The same study reveals that the most active Malaysian medical destinations are Penang, Malacca and Johor Bahru—with Kuala Lumpur showing a considerable increase.
According to Frost & Sullivan, an international growth partnership company with long experience in Malaysia, medical tourism revenue in the country is estimated to reach $590 million by the end of next year.
This has prompted two of the premier Malaysian medical facilities—Gleneagles Intan and Pantai Medical Group, both in Kuala Lumpur—to set up international patient departments specifically designed towards admitting and treating foreigners.
Dr. K. Kulaveerasingam, chairman of the Malaysian committee on database and medical tourism, is convinced that “even the economic slowdown will have little impact on Malaysia.” He foresees a 15 percent increase on medical receipts for the current year.
Everything Malaysia offers will awe those considering medical treatment here. English-speaking, foreign-educated doctors and staff are eminently qualified, with access to state-of-the-art facilities equipment and ultra-modern diagnostic and therapeutic centers.
Medical tourists will find that most Malaysian private hospitals offer accommodations ranging from comfortable rooms supervised by full-time nurses, to luxurious suites manned by personal butlers. Most provide room and board for traveling companions.
In the United States, MedRetreat, based in Vernon Hills, Il. and with its strong ties to Malaysia, may be the premier American-owned and -operated medical tourism company.
The company is a crucial bridge to healthcare for those seeking treatment overseas. Its affiliated facilities in Malaysia are among the best. MedRetreat also operates in 10 countries, from Argentina to Turkey, and from India to Mexico.
Patrick Marsek, MedRetreat’s managing director, says, “Malaysia has been a very popular medical travel destination for [our] clients since 2005. We’ve been able to best guarantee successful outcomes by offering service to Penang and Kuala Lumpur throughJoint Commission International-accredited hospitals like the Penang Adventist Hospital, a member of the Adventist Health Network based in the U.S., and Gleneagles Hospital, a member of the prestigious Parkway Group located in Singapore.”
According to Marsek, Malaysia is very well qualified to accept medical travelers from North America for two primary reasons: English is widely spoken and its highly qualified surgeons have received training in either the U.S., the United Kingdom or Australia.
MedRetreat also uses first-class accommodations for patients and their families during the recuperation period.
“As far as post-op accommodations are concerned,” he adds, “some of the best hotels in Southeast Asia are in Malaysia—from the quaint and charming Eastern Oriental, established in 1884, to the newly built G Hotel, featuring a contemporary, nouveau style. Malaysia has comfortable options for everyone.”
He is convinced that Malaysia “and the value it provides,” will remain a popular medical travel destination for years to come.
But perhaps the most appealing part of Malaysia is its wonders. Patients have ample opportunities to bask in beach resorts, explore the country, or just spend a relaxing recuperation period in modern, pampering health facilities.
Malaysia’s government-managed medical tourism program emphasizes that treatment should focus primarily on recovery, but that it should also be an “enriching experience for the medical traveler.”
A look at some of the leading medical institutions catering to foreigners in Malaysia reveals this to be so.
Adhering to the guidelines set by the Health Ministry, Malaysia Health Care bills itself as “a one-stop destination for all medical tourism needs.”
It’s one of the leading facilities in the country rivaling—and often exceeding—those in more developed countries. It relies on top-notch hospitals working alongside travel specialists to provide what it calls “treatment holidays.”
Aside from general surgery, Malaysia Health Care has long been a trendsetter in cardiology, gastroenterology, orthopedics, ophthalmology and even cosmetic procedures.
Another facility earning sterling marks in treating foreigners is Wellness Visit, with eight healthcare facilities specializing in complete care.
It boasts of solid partnerships with travel agents to tailor packages for medical tourists. These include a wide choice of facilities for medical procedures and an equal number of destinations to make recuperation a pleasant experience.
The cost will appeal to Americans burdened by soaring health costs. For example, a $130,000 heart bypass operation runs approximately $12,000 in Malaysia, while a $40,000 knee replacement in the U.S. is a mere $8,000 in Wellness Visit facilities.
Those are staggering savings—as staggering as the beauty within Malaysia.