27 December 2005

Health care in Thailand

So I just spent some time seeing my doctor. I went in to get the results from some blood tests. Those results, as it turned out, pointed to a possible respiratory problem, so he decided to refer me to a pulmonologist, who talked with me for a bit, looked at the test results, and sent me for some pulmonary tests. I'm going to take some medication for a week, and then we'll do the tests again and see if there's any change.

Total elapsed time today, from when the shuttle bus picked me up, including two consultations (one unscheduled) and the lung tests, until the shuttle dropped me off? One hour, forty minutes. Total cost, including meds? $168.22. And this is at a fully-accredited hospital, one of the best in Asia. The doctors are US board-certified. The people are even polite and friendly.

How is this possible? It reflects the generally lower costs here. Salaries are much lower, buildings and land are cheaper, and (I expect) litigation costs are much lower. And it should be noted that very few Thais could afford this.

Still, the excellent care, and low costs, are why more than 350,000 foreigners will be treated at that hospital this year.

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