Thursday, November 27, 2008

Outsourcing Health Care

A friend informed me of a new concept that has implications for childbirth: outsourcing healthcare. Evidently, there is a new trend for insurance companies, to cut costs, to send patients outside of the United States with cheaper healthcare services for procedures, etc. The example my friend told me about was patients being sent to India for heart transplants. While there, patients are given "gold-star treatment", first class flights, nice hotels, limos to and from the hospitals, gift baskets, etc.

I have heard about the birthing mother's receiving celebrity treatment for extra cash-- $15,000 for continuous labor support provided by an obstetrician, extra special hospital accomdations, incentives, etc. but outsourcing takes it to a whole new level.

Next, will there be reports of U.S. insurance companies sending birth women to India, France, Spain, etc for gold-star scheduled inductions to decrease costs?

In order for that outsourcing to be effective in the case of labor and birth, the birth would have to be scheduled, otherwise women might be living out of hotels for 2-6 weeks waiting to go into labor. I can't imagine how that could still be cost-effective. So let's assume that a woman is put on airplane at 38 weeks and the induction is schedule for a day or two after arrival.

Would that be cost effective?
Do we need to see more inductions of labor and scheduled c-sections?
Would those births be granted dual citizen status?
How would the birth stats be reported--in the country of birth or in the United States?
Will this be a new trend or will common sense prevail?

1 comment:

Susana said...

It sounds nuts to me. How are you feeling??? How'd the ultrasound at 20 (?) weeks go? Did it bring you peace?