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Thousands travel far for Mérida hospitals

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merida hospitals
Ground broke on the Faro del Mayab hospital in Mérida on April 4. Photo: State of Yucatán

Mérida, Yucatán — Thirteen Mérida hospitals wasn’t enough. With ground already broken for the city’s 14th full-scale medical facility, the city further cements its role as health care destination on a grand scale.

Faro del Mayab, a specialized private hospital due to open in 2018, builds on the city’s medical tourism infrastructure. Many patients coming here from a distance aren’t from other countries. They are from neighboring states, coming out of necessity.

Every year, 35,000 nationals from Tabasco, Campeche and Quintana Roo come here for highly specialized services, such as treatment for diabetes or cancer, according to the state health ministry.

Attention is not denied to “migrant patients” because the hospitals have operating agreements with these other states.

The reason why patients are channeled to Mérida because of its superior infrastructure of facilities and professionals.

merida hospitals
Mérida Mayor Mauricio Vila, center, sees a scale model of Faro del Mayab Hospital, due to be completed next year. Photo: City of Mérida

Quintana Roo suffers from a deficit of hematologists, allergists, nephrologists, oncologists and rheumatologists. That’s why patients who need attention in these areas are funneled to Mérida.

The Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) pays up to two million pesos a month to move about 3,000 people a month to Mérida or Mexico City. And the Institute for Social Security and Services for State Workers (ISSSTE ) spends about of 700,000 pesos to transfer 1,000 patients every month.

International medical tourism

Meanwhile, the state is competing with Baja to bring U.S. patients to Mérida hospitals. Its medical tourism portal cites “a destination that not only provides excellent health care but also … savings from 40% to 60% in the same procedures as in the U.S.”

The private Faro del Mayab is part of the Mexico City-based Médica Sur Network. Médica Sur is the only hospital chain in Mexico with a strategic alliance with the Mayo Clinic in the United States.

With information from Sipse

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