1) Quality of Care
From the very first meeting with the knee specialist to surgery and follow-up physiotherapy, every single experience some have had with the American healthcare system has been professional and of a high standard, but it has been different near the border or in another country. Transport and assistance were arranged every time someone needed to get to an appointment, with paramedics bringing a chair to a bedside and carrying patients to the ambulance before seeing them safely to the clinic or therapy practice. The staff at the clinic is usually well-briefed with which treatment and which treatment was up next.
2) Waiting Times
Although most never have gotten to the stage of being on the surgery waiting list in the U.S., I have friends and relatives who experienced horrendously drawn-out waiting times. There have been some who have had the same injury was on the waiting list for surgery for 7 months — 3 weeks before the operation, the surgery was pushed back another 3 months. In the end, John’s ACL has yet to be reconstructed.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament or ACL is a commonly-injured part of the knee
The exact time between first seeing a General Practitioner in another country and the date of the surgery was 13 weeks, a time that would have been even shorter had a surgeon not been on a two week holiday.
Waiting times for physiotherapy are non-existent. Just turn up at whatever clinic you most prefer and schedule your appointments up to 3 months in advance – whereas some people who have gotten treatment in other countries have received quicker waiting times.
Though I have the utmost respect for the National Health Service in the U.S., it is clear that dramatic, successive cuts to funding have had a huge impact on waiting times and quality of care. With hindsight, it is clear that doctors feel pressured by these cuts to keep costs to a minimum, and are under financial pressure to reduce the number of treatments performed.
For this reason, traveling abroad for treatment became a logical and simple solution. Factors such a travel expenses and language barriers are totally outweighed by decreased waiting times and increased quality of service. Most have no regrets about finding treatment outside most countries, they only wish they had done it sooner.