants must be engaged through education, effective communication and follow-up on topics such as nutrition, stress management, and fitness and exercise.
This requires an organizational culture of wellness with programs tailormade to each employee’s particular needs and circumstances. If not, don’t be surprised to see some of your co-workers head out the service entrance, scramble over the 12 foot razor-tipped containment fence, and sprint across the four-lane highway to the nearest convenience store for their Cheetos.
ultiple studies have shown a relationship between employee health and business productivity. One six year study by Goetzel RZ, Anderson DR, Whitmer W, Ozminkowski RJ, Dunn RL found that risk factors such as obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol consumption, diet and stress were responsible for 25 percent of a organization’s employee healthcare costs.1 Through the implementation of effective wellness programs, Dow
1 Goetzel RZ, Anderson DR, Whitmer W, Ozminkowski RJ, Dunn RL, et al. 1998. The relationship between modifi able health risks and health care expend itures: an analysis of the multi-employer HERO health risk and cost database. J. Occup. Environ. Med. 4:843–57
Chemical Company reported savings of more than $3 million USD (approx. €2.3 million Euros) in 2008, in the United States alone.21 Is it any wonder then that businesses are wising up to the fact that they must take their employee’s wellbeing seriously if they expect to remain competitive well into the 21st century? Testament to this awakening is the increasing acceptance of wellness programs by CEO’s and business leaders looking to maximize employee efficiency and lower business costs. A 2010 global survey by Towers Watson concludes that “Wellness will be a major focus for employers and insurers in the future as a vital tool to mitigate medical trend increases.” 32
So if your next business meeting starts with pretzel-like yoga stretches, oriental wind chimes and a steaming cup of green tea, don’t fret; you are contributing to your company’s bottom line and becoming healthier to boot (at least until your chiropractor unravels you)!
2 The Health and Productivity Advantage 2009/2010 Staying@Work Report originally published by
Watson Wyatt Worldwide
3 Towers and Watson 2011 Global Medical Trends Survey Report
A good corporate wellness program must promote change at the individual level as well as at the operational and corporate level. Participants must be engaged through education, effective communication and followup on topics such as nutrition, stress management, and fitness and exercise.
Medical Tourism Facilitator
If you have spent any time researching medical tourism then you have probably stumbled upon fancy websites that claim to arrange all the details of your medical trip. Typically, they will have a list of hospitals and doctors in several destinations along with information about the various medical procedures they promote. These companies are usually referred to as “medical tourism facilitators” or “healthcare facilitators,” and they function as intermediaries or liaisons between patients and medical care providers.
Medical tourism facilitators can be found all over the Internet; however, it is advisable that patients work with companies that are certified by organizations such as the Medical Tourism Association® or rated by the Better Business Bureau.
What Services Do Medical tourism Facilitators Provide?
The services they provide are designed to facilitate a smooth medical tourism process for both patients and medical providers and usually include:
- Providing price quotes
- Arranging the transfer of medical records
- Coordinating video conference calls between patient and surgeon
- Collecting payment (not all facilitators do this)
- Arranging travel logistic services such as passports, flights, lodging and transportation
- Providing a main point of contact while the patient is at the hospital
- Following up with patients after they return home
- One Stop Shopping
The convenience of being able to choose and access information about a variety of destinations, hospitals, procedures, and services at one location, instead of having to contact each hospital piecemeal. Patients can visit a medical tourism facilitator’s website and request a price estimate for a particular procedure from several different hospitals or clinics, and then choose which provider better serves their needs and budget. In addition, once they have made a decision on where to travel, the medical tourism facilitator can usually take care of all their travel logistics such as flights, lodging, and transportation.
- Established relationships with International Hospitals
Medical tourism facilitators (at least in theory) have already done the groundwork to make sure a patient’s chosen hospital and doctor are duly accredited and licensed. Although not always the case, many have visited the hospitals and physicians they are promoting and already have a system in place to make the medical tourism process safe and smooth.
- Language and Cultural Barriers are Minimized
If you are traveling from overseas, contacting some hospitals can be challenging due to time zone differences, language barriers, and cultural differences. As shown above, medical tourism facilitators already have the right contacts and a tried and true process in place with their network of hospitals. Additionally, patients can often choose facilitators located in their own country, assuring them that they will be dealing with people who speak their own language and have a better understanding of the obstacles they face in order to get from point A to point B.
- Convenient transfer of Medical Information
As relationships and systems are already in place, most medical tourism facilitators have the ability to quickly transfer a patient’s medical information including large image files such as CT’s and MRI’s.
- Quality of Service May Vary Significantly from one Medical tourism Facilitator to Another
Medical tourism facilitators are popping up all over the Internet these days with flashy websites promising they offer the best of everything. And even though people may know that a beautiful website does not guarantee quality service, the Internet has promoted a level playing field for a wide range of facilitator options that may not always be in the patient’s best interest. Some facilitators simply do not have the skill, experience, resources or relationships to provide a quality medical tourism experience. Unfortunately, this is not always easily discernable to a patient looking at a website or speaking to someone on the phone.
- There May Be a Bias towards Certain Hospitals or Destinations
Obviously medical tourism facilitators do not have the time or resources to visit every destination or work with thirty different international hospitals. They must choose wisely from a limited number – always described as “the best”. Naturally, patients will be directed to these hospitals and not others – even if they aren’t necessarily the best hospitals for their particular needs.
- Using an Intermediary Increases the Possibility of Miscommunication or errors
Though perhaps not a big concern in most people’s minds, using an intermediary will always increase the risk of an error or misinformation occurring between the patient and the hospital. Something as seemingly innocuous as mistaking kilos for pounds in a medical tourism patient’s weight information, could lead to the surgery being postponed or even cancelled.
