Western medicine doesn “not work” in the United States, says Dr. Robert Hickey, an expert on medical tourism.
And he warns that, if the trend continues, it could mean the end of the American medical tourism industry.
Dr. Hickey is one of the world’s leading authorities on medical tourists and has been a frequent guest on the US television talk shows Dr. Oz and Dr. Drew.
“They come to us and say, ‘I want to do a residency in this particular state, but my local health department isn’t accepting my application for residency,’ ” he says.
“So, they say, you know, you’re a medical tourist, you should come here.
And, of course, we all say, no, you are not a medical resident, you can’t be a doctor.
You can’t do that.
But they say that.
They don’t know what’s going on.
They’re not even aware of the problem.”
“Western medicine doesn ‘work’ in the U.S.”
Dr. Hodge says he’s not surprised.
The United States is a highly industrialized nation, but the population is aging.
“You have to have a workforce that can handle the growing number of new patients coming to the country.
We don’t have enough doctors.
We have too many doctors,” he says, referring to the roughly three million U.C.L.A. physicians.
And the number of medical residents who have come to the United State in recent years is not enough to replace the doctors.
The population is growing by about 50,000 people per year, and the medical residency program needs to be expanded to handle that, Dr. Doreen Loeser, a medical doctor in California, told NPR.
Dr. Loeseer is the president of the Medical Staff Association of America.
In 2016, she was the keynote speaker at the medical tourism conference, “The Medical Staff Report Card,” in New York.
She points to the American Medical Association’s “2016 Medical Staff Guidelines,” which said: “A physician should be able to practice medicine safely, effectively, and in a manner that is conducive to the well-being of his patients.”
The guideline also said, “Medical staff must be able and willing to work independently, not just to provide treatment, but to care for patients.”
Dr Loesee says it’s important for medical staff to have the right training.
“They need to be educated about how to work in this environment,” she says.
In order to be a good physician, she says, the medical staff must know how to communicate with patients, to interact with patients.
She says it also has to be about compassion.
In addition, she warns, medical staff need to understand that their patients will likely need to wait weeks or months before they can see a doctor for a serious medical condition.
The medical staff have to be prepared to be there, she adds.
And, of all the factors that need to go into a doctor’s decision to practice in the country, Dr Loesen says, “is that they need to see the patient, they need their patients to see them, and they need them to be treated appropriately.”
Dr Hickey says the medical tourist industry has been around for decades, and it’s only been in the last few years that the numbers of doctors coming to work have increased.
“The American medical establishment has been losing money for a long time, and you can see that with the number, the number that’s been coming to our country over the last several years, and I think we’re heading toward that, too,” he explains.
“This is going to be the end.
We’re going to see a major reduction in the number and the number per day.
We’ll see the medical supply and demand for the medical care system collapse.”