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Public Policies For Facilitating Medical Tourism Industry In Asia

V. K. Singh
Published 2009 · Business

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The paper attempts to analyze the role of public policy adjustments in facilitating the medical tourism sector in Asian countries in response to recent global economic events. While falling incomes may encourage prospective clients in developed countries to opt for medical services in Asia, there exist significant risks and weaknesses that can impede this phenomenon. A SWOT analysis suggests that the biggest threats arise from possible resistance from stakeholders, both within the country and abroad, due to its adverse impacts on local healthcare markets, and falling revenues for providers in the source countries, respectively. Government policies should aim for facilitating medical tourism while minimizing its adverse impacts on local healthcare. Facilitation can be achieved by improving the regulatory environment, allowing ease of entry and regulating quality by credible and mandatory accreditation. Both fiscal and financial incentives may have a role and can also be used for expanding local healthcare, if necessary, by cross-subsidy, the design of which will need to be carefully planned to optimise its impact. It will be necessary to ensure adequate supply of trained manpower by either expanding the capacity of training institutions, or by liberalizing immigration of skilled workers.
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