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US healthcare firm to send patients to India

December 10, 2005 11:42 IST
In a bid to provide affordable treatment to patients in the US, a healthcare company in New York has tied up with two major Indian hospitals and will soon send thousands of patients to India.

Announcing the plan, the company IndUShealth said it has completed treatment referral agreements with Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals and Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre Ltd - both major medical centres in New Delhi.

More than 40 million Americans have inadequate health insurance and many risk financial ruin if an expected medical emergency arises, it said.

The company hopes to send thousands of Americans for treatment in various Indian world-class medical facilities, which would also benefit the patients who are unable to meet the cost in their own country.

Co-founder and chief executive officer of IndUShealth Rajesh Rao said gaining access to affordable health care is already a huge issue in the US and "we want to help solve it."

Rao said the newly-created IndUShealth has developed a process of acquiring suitable patient references from US-based physicians and arranging transportation to two widely-known Indian hospitals for treatment and comprehensive follow-up service in the US.

The Apollo Hospital Group is the fourth-largest healthcare group in the world and the largest in Asia. It comprises more than 6,400 beds in 32 hospitals, along with a network of nursing and hospital management colleges, pharmacies and diagnostic clinics.                 

Anne Marie Moncure, managing director of Indraprastha Medical Corporation Limited, said "the agreement with our partner in the United States establishes an important link between US patients and the excellent, affordable care we offer here."

Dr Naresh Trehan, executive director of EHIRC, commented, "We believe a company like IndUShealth can bring added value to the growing realm of medical value travel. IndUShealth is unique in that it will offer simplified access to the best

Indian hospitals, facilities that enjoy leadership in global medicine." Tom Keesling, co-founder and president at IndUShealth, said, "We are now building workable, mutually-beneficial relationships with service providers and physicians in the US who will be key partners for us.

As qualified referrals are identified, we will arrange consultations with the  appropriate physicians in India and move forward," he said.

In addition to private physicians, Keesling said, sources of referrals to the IndUShealth network will eventually include corporations, insurance companies and private/state governmental health plans.

Keesling noted that patients will also be able to gain access to a wide range of elective, uninsured procedures, ranging from major cardiac, orthopedic and gastric procedures to restorative and cosmetic surgery.

In 2004, more than 150,000 foreign patients received medical care in India, a large percentage driven by reduced cost. 

Medical procedures done in India typically cost between 10 and 20 per cent of what US medical centres are currently charging for identical procedures.

Dharam Shourie in New York
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