Economy December 28, 2019 | 7:39 am

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Health tourism contributes more than RD $ 13 billion to the Dominican economy

The main medical tourism markets in Latin America are: Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Cuba, Panama and the Dominican Republic. (PHOTO TAKEN FROM THE DIAGNOSTIC STUDY OF HEALTH TOURISM IN THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC)


  • The present balance of health tourism in the Dominican Republic during 2019
  • Ask to reduce infections associated with medical care, establish and comply with the protocol
  • Ensures the formalization and implementation of the health tourism council and implement the quality seal is pending

2019 was a key year for health tourism in the Dominican Republic. Some centers achieved international certifications and the first Dominican health tour operator was launched in Madrid, Spain.

Agreements were also signed with financial entities such as Banco Lafise that has a presence in 11 countries to facilitate financing for elective medical treatments to the Dominican Republic.

The information was offered by the Dominican Health Tourism Association (ADTS) through a document requested by Diario Libre, which reported that May was a key month for the sector due to the launch of the diagnostic study of health tourism in the Dominican Republic and proposals of development strategy and quality seal.

ADTS cites that “the National Competitiveness Council, the Dominican Health Tourism Association, the Ministries of Health and Tourism and Asonahores agreed to work on the regulation, incentive, and promotion of Dominican medical tourism.”

The ADTS document also explains that the impact of the sector that in 2018 reported more than 13 billion pesos for the Dominican economy was sized.

The diagnostic study of health tourism in the Dominican Republic, authored by Lourdes Russa, details that health tourism in the Dominican Republic in 2018 generated an average income of US $ 265,132,500, according to estimates and inferences made with the primary information provided by providers of health services and specialized societies and in 2017 generated average income of US $ 230,550,000.

Further, the aforementioned indicates that there was a global economic spill in 2018 of RD $ 13,305,488,919.75 and for 2017 of RD $ 11,109,973,950; amounts that comprise the total average quantification of the expenses considered as made by international patients when receiving medical services in the country.

“The work of the Dominican Health Tourism Association has focused on generating alliances and institutionalizing medical tourism, making our native talent known and promoting compliance with quality standards and safety of services as essential factors to enter this niche market,” explains the institution headed by Alejandro Cambiaso and Amelia Reyes Mora, president and vice president of the Dominican Association of Health Tourism (ADTS).

It details that the transcendental events that contributed significantly to the quality of services have been international accreditations of health centers. The Espaillat Cabral Institute became the first Dominican health center and first outside the United States to receive the HFAP international quality accreditation in health.

Likewise, the document explains, the Punta Cana Medical Center, a member of the Rescue Group, was accredited, which received the certificate through the Qmentum International-Accreditation Canada (AC) program. This event is a milestone for Dominican medicine. “This undoubtedly generates confidence, but at the same time it is a challenge for the other centers that must follow these steps to continue strengthening the country’s positioning as a safe health destination.”

“There is no doubt that medical tourism has earned its place in the tourism sector, proof of this was the recognition by Adompretur to the Dominican Health Tourism Association (ADTS) during the Epifanio Lantigua Award, recognizing health tourism as a new strength of the tourism industry. The ADTS is part of the board of directors of Asonahores and is working hand in hand with the Health Tourism Directorate of the Ministry of Tourism,” says the document.

It also reports that another important event was the inauguration of the first Advanced Cardiology Unit in the east of the country of the International Medical Group (IMG) on November 14.

Likewise, executives of the Dominican Association of Health Tourism (ADTS) highlighted the first sting of the Professional Tower and Hotel HOMS, as well as the inauguration of the integrated goal, center of excellence for bariatric surgery. Facts that position Santiago de los Caballeros as a bright spot for medical tourism.

“This year for the first time the Latin American Congress of Digital Health was held in the country, a meeting point for the main actors in the health and technology sector, an activity that seeks to promote innovation and improve the quality of health services, a pillar essential to offer a competitive service in health tourism,” said the institution.

Challenges for 2020

The Dominican Association of Health Tourism (ADTS) told Diario Libre that 2019 was a year of great progress, but that there were great challenges such as evidence of intrusion, plastic surgery centers not enabled performing procedures that were complicated, associated infections to medical care, among other mishaps. All this calls us to regulate the activity more firmly.

“It is time to make a serious commitment to reduce infections associated with medical care, establish and comply with protocols, strengthen inspections and be truly vigilant of quality and safety,” the agency explains.

It further noted that the formalization and implementation of the health tourism council are pending, implementing the quality seal, as well as ensuring the achievement of international accreditations of plastic and dental surgery centers, the two areas where more international patients visit us.

More severe consequences are required for intrusion, as well as for health centers that operate without being enabled. We also need to create a true culture of quality and safety that benefits local patients and tourists.

The competition of all entities that have a direct impact on health tourism is required in order to consolidate an exportable health product that is part of our country brand, for these purposes we have been working with Cei-RD, Mitur, MSP, Mirex and the health centers that have assumed the commitment of excellence.

In 2020 we hope that more health centers, agreements with Central American and Caribbean entities and even stronger ties of collaboration with the embassies of the United States and Canada, the main emitters of tourists for our country, will continue to be accredited internationally. The association will also continue to create more alliances, particularly with absent Dominicans and knowledge exchange programs and new investments.


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