In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
We here at Retire Early Lifestyle
like to keep you up to date with usable information on Medical
Tourism. Prices of medical care and health insurance can be a
challenge to retirement dreams, and Medical Travel is a workable
answer for many.
Bolick and his partner, Bryan Clark are the owners of
MediTravel Solutions in Jalisco, Mexico. Read below for answers to your
Medical Tourism questions.
Lifestyle: David, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with
us. Could you tell us a little about your background?
Most of my work has been in the field of translating/interpreting, proof-reading
and teaching English as a second language. I’ve also traveled a fair bit, have
lived in seven different South American countries and visited extensively in
three others. After a scary bout with a debilitating idiopathic respiratory
ailment in Brazil in 1990 I took up running and started taking health more
REL: What was
your motivation to begin your business of MediTravel Solutions?
DB: When I needed
the services of an orthopedic surgeon here in Mexico, I was impressed by the
combination of professionalism and very personal care that I was given. I also
regularly volunteered to help as an interpreter for others who had medical and
dental needs, and saw almost universal satisfaction with the treatment and care
they received. So when a friend approached me with the idea of joining forces
with another facilitator and offering our services to a wider market, it just
made good common sense.
When I was a very young boy and
people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said I wanted
to be a doctor, but a traumatic trip to the emergency room when I
was 12 nixed those plans! I wound up studying literature and my
career took a different tack, but now through medical travel
facilitation I feel I have an opportunity to bring those earlier
dreams into sync with the communication skills I acquired as an
adult by acting as a cultural bridge and helping bring an awesome
supply to what is obviously a great demand.
REL: How long have you been
DB: Although my business
partner Bryan Clark and I have both been providing facilitation
services for several years, we first began doing the groundwork for
building MediTravel Solutions as an official business enterprise in
the beginning of 2011.
What were the biggest challenges you faced?
The 24-hour day and the seven-day week! There was so much to do and
learn. An incredible amount of research was needed as we learned the
ropes of doing business in Mexico while at the same time visiting
and getting to know the area hospitals until we felt confident that
we had learned what we needed to know and were prepared to begin
offering medical travel packages based on the areas of excellence of
the individual hospitals.
We have been
fortunate to have met many helpful people along the way. Very early
on in our venture, we got involved with the
Jalisco Medical tourism Cluster. Having had the benefit of
working closely with the administrators of the cluster and several
consultants who were brought in to advise the cluster hospitals has
provided us with a wealth of experience and knowledge, and
reinforced the conviction that we are providing an invaluable
REL: We have been
Medical Tourism for two decades now, long before it became a
common topic of discussion. Do you find that people still balk at the idea of
traveling to a foreign country to receive medical care?
DB: There is a
huge amount of misinformation and negative preconceptions to overcome, and the
comfort zone has a stronger gravitational pull than the planet Jupiter!
acquainted with the first class attention and treatments available at such
affordable prices, when we first got started, we thought the whole world would
beat a path to our door, clamoring for our services. We have had to accept the
reality though, that this choice is simply not for everybody. The majority are
not going to venture out. I imagine you discovered a similar phenomenon when you
retired at 38 and were surprised to find how few followed suit. But those few
who do take you up on your offer make all your efforts more than worth it. I
dare say we’re just a bit ahead of the curve, and increasingly more people will
follow this trend.
of Illinois, with the DVRobot
What do you find to be the biggest fear that prevents people from
utilizing Medical Tourism?
think it’s twofold.
My dad would
often say, “If something seems too good to be true, then it probably
is.” People are so inured to advertising’s exaggerated claims and
have seen so many scams that it’s hard not to send Medical Tourism’s
promises to the spam folder without serious consideration. And in
our case the sensational press has pretty effectively gotten most
people north of the border to believe that if they came here they’d
get kidnapped, mowed down in drug cartel crossfire, or wake up after
anesthesia to discover that they’d been relieved of one of their
kidneys or part of their liver without their consent!
Many who are
otherwise well informed actually believe—or are genuinely spooked
by—stuff like that.
How do you counter those fears?
