Is it possible? Could it be? The Philippine Department of Tourism is possibly on the verge of making a very good move, in my opinion!
What are they doing? Why is it good?
Well, it was announced today that the Department of Tourism is planning to begin issuing a new type of visa for foreigners who wish to stay in the Philippines. It will be a Medical Tourist Visa.
Without a doubt, Medical Tourism is a wave that has already begun making splashes on the shores of other Asian countries, and a bit of a splash even here in the Philippines in recent years. Currently, medical tourism is huge in India and Thailand, and this move by the DoT aims to bring a big stream of visitors needing medical care to Philippine shores as well.
This new visa, which is scheduled to be available this year will allow people coming for medical attention a 6 month stay in the Philippines with no need for any renewals, or to apply for an ACR card, as regular tourists now have to do if they extend their visas. This is a big plus in making it easier for medical tourists to be able to stay in the Philippines hassle free during their treatment time. So far, I have not heard anything said about whether the visa will be renewable at the end of the 6 months, but I am sure more details will come out in a reasonable amount of time.
It is funny that this news should be announced today, because just last night, I was having coffee with a regular LiP reader was arrived just yesterday for a visit to Davao. We were talking about some medical needs that he had taken care of in Manila recently. He told me about his hospital stay, which involved 4 different surgeries, and his entire medical bill (in Manila, where things are more expensive) was only $6,000. This fellow told me how happy he was with the treatment he received. He told me that not only was the treatment very inexpensive, but he felt that the care he received was at least on par with what he would have gotten in the USA, and possibly better.
In my own case, I was hospitalized for two weeks in 2001 when I suffered a stroke, and I felt exactly the same as my friend – I received inexpensive care that was really first class all the way.
Sometimes I hear other expats talk about planning to go abroad, usually back to their homeland, if they need medical treatment. In my case, I cannot imagine any procedure that I would elect to have back in the USA compared to here in the Philippines. A large percentage of doctors here are trained in the USA, so their training is certainly up to date. Many nurses educated here end up working in other countries all over the world, showing that nurses from here can compete on the world scene. So, why go elsewhere when medical care is needed.
With this new Medical Tourist Visa, it really opens the doors for a huge expansion of attracting tourists who would come to have inexpensive medical treatment. It’s been a long time since I said this, but I truly believe that the Philippine Department of Tourism is on the right track with this new move! Congratulations to Secretary Alberto Lim and his team at the DoT! Good move.