- The Potential for Paying a Higher Price
Medical tourism facilitators offer a lot of convenience but do need to make their money somewhere. This will usually come from a hospital commission, service charge (concierge fee), or both. One way or another, these fees do have a way of trickling down to the patient no matter what the medical tourism facilitator or hospital may say.
In the final analysis each patient will have to weigh the pros and cons of working with a facilitator. If you have an independent streak and are an experienced traveler, then you may do well coordinating your care on your own. If, on the contrary, you need some hand-holding or are rushed for time, then you will probably want the help of a facilitator.
VISA To Travel To The United States
Temporary visitors to the U.S. must comply with U.S. visa immigration law and specific procedures to apply for a visa. Advance travel planning and early visa application are important. If you plan to apply for a nonimmigrant visa to come to the United States as a temporary visitor,
please visit http:// travel.state.gov/visa/temp/wait/wait_4638.html for important information about obtaining your visa.
Located just north of the Tropic of Cancer, Greater Miami is blessed by sunny weather throughout the year, and a pleasant tropical climate that draws visitors from around the world. Summers tend to be hot and humid while winters are mild. But the heat is often tempered by sea breezes or refreshing afternoon rain showers. From December to March expect highs in the mid to upper 70’s °F and lows in the low 60’s °F. The temperate weather during this period is often an ideal time to schedule a medical trip. As the middle of the year approaches the temperature and humidity will rise significantly, making for some hot and humid summers. Average temperatures from June to September are in the upper 80’s °F to low 90’s °F (High) and in the mid 70’s °F (low).
Medical tourists traveling to South Florida should take the following precautions (especially during the summer months):
Avoid Midday Heat
If you are traveling during the summer months then it is important to avoid the midday heat. The sun is the hottest between noon and 3:00 p.m. This is a good time to have a snack, nap, or go shopping at an indoor mall.
Drink Plenty of Water
Unless contraindicated by your doctor, while in South Florida, drink more water than you are used to at home – even if you don’t feel thirsty. Dehydration is a serious concern for anyone, but it is especially dangerous for someone who has had a recent surgery as it will hinder the healing process.
Forget about heavy coats and gloves, South Florida’s tropical climate is ideally suited for shorts, khakis and other light-weight loose fitting clothing. A light sweater or raincoat is also recommended especially if you are visiting during the rainy season or winter.
Carry an Umbrella
Rain showers are often unpredictable so it is a good idea to always carry an umbrella around, especially during the rainy season which runs from June through September.
Protect yourself from Florida’s sunny skies by using sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat. Although moderate sun exposure can be healthy, too much sun can also be dangerous. Patients who have undergone plastic surgery must be especially careful to keep out of the sun as it can hinder healing and promote unattractive scarring. To protect yourself from the sun’s rays:
Avoid exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Use a sunscreen with a SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or greater (higher if you are fair skinned)
Use a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation.
Use sunglasses that offer UVA protection
Wear a hat
Watch out for Lightning Strikes
Florida is the number one U.S. state for lightning strikes. On average there are ten people killed each year by lightening and many more injured. Although the chance of getting hit by lightning is extremely low, it is important to be aware of potentially dangerous situations and know what to do if thunderstorms are present. To protect yourself from a lightning strike, pay attention to the following recommendations from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):
Avoid open areas
Seek an enclosed shelter as soon as you see the signs of a thunderstorm approaching or when you hear a thunderclap.
Stay away from isolated tall trees, towers or utility poles
If you are inside, make sure to stay away from electrical equipment and wiring and avoid using a corded phone.
Dining/Restaurants and Chefs
Greater Miami is the birthplace of New World Cuisine, and without a doubt, dining out here is like entering a new world of tastes, sights, aromas, seasonings and sensations. It’s a place where everyone brings something to the table, as the flavors of countless cultures are showcased on dining tables everywhere, from Aventura down to Homestead. But no matter when you visit, more than 6,000 dining spots will be waiting.
Food For Thoughts
Just over 20 years ago, a handful of area chefs combined local produce with influences from the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe and Asia to create the region’s signature New World Cuisine, putting Miami in the nation’s culinary spotlight while introducing ingredients like mangoes, guava, yucca and hearts of palm to kitchens around the world. Today, Miami has already surpassed its image as the capital of New World Cuisine, and is home to a constantly evolving landscape of renowned eateries whose chefs continue to push the frontiers of culinary excellence.
A Tour of Tastes
In addition to such fascinating culinary mergers, other eateries narrow their food focus to a specific concentration. In Greater Miami, where the influences of Latin America are particularly strong, an entire universe of restaurants represents nearly every country and culinary heritage in the hemisphere, from Cuban and Dominican to Colombian and Peruvian.
As chefs in Greater Miami take their cue from what’s growing locally, diners are treated to a veritable buffet of tastes from around the world, including fusions that boggle the imagination. Greater Miami isn’t just one of the most exciting destinations in the United States; it is known around the world as a culinary crossroads where different cultures, cooking styles and spices all converge on local menus. From sweet plátanos maduros (fried plantains) to juicy Argentinean churrasco steaks, a perfectly seasoned Béchamel sauce or the drizzle of mango and key lime over lobster, culinary masterpieces abound in the Magic City. Meanwhile, the cuisines of Italy, France, Spain, the Mediterranean, India and even the good-ole USA are well represented in the Magic City, along with mouthwatering dishes from Mexico, Jamaica, Haiti, Puerto Rico, the Middle East and the Midwest. For a complete list of dining options in Greater Miami and the beaches, visit www.MiamiandBeaches.com. If you’re visiting during August or September, don’t miss a chance to sample some of our area’s most spectacular cuisine during the Miami Spice restaurant Program, when Greater Miami and the Beaches’ top restaurants offer mouthwatering meals at incredible savings. For more information, visit www.iLoveMiamiSpice.com. *Patients undergoing medical procedures or treatments should consult with their physicians about diet recommendations and restrictions.