One of my favorite sound bites is based on actual U.S. State Department
statistics: “A North American is more likely to be struck by lightning than to
become a victim of drug-related violence on a trip to Mexico.”
I also like to enlighten
people about the truly first world reality of modern-day Mexico, the 14th
largest economy in the world and growing robustly—the second fastest growing
economy in the Western Hemisphere and nipping at the heels of number one,
Brazil. It will probably overtake Brazil soon, if it hasn’t already.
Trade between Mexico and
the US reached 473 billion dollars by the end of 2012, a historic value in
bilateral relations. This is the third consecutive year this number increased
and signifies a 0.9% growth, compared to 2011.
And in the area of
medicine, Mexico was the 11th exporter worldwide of medical equipment in 2008
and is the largest exporter of pharmaceuticals in Latin America.
Autonomous University of Guadalajara's Faculty of Medicine has over 14,000
graduates practicing medicine in all 50 states of the U.S.A.
A “failed state” doesn’t
turn out stats like that, and given such a backdrop, one would think pretty
decent medical attention could be obtained here.
I also like to encourage
folks to talk with or read people’s blogs who actually live in or have visited
Mexico, and then conduct their own calm, non-slanted appraisal of the situation
without the popular presuppositions.
Reduce your spending footprint. Increase your lifestyle and
What services does MediTravel Solutions offer?
We work with the hospitals of the
Jalisco Medical Tourism Cluster, ten of the top private
hospitals in Guadalajara, who collectively offer over 70 different
surgical medical procedures.
Once we know
what procedure you are interested in we can put you in touch with a
doctor and a hospital with that specialty, often offering you a
choice among more than one. If you decide to come to Mexico for
treatment, we can help with travel arrangements if you wish, and
secure lodging for you at reduced rates, as well as arrange tours
and excursions to complement your trip. Your own personal health
service coordinator will meet you at the airport, take you to your
hotel and to all medical visits plus be on hand for medical
With Veronica Luna, Real San
What makes you different than other Medical Concierge sites that
offer Medical Tourism services?
Ours is a personalized, boutique type service. We live and work here in
Guadalajara and the nearby
Lake Chapala area. We’ve been here for seven years
and have been able to help many with their medical and dental needs. As members
of the communities where we live we are personally invested in the area. We’re
not just farming you out to someone we don’t know in a place we’ve never been.
Tell us a little about the staff of doctors with whom you work. Do they speak
English? Where have they been trained? Does a patient need to speak Spanish in
order to take advantage of the medical services you offer?
Most of the doctors we work with speak English and have received their training
here in Mexico as well as in the best medical facilities of the world. Many of
them have conducted research in their respective professions and are highly
regarded authorities. A patient need not be a Spanish speaker to benefit from
The state of Jalisco,
aside from being the birthplace of
Tequila and the Mariachi, is also known for
its artists. Among the most famous, muralist Jose Clemente Orozco was born here,
as was guitarist Carlos Santana. Surgery and dentistry are not generally
regarded as art forms, but in my experience with different doctors and dentists
here, I’ve seen talent, a love for detail and a passion for excellence that
reminds me of the same creative artistic dedication I’ve seen in poets,
musicians, painters and dancers.
What role does the patient’s primary care physician play?
The role of a patient’s primary care physician is crucial, as he or she will not
only need to be consulted before a procedure can be carried out, helping
ascertain in communication with the specialist here that the patient is truly in
need of and a candidate for the treatment in question, but they will also be key
in any follow-up attention afterwards. Receiving medical treatment abroad ought
not be an interruption to one’s normal medical care but rather an enhancement to
it, providing treatment that would be unavailable or prohibitively expensive at
home, and then continuing with one’s customary healthcare upon return.
What about the hospitals that you utilize in your business? You know that people
will ask if they are of similar quality that they can find in the States or
All of the hospitals in the Jalisco Medical Tourism Cluster are certified by
Mexico’s General Health Board, whose requirements are 80-90% homologous with
those of the
Joint Commission International. A Cluster member hospital was chosen to be
the official provider of medical services to participants in the Panamerican
Games in 2011, as well as the hospital designated for the visits to this city by
the Presidents of The United States and of Mexico.
