Table of Contents

Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility

Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility

Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld

The growth of international travel for purposes of medical treatment has been accompanied by increased academic research and analysis. This Handbook explores the emergence of medical travel and patient mobility and the implications for patients and health systems. Bringing together leading scholars and analysts from across the globe, this unprecedented Handbook examines the regional and national experiences of medical tourism, including coverage of the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The chapters explore topics on issues of risk, law and ethics; and include treatment-focused discussions which highlight patient decision-making, patient experience and treatment outcomes for cosmetic, transplantation, dentil, fertility and bariatric treatment.

Chapter 31: Migration and patient mobility in Latin America

Max William Hadler

Subjects: economics and finance, health policy and economics, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


There are more than three million intra-regional migrants in Latin America and tens of millions of Latin American migrants living in the US. Most of these people cross international borders in search of economic opportunity and then confront unfamiliar healthcare systems. Their experiences vary depending on the political, economic, social and cultural undercurrents in their countries of origin and destination. This chapter uses case studies of migrants from El Salvador in the US and those from other South American countries in Argentina to explore varied regional dynamics and their impact on patient mobility in the context of migration. For Salvadorans in the US, high cost, linguistic and cultural barriers, and limited coverage options for migrants contribute to poor access to care. Political reforms have stalled or failed to address the problem, leaving migrants to consider seeking care elsewhere, including in their countries of origin. Migrants in Argentina enjoy greater political protection and live in a country whose healthcare system is public and universal. They nonetheless encounter discrimination that threatens their open access to care. The two case studies demonstrate that solutions to enhanced patient mobility and migrant access to care are varied and depend on local circumstances.

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