Tuesday, March 24, 2009

High cost of healthcare at home brings American to Taiwan for bilateral knee surgery

Driven by the high cost of healthcare in the U.S, a patient recently travelled to Taiwan’s Min-Sheng Hospital for total knee replacement surgery, and left enthusiastic about the care and service he received.

Ken, who owns and operates a small landscaping business in Clearwater Florida, had been suffering from bad knees for nearly nine years. When the pain became such that it impaired his ability to work and earn a living, he couldn’t turn away from the only option left to him: undergo surgery and replace his ailing knees with artificial ones.

Though common and readily available in America, knee replacement surgery is also costly. In Ken’s case, a bilateral knee replacement, the cost can easily amount to over $ 70.000 (NT +/- 2.500.000). Unfortunately, like almost 50 million Americans, Ken doesn’t have medical insurance, and would be left to pay the bill by himself. As such, he belongs to that rapidly expanding category of Americans who are “too rich” to qualify for Medicare or Medicaid, but whose incomes aren’t sufficient to pay for expensive private medical insurance.

Desperately needing a treatment that he couldn’t afford, Ken decided to search for a solution outside of the United States. Having heard of Medical Travel, where people travel abroad in search of treatments that they can’t find or pay for at home, Ken used the Internet to find viable options for his case. He was soon a little overwhelmed by the number of hospitals and medical travel facilitators that offer their services on-line. Therefore, he decided to focus only on hospitals meeting international safety and quality standards, namely those that are JCI accredited.

Ken sent queries to hospitals in nearly half a dozen countries ( Costa Rica, Columbia, Spain, Singapore) including Min-Sheng Hospital in Taoyuan, Taiwan. The International Healthcare department (IHC) at Min-Sheng, that was specifically created to deal with cases like these, handled his request from start to finish.

Ken was extremely impressed by the professionalism demonstrated by the staff at Min-Sheng, and grateful for the time spent on his case. So when the time came to decide on a destination for his knee replacements, he didn’t hesitate, and chose Min-Sheng Hospital. The date for the surgery was set, and his trip to Taiwan organized.

On February 1st, Ken was met at Taoyuan International Airport by a Min-Sheng IHC staff and taken to a hotel close to the hospital. Mr. H. had requested to do some sight-seeing before his admission at the hospital, so he took part in a tour of Northern Taiwan also organized for him by the IHC. A few days later, Ken. H was admitted to the hospital and completed a series of tests before his surgery.

Although people in Taiwan are usually discharged within a week of knee replacement surgery, Ken had been told that for safety reasons, he had to wait at least three weeks before flying, and since he came to Taiwan alone, he had agreed to stay under nursing care at the hospital until his departure. His comfortable private room became his temporary new “home” and the staff at Min-Sheng his “family”. As can be expected, his stay wasn’t always a bed of roses, and his mood fluctuated, but overall Ken is extremely satisfied with the care he received in Taiwan and would recommend Min-Sheng Hospital to anyone in his situation.

Language wasn’t really a problem thanks to the effort put in by the nurses, and the multi-lingual staff at the IHC. The main problem was probably boredom. Watching TV, talking to the staff, physical therapy, reading and sitting in the hospital’s garden help to kill the time, but being confined to a hospital, with limited mobility and especially without the company of loved ones is tough on everyone, and particularly on someone who travelled half way around the world for treatment.

“Coming to Taiwan’s Min-Sheng Hospital was a no-brainer”, says Ken, “I got first class care and service for a fraction of the price I would have paid in the U.S”.
Ken not only left Taiwan with new knees and the promise of a better future, he also made a lot of new friends here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Min-Sheng and RIEI Company of Japan Sign MOU

On January 13, 2009, Min-Sheng Health Care System’s CEO Dr. Fred Yang and a co-founder of Japan’s RIEI Company, Mr. Kabasawa, jointly signed an MOU for the exchange of medical and elderly care. The agreement will also encourage elderly Japanese to visit Taiwan for recreational purposes, as well as medical travel.

RIEI Company was established in 1980 and for nearly 30 years has been engaged with the Ministry of Health and Welfare, long term recreational travel and the therapy services business। In Japan, RIEI already has 332 resident management service departments and 16 elder care centers.

The first step for the Min-Sheng Health Care System will be integrating medicine with marketing tourism. In the future, the model will continue to be extended to the Asia-Pacific region to build health care networks, with an eye on more expansion of system development, international tourism and the upgrade of eldercare facilities.

Related News Clips:
1. http://www.riei.co.jp/company/press.html
2. RIEI Co., Ltd. website.:http://www.riei.co.jp/eng/outline/e_index.html

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Min-Sheng Health Care System Continues China Expansion

Min-Sheng Health Care System’s mainland China plans continue to progress after the recent integration of Hunan’s Wang Wang Hospital and Hainan’s Second People’s Hospital। Also, Guangdong Province’s Dongguan Guanghua Hospital has recently signed an agreement to build a medical service center for Taiwanese businessmen living in the area, establishing a stronghold in China’s Pearl River Delta for Min-Sheng.

Dongguang Guanghua Hospital is located in Dongguang City, which has a high number of Taiwanese businesspeople living there। It is a 500 bed hospital that was established through a joint venture by locals and Taiwanese business people. It is also the teaching hospital of the Tong Ji School of Medicine. Min-Sheng plans to send doctors from Taiwan to Guanghua Hospital on a monthly basis in order to provide care for the Taiwanese residing in Dongguan.

Min-Sheng’s executive vice president, Professor Zhang Yangquan, pointed out that the cooperation between China and Taiwan’s resident physicians to support the mainland’s first privately run hospital will bring closer cooperation between the two sides. He added that in the future, the relationship will develop a cross-strait model for private hospital cooperation and Min-Sheng will lead Taiwan in exporting its hospital management system to the mainland.

Min-Sheng Entering into a New Era of Leadership

Min-Sheng is entering into a new era of operations management। Professor Zhang Yang-Quan will officially become the system’s executive vice president, as well as the superintendent of Min-Sheng General Hospital. Current CEO Dr. Fred Yang stated that he had accomplished everything that he set out to do as superintendent and that it was now time for him to set his sights on other goals, allowing for Professor Zhang to step in as the new superintendent.

Professor Zhang is an internationally renowned neurological medical authority, former professor at National Taiwan University School of Medicine and former director of the National Taiwan University Hospital Department of Neurology। Additionally, he assisted Min-Sheng Hospital three years ago in obtaining Taiwan’s first JCI accreditation.

Professor Zhang stated that he intends to vertically and horizontally develop Ming-Sheng Health Care System’s five branch hospitals and three care centers। In addition to implementing sound, sustainable business development, Zhang stated that the future direction of the organization will move toward the integration of the branch hospitals with every kind of professional system network, including personnel and resource sharing in order to enhance the quality of medical care.

Dr. Yang will now become the deputy general manager of the Asia Pacific Health Company where he will focus his efforts on setting up the firm’s hospital chain management platform.
Chairman Yang Min-Sheng stated that the future will bring the institutionalization of the professional management team into the operation. He also added that he was looking forward not only to Min-Sheng’s quality of medical care becoming the benchmark in Taiwan’s medical community, but also seeing its operations management become a model for the industry as well!