Meetings And Conventions
Greater Miami and the Beaches offer visitors the perfect combination of cosmopolitan conference facilities and tropical splendor. Small or large, Miami is the ultimate choice for your next meeting. After all, Greater Miami has been attracting some of the most prestigious association and corporate meetings, conventions and trade shows from around the globe. This puts you in very good company indeed.
Last year alone, Miami conferences hosted more than 857,000 delegates in Greater Miami and the Beaches, enjoying a recent $5.5 billion makeover. The city has touched up the beaches, renovated hotels, improved its transportation system and strengthened attractions. Combined with award-winning catering, and service that is second-to-none, Greater Miami is the perfect location for your event!
Retirement And Living
Looking at Miami for the long term? Seniors, active adults and snowbirds can’t help but be enticed by the wide range of retirement communities available. These include assisted living, continuing care, and age-restricted communities among others.
Retirement communities are often grouped by interest and activity level, while others might be age exclusive or more healthcare oriented. As you choose the option that best meets your own needs be sure you and your spouse have outlined your preferences before you visit homes.
Why choose Miami for your golden years? If you’ve read through this guide you know that Miami is home to some of the best hospitals in the country, many that specialize in geriatric care. There are also opportunities for volunteering and continuing education.
Miami has beautiful beaches and bays, plus many fascinating neighborhoods including the art-deco area of South Beach. The city offers cultural activities for everyone - from ballet to professional sports teams to the University of Miami and other colleges. The many concert venues make Miami a stop on nearly all of the major concert tours.
For the more active, there are championship golf courses, tennis, swimming, marinas, bicycling, arts and crafts; enough things to do to keep you active for years to come (or for the grandkids to enjoy)! Come enjoy the best years of your life as you discover a new life in Miami!
Notwithstanding what you see on CSI Miami and other prime time shows, Miami is a relatively safe city if you use common sense and are always aware of your surroundings. In general, the areas frequented by visitors are much safer than areas with the highest levels of crime.
The Miami-Dade Police Department offers the following recommendations:
- Review map(s) and other visitor information before leaving the rental car area or elsewhere. If unsure of how to reach a destination, ask for directions prior to leaving your point of departure, be that a hotel, attraction, restaurant, shopping mall or place of business.
- Do not ask for casual street corner directions.
- Do not exit expressways to avoid tolls.
- If you are told by a passing motorist that something is wrong with your vehicle -- or if someone bumps you from behind -- do not stop. Drive to the nearest well lighted public area and call for assistance (police emergencies -- dial 911).
- Always keep doors locked and windows up when driving or parked. Keep valuables in the trunk or locked glove compartment.
- Do not leave bags, briefcases, purses or luggage unattended.
- Do not ever leave children unattended anywhere.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Carry travelers checks in place of cash.
- Keep hotel and balcony room doors locked.
- All members of your party should carry information with the name, address and telephone number of your hotel.
- Carry purses and waist packs across the front of your body. Be sure they are closed securely.
- For all emergencies dial 911 on the telephone.
- For telephone number information dial 411 on the telephone
Healthcare in the Destination
Whether you’re flying in from Kansas City or Bogotá, Colombia, Greater Miami offers you cutting-edge healthcare amid a tropical paradise ideal for relaxing and recuperating from your procedure or treatment. Located just minutes from Miami International Airport are some of the nation’s top hospitals including Jackson Memorial, Baptist Health, and Mount Sinai Medical Center, all of which offer personalized assistance for medical travel patients.
Healthcare In MIAMILooking for the right doctor? Are you unsure of where to stay? Your Miami area hospital will help you with passport and visas, long-term accommodations, transportation and even provide in-hospital personalized assistance that is designed to make your stay as comfortable and pleasant as possible.
Greater Miami offers you a wide range of medical specialties and treatments including organ transplants, oncology, ophthalmology, pediatric surgery, robotic surgery, cosmetic surgery and dental treatments. The following pages will provide you with an overview of the various procedures and treatment options available in Greater Miami.
An executive physical is a series of health exams tailored towards businessmen and professionals in order to determine their overall health. It tends to be focused on conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer, often caused by stress, unhealthy habits or long work hours. To give you a better idea of the entire process, think of the last time you visited a museum. Typically you probably spent most of your time walking from room to room viewing art exhibits or ancient artifacts. Well it’s not much different during an executive physical except that here you are the exhibit and you might be prodded and poked a few times.
Executive physicals can vary from basic to comprehensive and often include some combination of the following diagnostic tests:
- General blood work including advanced lab screening
- Diagnostic imaging (X-rays, CT scans, MRI’s)
- Cardiovascular tests (EKG, stress test, echocardiogram)
- Nutritional counseling
Granted, guzzling the ingestible version of Drano while you contemplate the specter of a tube being inserted in your backside may not be your idea of a great time. The truth, however, is that most tests - including the colonoscopy - are virtually painless and have been designed to cause patients little if any discomfort.
Most executive physicals can be custom-made to your company’s specifications, oftentimes with results provided on the same day.
According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, infertility can be defined as “the diminished ability or the inability to conceive and have offspring.” Infertility is also defined in specific terms as “the failure to conceive after a year of regular intercourse without contraception.” Over the last ten years, the number of couples seeking fertility treatments has risen dramatically. This phenomenon can be attributed not only to increased fertility issues, due in part to later childbearing, but also to improving techniques, technology and results.
Treatment options include:
- Fertility Drugs
- Artificial Insemination
- In Vitro Fertilization
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI
Several Miami area clinics offer the latest fertility treatments tailor-made to each patient’s unique condition. If you are coming to South Florida for a fertility treatment you will likely receive a tentative schedule weeks in advance of your trip. Typically you will have an initial screening with a physician in your area. The actual time you will need to spend in the area will depend on the type of treatment you are receiving.
