MEDICAL TOURISM – THE 5 STAR WAY

 Arriving at a hospital for medical treatment is never anyone’s idea of fun. But imagine this style of arrival. A valet parks your car while you are escorted to the International Business Lounge. Here a concierge handles your registration. A porter looks after your bags. Then you settle into a VIP suite with two bathrooms, a separate bedroom for your partner, a business room and a dining room.

This is luxury medical tourism. And it is already booming.

Planet Boomer has been doing some legwork for you and discovered Prince Court Medical Center in Kuala Lumpur has just been ranked as the number one hospital for medical tourists for two years in a row by the Medical Travel Quality Alliance.

Medical tourism is impacting all major Asian centers.  Hospitals like Gleneagles in Singapore and Penang, Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok and dozens of others around the region all vie for the coveted status of a spot on the top ten list of the Medical Travel Quality Alliance. It guarantees a steady stream of well-heeled patients from the underserviced parts of the region (Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia) and all over the world. The ‘well heeled’ part is largely due to transportation costs as these facilities, with few exceptions, are inexpensive by any Western standard.

At Planet Boomer we take care to consider the quality of medical services in every country and every destination we review. Given we are writing primarily for a group of semi or full time retirees, we have always thought this is one of the key criteria for picking a destination that may be your new home. Who doesn’t want top quality medical care, at an affordable price, within easy reach of their home?

For two straight years the number one pick by MTQA has been Prince Court Medical Center in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia.

This 277 bed private hospital in the center of KL is more like a 5 star hotel than any hospital we can think of. There is concierge and valet service and every patient is assigned a Customer Relations Officer.  After a painless registration a porter escorts you and your bags to your room.

And what rooms they are!

There are no wards in Prince Court, only private rooms ranging from smartly done basic to super lux. The price of a very nice standard room is $90 and a VIP suite will cost you $1,000 a night.

There are options in between – a Junior Suite and a Suite - but every option, for every budget, is top quality.  At your request, you may even choose a room with a stunning view of the KLCC Twin Towers or the view of Royal Selangor Golf Club.

The medical center’s ‘Galleria’ eating area offers everything from coffee shops to formal white table cloth service and a mini shopping mall fulfills the retail therapy part of your stay.

Medical charges are set by the government, which means that, other than room and ancillary costs, the price you pay for care is on the same scale as a public hospital. That said, like its counterparts in Bangkok and Singapore, you can be made to feel that money is the prime motivator here.  From deposits to bill payment they are quick to put an invoice in your hands.

It is not well known that Prince Court is owned by Petronas, the giant, state owned, Malaysian Oil Company, which is regarded as THE major cash cow for the government. The hospital facility cost nearly $200 million to build and runs at an incredible and annually escalating loss totaling $40 million dollars since 2008.  One has to wonder if the standards are simply too high or if this is another example of Malay government inefficiency. After all, $40 million is a blip on the Petronas balance sheet.

Either way, you aren’t footing the bill and Prince Court provides 5 star care that puts it number one on the MTQA list for medical tourism hospitals in the region and the world.

The Top 10 World’s Best Hospitals for Medical Tourists™ for 2014 are:

1. Prince Court Medical Center, Malaysia

2. Asklepios Klinik Barmbek, Germany

3. Fortis Hospital Bangalore, India

4. Anadolu Medical Center, Turkey

5. Wooridul Spine Hospital, Korea

6. Shouldice Hospital, Canada

7. Gleneagles Hospital, Singapore

8. Clemenceau Medical Center, Lebanon

9. Bumrungrad International, Thailand

10. Mediclinic Morningside, South Africa.

And here are some useful links:

Prince Court Medical Center:   www.princecourt.com

Medical Travel Quality Alliance : www.mtqua.com

Gleneagles Penang:  www.gleneagles-penang.com

Gleneagles Singapore: www.gleneagles.com.sg

Bumrungrad International Hospital Bangkok: www.bumrungrad.com