Leading US hospital targets Chinese medical tourism market

To attract more Chinese medical tourists, leading US hospital, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre has partnered with a Beijing medical tourism agency.

The non-profit hospital in Los Angeles, California, became famous in China after film star Angelina Jolie received a preventative double mastectomy at the hospital after genome testing. The tests showed she had breast cancer-prone genes of BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Spencer Koerner of Cedars-Sinai says, “We expect 250 patients from the Chinese mainland each year in three to five years. We have Chinese-speaking staff and interpretation services for patients.

The hospital has partnered with Saint Lucia Consulting, a company helping wealthy Chinese patients who seek high quality medical services overseas.

Saint Lucia will refer Chinese patients to the hospital and charge patients for services including professional translation of medical records, accommodation in the USA, and personal escorts during the treatment.

Cai Qiang of Saint Lucia stresses, “The hospital pays us nothing for referrals. ~It is always a niche market and only for a tiny part of the super rich.” Formed in 2011, the agency sends 100 patients overseas for medical treatment annually. The hospital has three other Chinese medical tourism agencies also feeding in business.

The hospital gets 1,000 international patients each year, mostly from Gulf countries including Qatar and United Arab Emirates-many for cancer treatment.

Spencer Koerner of Cedars-Sinai concludes, “The number has been rising constantly in recent years. And as more Chinese people know us we will get more patients from there. The price is the same for international patients as Americans.