For hospitals and clinics specializing in fertility treatments see page 68 of this guide.
Bariatric surgery (also known as weight loss surgery) is a series of procedures designed to encourage rapid weight loss in patients that are obese. Depending on the procedure, weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach or by resecting and re-routing the small intestines to a small stomach pouch. The amount of excess weight lost ranges from 25%-80% of body weight (one year after surgery), and will depend upon the patient following the doctor’s indications.
Popular bariatric procedures include:
- Biliopancreatic Diversion
- Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass
- Sleeve Gastrectomy
- Adjustable Gastric Banding
Bariatric procedures usually last anywhere from one to three hours and in most cases will require between one and two nights in the hospital or clinic (the adjustable gastric banding may be an outpatient procedure).
If you are coming to Miami for a weight loss procedure, you will likely need to spend between five to seven days in the area. Itineraries will vary from clinic to clinic, but in general you will start with your preoperative exams on the day after your arrival, have surgery on the following day, then get discharged from the clinic a day or two later depending on your procedure.
You will then require a few days to recuperate in your hotel before traveling home. For specific treatment information, please contact one of the bariatric specialists in this guide.
For hospitals and clinics specializing in bariatric procedures see page 68 of this guide.
Orthopedic surgery is concerned with conditions associated to the musculoskeletal system. Some of the more well-known procedures are total knee replacement, partial knee replacement, total hip replacement, total shoulder replacement, hip resurfacing, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction, arthroscopy, meniscal repair, and spinal surgeries.
The number of patients traveling for orthopedic procedures has increased dramatically over the past several years due to an increasingly older population in many developed nations and the significant cost savings available.
If you are coming to Miami for an orthopedic procedure, you will need to spend between seven and twenty-one days in the area, depending on the type of procedure. Details of your itinerary will depend on your hospital’s particular protocols, but in general, you will start with your preoperative exams on the day after your arrival, have surgery on the following day, then get discharged from the hospital a day or two later. You will then need seven to fourteen days to recuperate and undergo rehabilitation therapy before traveling home.
For hospitals and clinics specializing in orthopedic procedures see page 68 of this guide.
Cardiovascular interventions encompass the entire field of interventional cardiovascular medicine, including cardiac (coronary and non-coronary) peripheral and cerebrovascular interventions. Common treatments sought by medical tourism patients include coronary artery bypass graft, heart valve replacement, coronary angiography and angioplasty.
Recovery time before travelling home varies depending on the procedure. Patients undergoing a Coronary Angiogram without intervention will usually be able to travel home 48 hours after discharge. Patients undergoing Coronary Angioplasty with or without stents may fly home 7 to 10 days after discharge. Patients having a coronary artery bypass graft, on the other hand, will usually spend 15-21 days in Miami.
For hospitals and clinics specializing in cardiovascular interventions see page 68 of this guide.
Oncology treatments are those that strive to cure or slow the progression of cancer. Several hospitals in Greater Miami are well-known for their expertise and the advanced cancer treatment options they provide. Whether you require chemotherapy, radiotherapy, surgery or a combination of different modalities, Miami area oncology specialists will work with you to customize a treatment plan that provides the best opportunity for success.
For hospitals and clinics specializing in oncology treatments see page 68 of this guide.
Neurology is a medical specialty dealing with the diagnosis and treatment of diseases involving the body’s nervous system. These may include:
- Movement disorders
- Chronic headaches
- Cerebrovascular disease
- Stroke/Brain Attacks
- Arterio-Venous Malformation
Patients suffering from neurological diseases often require a high degree of medical and surgical care, specialized tests or interventional therapists. For hospitals and clinics specializing in neurology treatments see page 68 of this guide.
In recent years, new technological advancements have made robotic surgical systems an important tool for treating certain medical conditions. Robotic surgery is minimally invasive and offers many advantages over traditional methods including: smaller incisions resulting in less pain, less scarring and faster recovery times.
Two well know robotic systems are the Da Vinci® Surgical system and the Mako Rio® Robotic Arm system. The Da Vinci® Surgical system is used in urological, gynecological and cardiovascular procedures as well as noncancerous kidney conditions involving blockage.
The Mako Rio® Robotic Arm system is being used in orthopedic procedures such as total hip replacement, partial knee resurfacing that require a high level of precision.
For information about Greater Miami hospitals that offer these procedures, please see page 68 of this guide.
Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Programs
Millions of Americans suffer from chronic wounds stemming from diabetes, circulatory problems and complications following surgery. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy works by “pushing” pure oxygen to the bloodstream, tissues and cells, allowing very high levels of oxygen to be dissolved into the blood plasma which heals the wound from the inside out.
Likely candidates for treatment are those suffering from diabetic ulcers, pressure ulcers, infections, compromised skin grafts and flaps and wounds that have not healed within 30 days.
For hospitals and clinics specializing in wound healing and hyperbarics see page 68 of this guide.
A transplant is a surgical procedure performed to replace a diseased organ with a healthy organ from another person or a cadaver. Patients seeking organ transplants must consider patient survival rates, procedure experience, and credentials of medical team before choosing an organ transplant hospital and surgeon.
Organ transplantation is a very complex procedure that requires a multidisciplinary team of medical experts and patient advocates to ensure an optimal outcome. Typical organ transplants include liver, kidney, heart and lung.
Patients who undergo an organ transplantation procedure will typically stay at least a week in the hospital and then may require an additional extended stay in the Greater Miami area before travelling home. For hospitals and clinics specializing in organ transplants see page 68 of this guide.
Pediatric surgery is a subspecialty of surgery involving the surgery of fetuses, infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Greater Miami boasts some of the nation’s top pediatric centers with expertise in complex conditions such as neonatal congenital anomalies, childhood cancers, and traumas.
