Over the past twenty five years, the Eastern European country of Poland has experienced strong economic growth stemming from a prolonged period of peace, a democratic government, and hard-working people. Its transformation led to its membership in the European Union in 2004. Since then the country’s economic and political stability has continued, allowing it to weather the economic downturn beginning in 2008. It has a population of approximately 40 million people with 2 million people living in Warsaw, its capital. The country has a large rural population that contributes to Poland’s status as the breadbasket of Europe.
Polish healthcare is dominated by the national public system that is state-financed and the National Health Fund (NFZ) that supports it. Access to the public system is good but waiting lists for non-emergency procedures can be long. A strong private system is in place alongside the public system and many people opt to have private insurance as a supplement to their healthcare choices. Healthcare professionals are well trained and deliver a good standard of care. The public hospitals are minimalist in amenities while private hospitals offer a higher standard of comfort.
Private Polish providers with some government support have entered the medical tourism market touting low cost, high quality care including dental, cosmetic and IVF procedures as well as complex medical care. With its central European location and low cost airfares to attractive destinations like Krakow, Poland is an attractive option for patients in search of medical and dental care. The European Union Directive on Cross Border Healthcare has encouraged Polish providers to seek patients from countries other than their neighbors to increase the number of medical travelers. While countries in the European Union are an excellent source of medical travelers, Polish providers want to explore their cultural ties to the United States to attract medical tourists from that country.
Medical Tourism Poland: How can Polish providers succeed in attracting patients from the United States?
Acting on behalf of a group of private Polish healthcare providers, the Trade and Investment Section of the Consulate General of Poland in New York contracted with Medical Tourism Training to create a report to evaluate the US market as a target for medical tourists. The report detailed an overview of the characteristics of the US medical tourism market, an overview of the healthcare and insurance systems, the impact of regulations including the Affordable Care Act (ACA or “Obamacare”), as well as opportunities for Polish providers in the US market.
This comprehensive report educated Polish healthcare providers on the US market and set a path for them to follow to secure US medical tourists.
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