A new cross-border medical collaboration between the International Institute of Metabolic Medicine (IIMM) in Tijuana, Mexico and UC San Diego Health in the USA seeks to improve safety and standards of care on both sides.
IIMM is a new three storey hospital in the northern border city of Tijuana. It specialises in weight loss surgery and is now collaborating with the weight-loss surgery centre in UC San Diego Health.
Though horror stories abound involving medical tourists who have gone to Mexico for weight-loss procedures, backers of this new collaboration say medical tourism is here to stay.
Cost is usually the main determining factor for medical tourists deciding to cross the border for procedures, but some people travel into Mexico to receive procedures they wouldn’t qualify for in the United States.
Many American patients don’t qualify for insurance or they don’t have insurance, so they travel to Mexico but face a lottery on the quality of surgery. The FBI is currently investigating the death of a Long Beach woman after several people were injured during cosmetic surgeries at a clinic in Tijuana in 2021. The Baja California state government has allowed the man who runs the clinic to continue practising surgeries, despite him not being a surgeon.
The new IIMM/UC San Diego Health collaboration allows those patients to go to IIMM and have surgery for a lower price, in a safe environment.
Joint Commission International accredits the IIMM surgical centre. It will follow the guidelines of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery.
The hospital in Tijuana is focused on education, training and advancing surgical techniques, as well as providing quality patient care.