Pediatric patients undergoing treatment in Greater Miami hospitals will have access to the latest in medical technology, and benefit from doctors and technicians who are uniquely knowledgeable and dedicated to pediatric surgery patients.
For hospitals and clinics specializing in pediatric surgery see page 68 of this guide.
Ophthalmology is a branch of medicine specializing in the anatomy, function and diseases of the eye. Some common procedures include:
- Cataract surgery
- Retina and vitreous surgeries
- Refractive surgery
- Pediatric eye surgery
- Corneal surgery
Greater Miami offers patients many high quality ophthalmology centers where most procedures are performed as out-patient surgeries, with follow-up appointments scheduled approximately four days later.
For hospitals and clinics specializing in ophthalmology treatments see page 68 of this guide.
Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Procedures
As the name suggests, ENT procedures are those dealing with the surgical treatment of diseases, injuries, or deformations of the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck areas. Common procedures include:
- Myringotomy & insert of tube through tympanic membrane (bilateral)
- Endoscopic sinus surgery (functional surgery)
- Endoscopic cordectomy
Most of these procedures require between one and two days in the hospital. For hospitals and clinics specializing in ENT procedures see page 68 of this guide.
Also referred to as plastic or aesthetic surgery, cosmetic surgery encompasses a long list of procedures or treatments that are performed to enhance a person’s appearance or, in some cases, to reconstruct areas of the body that are deformed at birth or marred due to injury. Popular procedures include:
Cosmetic procedures can last anywhere from 30 minutes to four hours and, in many cases, may be treated as outpatient procedures.
If you are coming to Miami for cosmetic surgery, you will likely need to spend between seven and fourteen days in the area. Details of your itinerary will depend on your hospital’s particular protocols, but in general you will begin your preoperative exams on the day after your arrival, have surgery on the following day, then get discharged from the facility a few hours later. Depending on your procedure, you may also spend a night or two in the hospital or clinic. You will then require several days to recuperate in your hotel before traveling home.
If you are having a non-surgical procedure, your time spent in-hospital will be minimal. In most instances you should be able to travel home 24-48 hours after your treatment.
Miami boasts some of the country’s top cosmetic surgeons and superb specialty clinics designed with safety and comfort in mind. For specific treatment information, please contact one of the cosmetic surgery specialists in this guide.
For hospitals and clinics specializing in cosmetic surgery see page 68 of this guide.
Each year thousands of travelers from around the world flock to Miami seeking high quality and affordable dental care. Area dentists offer a wide range of specialties including Endodontics, Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery (Oral Surgeon), Orthodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and Prosthodontics. Some of the more sought after procedures include:
- Porcelain Veneers
- Dental Bonding
- White Fillings
- Dental Implants
- Dental Crowns
- Porcelain Onlays
If you are considering Greater Miami for your dental needs, keep in mind that many dental treatments can be completed in a matter of days and with very little discomfort. For more complex work you may have to stay a little longer or return to finish the procedure on a second trip. Before you travel, your Miami dental professional will make sure to explain the details of your treatment in advance so you can plan the appropriate amount of time for your trip.
For clinics specializing in dental treatments see page 68 of this guide.
Planing Your Trip
How Much Should I Budget for My Medical Tourism Trip To MIAMI
The amount of money you will need to budget for your medical trip to Miami will depend on factors such as length of stay, accommodation choice and lifestyle preferences. To get a good estimate of the costs associated to your medical trip, try breaking down your trip into its principal elements and then adding up the costs.
Let’s take as an example a patient traveling to Miami for a hernia repair procedure. The approximate costs including a companion would be as follows:*
- Surgical procedure: $8,400 USD
- Travel: $800 USD
- Lodging: $900 USD ($150 x 6 nights)
- Transportation: $200 USD
- Meals: $450 USD ($75 per day)
- Entertainment: $300 USD
- Shopping and souvenirs: $400 USD
APPROXIMATE TOTAL: $11,450 USD
As shown in the above example, most of these elements can be calculated with a fairly high degree of accuracy. For example, flights to Miami can be found for under $500 dollars round trip, and are frequently available from major U.S. cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Houston. If you are flying in from Latin America, Europe, or Asia, then you will likely pay more for your flights, however, vacation packages and other deals can always lower your costs.
As far as accommodation, it is not uncommon to find excellent threefour star hotels at under $100 dollars a night including breakfast.
Transportation within the Miami metropolitan area will likely be by rent-a-car or Taxicab. Choosing a mid-sized rent-a-car with insurance will run you approximately $300 dollars plus gas (about $50 per day). If you opt for using a taxicab then at the very minimum expect to pay between $150-$200 dollars taking into account airport transfers, hotel to hospital round trips and some outings for dinner or shopping.
Where meals are concerned, you should budget at least $75 dollars per day for two assuming that your hotel includes breakfast.
Entertainment and shopping costs are never easy to predict, particularly in a high profile tourism destination such as Miami. However, as a patient it is important for you to remember that your main focus is to recover from your procedure or treatment.
What is the Best Time to Go?
The answer to this question will depend on your particular preferences. If you prefer fewer crowds and don’t mind the heat and humidity, then June through September is a good time to visit South Florida. During this period hotel rates tend to be lower and there will be less crowded conditions at popular attractions and theme parks. However, be aware that this is also hurricane season, so make sure you know your airline and hotel’s cancellation/refund policy before booking. Also check with the National Weather Service if you are booking last minute as it does a good job of tracking storms and providing ample warning.
If the heat bothers you then choose the winter months (December – March) when temperatures are mild (sometimes even cool) and there is minimal precipitation. On the flip side, this is the most popular time for tourists to visit Miami so expect more crowded conditions and higher hotel rates.
Many people consider the transitional months (April/May and October/ November) to be the ideal time to visit Miami as temperatures are relatively mild and hotel deals abound.
