Belize - Belize News - - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Health, People & Places » Restricted Medical Tourism may hurt local medicare
Nov 7, 2011

Restricted Medical Tourism may hurt local medicare

A growing controversy in the health field is coming to light and it’s over the potential development of medical tourism in Belize. The name implies economic benefits and increased tourism numbers, but the plans being made for medical tourism could hurt the pockets of local doctors. That’s because American medical professionals would provide the exclusive health services that are already being offered by locals. Doctor Joel Cervantes, the President of the Belize Medical and Dental Association was a guest on this morning’s Open Your Eyes and he says that removal of the medical tourism services offered by local doctors could seriously affect the viability of well-established institutions.

Dr. Joel Cervantes, President, BMDA

“What is very important to realize is that medical tourism, at this point for Belize, it poses a threat, a threat in the aspect that there are a lot of interest both inside Belize—powerful businessmen, very politically aligned—and also foreign interests with a lot of, lot of money and they’re interested in opening up medical tourism. In fact, there are a lot of advanced plans; we know that there’s a place in the Free Zone, we know for example that there are plans for something to go on in San Pedro, very serious, and also down in Placencia. The only problem, in our view is that medical tourism should first and foremost be a national industry whereby we, as Belizeans, we the ones who are local; the doctors, the dentists, the nurses and all health allied personnel, we should be the ones that are leading that role because practically in this aspect—and I guess people will find out with time—basically we have been left out of the picture.”

William Neal

Joel Cervantes

“What do we have in terms of the offering because many times we see Belizeans actually going to Merida or to other places to actually seek—what would be our little niche in terms of what we can offer in medical tourism?”

Dr. Joel Cervantes

“To be exact with you, we as Belizeans already practice medical tourism. For example, our dentist; it is not a secret that people come off a cruise ship or they might take a flight because a lot of our dentists, both in Belize City and countrywide, are good at what they do. They have excellent training and they have been offering dental treatments for years. Persons like myself, who have certain capacity to do surgery, especially in the spine, we have also been offering, on a very small scale, medical tourism. We do know, for example, that many times our, whatever authorities like for example, I’m going to give a very specific case, Belizeans also sponsor medical tourism. When we go to Chetumal, when we go to Guatemala City, we go to Miami, we have organizations for example like Social Security, that they get a lot of business sending Belizeans who are insured outside of Belize for medical purposes; either for medical treatment or for surgeries. So medical tourism is not something new, it’s just that as a Belizean public we don’t know much about it as yet.”

Be Sociable, Share!

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

1 Response for “Restricted Medical Tourism may hurt local medicare”

  1. bz-at-it's-best says:

    I feel very strongly that we should support local industries. I have much respect and great confidence in a couple doctors here in Belize that I see, but in general my experience with local Doctors just has not been very positive. I have tried my best to use local Dr.s, but I didn’t feel that in general they took my family’s health very seriously.
    Dr. Gough’s and Dr. Gabourel’s confrontation couple years ago didn’t build up my confidence in our medical system. As far as I know, neither of them was ever disciplined for their behavior. I wouldn’t want either of them seeing me right after they communicated with each other!
    I want to encourage our Doctors to be professional and take their patient’s health more seriously. I would love to support you. Until then, there may be a reason why local Drs. would be hurt with Medical Tourism.

Leave a Reply