Author Implores United Nations to Institute International Medical Tourism Treaty

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Flags at the United Nations. Photo by WorldIslandInfo.com/Flickr.

Flags at the United Nations. Photo by WorldIslandInfo.com/Flickr.

James R. Goldberg, Author of The American Medical Money Machine, Proposes to the United Nations a Global Medical Tourism Treaty to Protect Patients from Medical Tourism Malpractice

Patients Are Now Unprotected in The Event of Malpractice While Receiving Medical Treatment Far From Their Home Countries.

(PRWEB) 19 June 2012

James R. Goldberg, author of, The American Medical Money Machine: The Destruction of Healthcare in American and The Rise of Medical Tourism has sent a personal communiqué to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, and to US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, calling for the development of an International Treaty which will govern the growing business of Medical Tourism.

Goldberg released a statement from New York on June 12, 2012 through his publisher, Homonculus Press representative Robert Marshall: “There is a trending worldwide movement whereby people seeking reduced-cost medical treatments are traveling to countries enthusiastically promoting what they generally refer to as Medical Tourism.”

“We now have many different types of international treaties,” Goldberg suggests, including those regarding the military, pollution, trade, taxation and the like. “The concept of a Global Healthcare Treaty—specifically addressing Medical Tourism—is not without precedent. It is well worth mentioning that as the inevitable exchange of medical patients between countries occurs, having international regulations in place are relevant and necessary.”

“Many insurance companies, including US based UnitedHealthcare Group, are reimbursing medical costs incurred by their insured on these trips, provided the foreign hospital is listed in their hospital network,” Goldberg added. The author explained: “American patients, in particular, are being encouraged to travel abroad for medical treatment because of greatly reduced rates. The downside is that these foreign hospitals—many of which have been pseudo-accredited by a US Government body, the Joint Commission on Healthcare Accreditation (JC)—are being presented to the public as safe and certified. Many are not.”

Goldberg, an expert on the topic, has set out to prove how totally unregulated the business practice is and how the accreditation given by the JC is currently without any legal recourse for the patient in the event of malpractice or malfeasance. The Joint Commission of Oakbrook, Illinois, essentially sells guidelines and accreditations internationally and does not enforce, police or hold those to whom accreditations have been sold accountable for their actions. The accreditation logo has been sold by the Joint Commission to more than 400 hospitals worldwide. “Their international logo looks almost exactly like the symbol used in the US, so naturally the public perceives that the foreign accredited hospital has been vetted by the US, when in fact it has not. I call this fraud.” the author says.

“In addition,” Goldberg went on, “Medical Tourism/Exportation represents the potential for greatly increasing profits for the insurance companies while exposing patients to unregulated medical care. In other words, it’s a great deal for the insurance companies, but patients are left with no recourse should something go wrong.” Indeed, except for the laws of the country in which the malpractice occurred, many governments when pressed for action end up favoring their own nationals. The cost of litigation to receive proper compensation is almost always out of reach for the average patient. Goldberg’s Treaty proposal purports that, “in a free market place, medical outsourcing is inevitable. There are good hospitals and good doctors around the world, but without objective regulation and a means for establishing standards of enforceable safety, the less honorable can say and do as they wish without facing any consequences.”

Marshall explains the author’s personal interest in the topic saying, “Goldberg’s young son, Joshua, died on February 22, 2006 at the epicenter for Medical Tourism, Bumrungrad Hospital, in Bangkok, Thailand. His death came under highly suspicious circumstances. After having forensic experts examine Joshua’s hospital chart, many non-standard practices and outright fabrications became apparent: the hospital would not cooperate.”

UnitedHealthcare enjoys a close working relationship with Bumrungrad. After years of dealing with the Thai Police, the Thai Military, Interpol, the CIA, the US State Department and the US Ambassador to Thailand, Goldberg’s attempts to implore the government of Thailand to conduct a proper investigation were totally frustrated.

In the process, Goldberg put up a website which made all correspondence completely transparent: More than one million visits to the website were made by people from around the globe in hopes that the author’s personal situation would help others make an informed decision about seeking care at the Bumrungrad institution. His book carefully documents his journey and findings.

“In his new Treaty proposal, Goldberg is offering to personally brief the United Nations, pro bono, on the kinds of protections which should be incorporated into an international treaty for participating countries,” Marshall adds. “Countries that choose not to participate would be appropriately sanctioned and removed from what is now becoming the provision of healthcare globally.”

Details of Goldberg’s experience and extensive research into this subject are carefully supported in his book, The American Medical Money Machine, available on Amazon in paperback or Kindle, as well as through bookstores everywhere.