To avoid crowds and high hotel rates, try to stay away from especially popular holiday periods such as: Presidents’ Day weekend (February), Easter week, Memorial Day weekend (end of May), the Fourth of July, Labor Day weekend (September), Thanksgiving (November), Christmas and New Year’s.
Another tip to take advantage of is to book your trip during the week instead of on the weekend. Most hotels offer significant discounts for weekday bookings regardless of the season. Most importantly, you need to keep in mind that you are traveling for medical reasons; therefore your primary concern should be to travel at a time and under circumstances that will cause you the least amount of discomfort and stress.
What to Pack
Don’t wait until the last day to pack. As your departure date approaches, you will want to make a list of the items necessary for your trip. The last thing you want is to arrive in Miami without important medical records, medications, or appropriate clothing.
Miami weather is typically hot and humid during the summer and mild during the winter. During summer you can minimize your discomfort and risk of sunburn by wearing light weight cotton clothes, sunscreen, hat and sunglasses. You should also carry a small umbrella as thunder showers can appear without warning.
The following check-list will help you get organized:
- For medical treatment: Medical history file and relevant medical reports, contact information for your hospital representative, prescription medication, your medical travel itinerary, and a digitalor hard copy of correspondence between you and the hospital/ facilitator.
- Must have: Identification (driver’s license or passport), credit cards, and cash.
- Clothing: Loose fitting cotton clothing, linen shirts, and sundresses are popular in South Florida due to the heat and humidity. Also make sure to bring comfortable shoes or sandals as these will come in handy for a peaceful stroll along one of Miami’s pristine beaches or popular Ocean Drive.
- Toiletries: Sunscreen, lip balm, moist towels or facial wipes
- Photo Equipment: Digital camera, spare card, PC cable, spare rechargeable batteries, battery recharger, case.
- Miscellaneous: Knapsack or fanny pack, sun glasses, water bottle, hat or cap to protect your head from the sun, umbrella and raincoat or poncho for the summer months.
MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Taxicabs and Super Shuttles: are available on the D, E, F, & H lower arrival level of the airport, outside of the baggage claim area. As you exit the baggage claim area, follow the signs pointing to “ground transportation.” If you are traveling with one or more companions then a Super shuttle may be a less expensive option than a taxicab, however, be aware that there may be several other passengers heading to area hotels so transit time will be longer. For rates and charges visit
Hotel Shuttles are available for pick-up and drop-off on the D, E, H, & J upper departure level of the airport. To contact your hotel, make your way to the courtesy phones located outside the baggage claim area.
Car rental Shuttles to the state-of-the-art MIA Rental Car Center (RCC) are available on the D, E, H, & J upper departure level. The RCC, which opened in 2010, boasts a spacious lobby with access to 16 rental car companies and 6,500 vehicles – all under one roof!
*MIA has wheelchair-accessible taxicabs and Super Shuttle vans available upon request to any taxi starter, located on the ground level of the terminal, outside the baggage claim area.
Metrobus: The local bus service provides scheduled services to all areas of Miami-Dade County. The bus station at MIA is located on the Ground Level of Concourse E, directly across from Customs. Printed Metrobus route maps and schedules can be picked up at the airport’s information center in Central Terminal E, level 2.
Tri-rail: The Commuter Train service, runs along Interstate 95, providing commuter service to the airport from Broward and Palm Beach Counties. The Airport Station is immediately east of the airport, across Le Jeune Road (42 Avenue) on NW 21st Street. Bus connections to the Tri-Rail Airport Station are available from the bus station. Metrobus also provides free shuttle bus service to the airport terminal for passengers with a valid Tri- Rail ticket. For additional information call 1-800-TRI-RAIL, from anywhere in the state of Florida, or visit www.tri-rail.com.
Metrorail orange Line: Metrorail’s new Orange Line service opened in July 2012. It provides millions of residents and visitors with a reliable and seamless Metrorail connection to and from Miami International Airport’s MIA Mover, which takes riders directly into the airport. For more information, visit www.miamidade.gov/transit or call 305/770-3131.
Miami rental Car Center: Greater Miami is one of the easiest, most affordable places to rent a car. The convenient Rental Car Center, just east of the airport terminal, brings all the big-name rental agencies under one roof. The facility can serve 28,000 customers per day, and it can wash and refuel 300 vehicles per hour, with 42 car-wash bays and 120 gas pumps. The MIA Mover tram takes you directly from MIA to the Rental Car Center. For more information, visit www.miami-airport.com.
FORT LAUDERDALE HOLLYWOOD INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT (FLL)
Taxicabs and Shuttles: After picking up your luggage in the baggage claim area, head outside to a Taxi Podium located at the curb of each terminal. Fares are calculated based on the zone you are traveling to. For more information visit: ttp://www.broward.org/airport/transportation/pages/ taxis.aspx
Shared rides (shuttles, vans, limos) are also located in the same area. Check in at the Transportation Podium located outside the baggage area on the lower level curbside. Please note that shared ride reservations should be made at least 24 hours in advance of your arrival.
To access all ground transportation, follow the easy to read signs in the terminal from your gate to the baggage claim area located on the lower level. After you pick up your bags, go outside the terminal. You can make arrangements for a taxi cab, shared ride, or a luxury sedan car at any of the Transportation Podiums.
TRAVELERS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS HAVE NUMEROUS GROUND TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS AT THE AIRPORT:
Taxis - Yellow Cab taxis provide transportation for passengers with folding wheelchairs at no additional charge. Wheelchair accessible vans are also available at no additional charge, but advance notice is recommended. For information or to arrange for a van, contact Yellow Cab wheelchair taxi dispatch.
Shared Ride - GO Airport Shuttle provides wheelchair lift-equipped vans at no additional charge. Advance notice is recommended.