Do not let
Fear make your decisions for you. Risk has a price and so does security.
MHA PhD, founder and CEO of
The Mercury Healthcare Companies, has worked for over 30 years
in the fields of health and medical travel and has inspected
hospitals in major cities on five continents, including Guadalajara,
near the favorite expat retirement area of Lake Chapala.
I served as
her interpreter during her visit to the Cluster hospitals and asked
her for her assessment. This is what she said: “From a
technology, quality, safety, and customer service orientation, many
of the hospitals in Guadalajara are on a par with some of the better
hospitals I’ve inspected in the USA and abroad."
What makes your team of doctors and hospitals different than what someone may
find “back home?”
One word—time. Doctors have time for you—time to listen, time to answer your
questions, time to get to know you. The Mexican medical landscape is not a
minefield of litigation threats, so doctors have not been conditioned to
practice “defensive medicine,” asking for every conceivable study and test
before going ahead with a procedure. Instead they can simply rely on their
professional training and experience and recommend what they deem necessary.
This also translates into more time for you. And if they feel a procedure is not
truly warranted, they’ll tell you that too.
What is included in the prices you quote? Are there any hidden fees? I don't
think people would welcome surprises like that. Do you have payment plans or
must patients pay up front?
Our quote covers the total cost of the treatment, which includes hospitalization
costs, doctor’s fees, medication administered in the hospital, all operating
room related charges and any medical devices required for the procedure. Payment
for the procedure and our local transportation and translation services is
generally required in advance, unless some other arrangement with an insurance
or finance company has been made.
Some things are not
included in the cost of treatment, such as medications prescribed upon discharge
from the hospital, massage sessions or other post-op follow-up therapy, since
this varies from patient to patient, but we try to give a ball park estimate of
what those will be.
And then, of course,
lodging and food and any extras are also calculated in addition to the cost of
It’s one thing to have a crown or dental implant done through Medical Tourism.
But what if a patient has a serious condition like cancer or a heart issue? What
sort of medical procedures are provided through MediTravel Solutions?
As I said above, the Jalisco Medical Tourism Cluster hospitals offer over 70
surgical procedures, ranging from open-heart surgery to the latest in cancer
treatment. They also offer a wide variety of specialized studies, with the best
imaging equipment and laboratory capabilities.
Who does follow up care? What happens if “something goes wrong?” Do your doctors
work with the doctors of the patient back in their home country?
Referring back to what we said about the primary care physician, before deciding
on a course of treatment or a surgical procedure, the treating physician is as
certain as possible that it will be successful. The patient returns to his or
her home country with a full medical record of everything that took place and is
encouraged to stay in touch with the doctor who performed the procedure and
maintain close communication between him/her and the patient’s primary care
Does someone stay in the hospital after their procedure or do you offer a place
for recuperation? What if a spouse or other loved one wants to accompany the
patient? Where do they stay?
Most hospital stays are for a day or two, and then the patient can go to any of
several hotels, B&Bs or spas for recuperation. A spouse or loved one can
generally stay with her for no extra charge.
REL: What is
the patient’s responsibility in receiving this medical care in a foreign
Since the treating physician here has no previous experience with the patient,
he needs as accurate a picture as possible of the condition to be remedied. The
patient should therefore be completely transparent with regards to his or her
medical history and present condition, and provide as much as he or she can in
terms of previous test results, etc. Just as his or her primary care physician
needs to be kept in the loop, so the physician here needs to be fully informed.
If someone is interested in your services or would like to know more, how can
they contact you?
You can email us at
firstname.lastname@example.org, or if you'd like to chat, we can be reached
via Skype at meditravelsolutions_mex . Also, please visit our
We at Retire Early
Lifestyle would like to thank David for his time and willingness to share his
insight and professional opinion on the topic of Medical Tourism.
For more information on
Medical Tourism, see our
About the Authors
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are
recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on
topics of finance, medical tourism and world travel. With the wealth of
information they share on their award winning website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com,
they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since
1991. They wrote the popular books, The
Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your
Retirement Dream IS Possible available on their website
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their time, and who doesn’t
want to mindlessly follow the crowd.