Car Rentals - With advance notice, most car rental companies provide rental cars equipped with hand controls. Contact your rental car company for further details.
Public Transportation - Tri Rail feeder buses and Broward County Transit (BCT) buses accommodate riders in wheelchairs.
Car rentals: Renting a car is another convenient way to get around the Greater Miami area. Most of the major car rental companies are represented on-site at FLL. The Rental Car Center (RCC) offers 12 rental car companies in one building next to Terminal 1. Passengers arriving at Terminal 1 should follow Rental Car Center signage to the Concourse B pedestrian bridge. The bridge is located near the Concourse B security checkpoint. Passengers arriving at Terminals 2, 3, or 4 should follow Rental Car Center signs to the passenger pick-up area for free shuttle bus service. The pick-up areas are located outside of the baggage claim level, by the curb. The shuttle buses will take you to the RCC.
Public transportation: Getting to your hotel by bus or train is another option you may want to consider if you are on a budget and don’t mind spending a little extra travel time. However, consider the amount of luggage you are carrying before choosing this option.
Broward County Transit provides efficient mass transit to and from the Airport.
For more information, visit Broward County Transit or call the Rider Info Line at 954-357-8400 or 954-357-8320 (TTY).
Tri-rail: Tri-Rail (commuter train) provides service to Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County. There are free shuttle buses from the FLL terminals to the Fort Lauderdale - Hollywood International Airport Station at Dania Beach. The station is just a few miles from the airport and a short ride on the shuttle bus.
For more information, visit Tri-Rail or call 800-874-7245. Tri-Rail operates daily schedules.
Whether you are building a house, buying a car or traveling for a medical treatment, chances are good that you will run into some unexpected costs. That is a fact of life. The important thing is to try to anticipate these situations so you are not caught unprepared.
Some common culprits are:
- Extra airline luggage fees
- Additional rental-car fees for insurance coverage or for extra perks such as a child seat or a GPS navigation system
- Unexpected medical costs
Let us take a more detailed look at this last one.
Every surgical intervention in the world – no matter how small, has the potential to end in a medical complication. Fortunately, medical complications tend to be rare for most procedures. However, it is important to keep in mind that if one occurs, you might be responsible for paying additional medical costs. It all depends on your health plan, insurance coverage, or the type of medical procedure package you purchased.
If you do not have insurance coverage, then it is advisable to purchase a medical complication insurance to protect yourself against these types of situations. Additionally, you should educate yourself about the potential risks and complications associated with your particular procedure, and try to lower your risk for complications by following your doctor’s instructions.
LONGER HOSPITAL STAY
There may be circumstances when your doctor will recommend a longer hospital stay than was originally anticipated. This could be due to a medical complication or simply because you are not healing as quickly as expected. In other instances your physician may ask you to spend a few extra days in your hotel recuperating. In either case it is important to be prepared to pay additional charges, especially if you do not have insurance coverage.
Will The Hospital in MIAMI Assist With The Coordination of My trip
Most hospitals or clinics in Miami can provide some sort of trip coordination assistance (assisting with lodging or transportation needs); however, for more comprehensive services you will want to look for a hospital with an international patient office.
As the name implies, an international patient office assists foreign patients with their clinical and non-clinical needs. But don’t worry, you don’t have to be a foreign patient to use this service. Any non-local patient can benefit by the range of services offered. These typically include:
- Assistance with airline bookings
- Arranging accommodation
- Coordinating airport pick-ups and transportation
- Sending price quotes
- Coordinating conference calls with doctors
- Insurance billing
- Arranging transfer of medical records
- Arranging tourism and leisure activities
- Providing personalized assistance for patients and their companions while they are at the hospital
Some patients may prefer the assistance of a medical travel facilitator. For more information on medical travel facilitators, please refer to the chapter about Facilitators on page 48.
Just because your procedure is over does not mean that you are ready to pack your bags and head back home. Your doctor will recommend several days of monitored rest in order to ensure an optimal recovery and the best possible outcome to your surgery or treatment. This process isoften referred to as aftercare. In more technical terms it can be defined as “the process of maintaining the integrity and quality of a patient’s care as he or she transitions from one setting (or set of circumstances) to another.”
The actual aftercare process occurs in several different phases. It will also differ significantly from patient to patient depending on the nature of the treatment and the patient´s condition and needs. A patient who has undergone open heart surgery, for example, will require much more follow-up and assistance than a patient who is in South Florida for plastic surgery or a hernia repair.
Where surgery is involved, phase one of the aftercare process begins the moment you leave the treatment center. If you are staying at an area hotel then you may need to return to the medical facility for rehabilitation therapy, removal of stitches, nutritional counseling or simply for generalmonitoring of your post-procedure progress. Phase two begins once you return home. Here it is important to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor to ensure that your recovery is headed in the right direction.
It is important for both patients and providers to be proactive with the aftercare process as it is an integral part of a successful procedure outcome and promotes a positive medical tourism experience.
Accommodation: Where Should I Stay After My Procedure
The type of medical procedure or treatment you are undergoing will play a large part in your decision of where to stay. A patient undergoing open heart surgery or a knee replacement, for example, will require extra care and very comfortable conditions after leaving the hospital. Not so for someone coming for a dental bridge or an executive physical. Below are some recommendations when booking a hotel:
- If possible, choose a hotel near the hospital.
- Choose a handicap access room (for patients with limited mobility)
- Make sure the front desk is aware you recently underwent a medical procedure
- Ask if there is a nurse or doctor on call
- Make sure the hotel can satisfy your post-surgery dietary needs
- Keep some clean towels, bandages and alcohol swabs handy
For a list of hotels and resorts please see the directory on page 110.
Although Greater Miami has much to offer visitors as a tourism destination, it is important to remember that your primary reason for visiting the city is to correct a medical condition or to renew your health. Therefore it is extremely important that you follow your doctor’s advice regarding rest and leisure activities. If you have undergone a triple heart bypass in the last week, don’t expect your doctor to allow you to engage in any strenuous activities or to stay out long in the heat. Refusing to follow your doctor’s indications even in the smallest detail could lead to a slower healing process or even a medical complication. Don’t take any chances with your health!
Every surgical procedure has inherent risks. Often those risks are minimal, but you should be aware of them. Every patient has his or her own set of risks and these should be discussed with the surgeon and your personal physician at length before the surgery. The risks associated with anesthesia are mainly related to allergic reactions to medications used for this purpose.
Even after a successful surgery, you might experience complications such as blood clots or an infection. You need to discuss with your surgeon the specific risks for your case. Your surgical team is trained in how to deal with and lessen the chance of complications occurring right after the surgery. If complications do occur, they could necessitate the patient a second surgery in order to correct the problem. Your surgeon will inform you regarding the treatment options available if you suffer a complication.
CONTACT YOUR SURGEON IF
- You develop a fever.
- Your wound feels hot or your wound is oozing.
- The problems for which you are having the surgery get worse.
- You have severe pain at the incision site.
- You are having pain or a burning sensation when passing urine.
Tips for Medical Travel
As we come to the end of this guide, it is our hope that your eyes have been opened to the exciting world of Health and Wellness opportunities available for you or your employees in Greater Miami. Below are some final tips that will make for a safer and more pleasant medical trip.
DO YOUR RESEARCH WHEN CHOOSING A MEDICAL PROVIDER
Miami is well-known for the high quality of its physicians and medical facilities. However, it is important that potential patients take the time to research their options in order to choose a doctor and medical facility that fits their needs and budget. Failure to do so could lead to an unpleasant medical tourism experience if not a sub-par procedure outcome. Please refer to page 68 of this guide for a list of recommended medical facilities.
DON’T BE SHY
When researching your options, don’t be afraid to ask for information such as doctors’ CV’s or hospital performance indicators that will help in your decision making process. Most hospitals will be happy to provide this information. As a traveling patient it is important that you have as much information as possible in order to make a decision that will be in your best interest.
BRING A COMPANION
Bringing along a companion is always recommended, particularly if you will be undergoing a procedure that will leave you debilitated for any length of time. Companions can provide much needed physical and emotional support that can make your medical tourism experience much less stressful.
TRAVEL COMFORTABLY AFTER SURGERY
Depending on the type of surgery you have undergone, it may be wise to purchase tickets in first or business class. This is especially true for orthopedic procedures such as hip and knee replacements, cardiac surgery, and neurosurgery - where space and the possibility to stretch your legs will reduce the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis and allow for a much more comfortable flight. It is also advisable to travel light, particularly if you are traveling alone. You don’t want to be dragging a heavy suitcase after a delicate surgery.
GIVE YOURSELF EXTRA TIME
Plan your trip so that you have a few extra days to rest before going back to work or your regular routine. Not only will this give you time to fully recover, but it will provide you with a little buffer time in case you must spend more time in the hospital than you originally planned for. This is your unique opportunity to dedicate time to yourself and your healing process. Remember, mind, body and soul is important for a full recovery.
KEEP YOUR MEDICAL RECORDS AND IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION IN YOUR PURSE OR HAND LUGGAGE
Make sure to keep important information handy at all times. Be especially careful not to pack medical records, prescriptions or important contact information in checked baggage as these can be lost or temporarily delayed.
NETWORK WITH OTHER PATIENTS WHO HAVE ALREADY BEEN TO MIAMI FOR MEDICAL TOURISM
One of the best ways to prepare for your medical trip to Miami is to speak with past patients about their experience. What was their recuperation like? What restaurants do they recommend? Nothing beats listening to someone who has already been there and done that. Talk to your Miami hospital contact and request to speak to past patients. Most hospitals will be more than happy to provide you with the contact information of patients who have agreed to talk about their experiences. This information is invaluable for selecting your destination for medical or wellness care.
GET AS MUCH INFORMATION ABOUT THE MEDICAL PROCEDURE PROCESS AS POSSIBLE
- How much will the surgery or treatment cost?
- Who will pick you up at the airport?
- Who will be your main contact at the hospital or clinic?
- How many appointments will you need?
- How long will you be in the hospital?
- How will you get from the hospital to your hotel?
- How long is the post procedure recuperation period?
- Ask for a detailed schedule of tests and appointments etc…
The public’s perception of healthcare delivery is undergoing a major paradigm shift. Whereas in the past, patients had little choice but to seek care locally - regardless of cost and quality, it is now common to see patients travel from one country to another or from one state to another for medical care.
ConclusionAlthough this trend may have gone unnoticed by much of the media, it is starting to make a real impact in America and around the world. The nation’s escalating healthcare crises, aging population, and quantum leap in information technology have all contributed to making medical tourism an attractive option for individuals and employers seeking quality and affordable healthcare.
Greater Miami is leading this “silent” revolution. Its state-of-the-art hospitals and medical professionals are attracting patients from all over the U.S., Latin America, and the world. As we move deeper into the 21st century, Miami is poised to become one of the world’s prime medical tourism destinations.
It is our hope that this guide has opened your eyes to a new Miami. We invite you to research our medical facilities and take the next step to improving your health and wellbeing. You can do so by contacting any of the facilities listed in this guide or by getting in touch with the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce or the Medical Tourism Association® using the information below:
GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU
701 Brickell Ave., Suite 2700
Miami, FL 33131 USA
Toll Free: 800-933-8448
GREATER MIAMI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
1601 Biscayne Boulevard, Ballroom Level
Miami, FL 33132
MEDICAL TOURISM ASSOCIATION®
8845 N. Military Trail, Suite 200
West Palm Beach, Florida USA 33412