Panama’s Health Tourism Boom

A new kind of tourism is sweeping into Panama, but these visitors are not just coming for sun and fun. Offering first-rate health care at cut-rate prices, Panama is attracting the latest kind of traveler: the medical tourist.

Medical tourism is a rapidly growing, multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. Countries like India and Thailand have long been attracting patients from developed countries looking to escape the high prices and long waits at home, providing high-quality health care at a fraction of the price.

Panama is one of the latest countries to emerge on the health tourism scene, offering US-trained doctors, state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment, plus a distinct advantage — proximity to North America. With as many as 45 million Americans uninsured, and Canadians waiting up to two years for critical procedures, many are looking south for alternatives.

“The demand is very strong, and we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface,” says Rudy Rupak, president of Planet Hospital, a medical tourism agency researching qualified doctors and hospitals in countries around the world to perform procedures for clients who cannot afford, or wait, in their home countries.

His company recently added Panama to its list of destinations, thanks to the newly-opened Punta Pacifica hospital, an affiliate of the prestigious US hospital, John Hopkins Medicine International.

“We look for doctors who are educated in the USA, or other excellent institutions abroad such as in Canada, the UK or Europe,” explains Mr Rupak, “as well as peer review, publications over the years in their area of specialization, and patient interviews.”

“I see Panama as a strategic place, with a good location, just a five or six hour flight from the US. But the main factors are quality of doctors and the presence of a US hospital,” he says.

Add to that a beautiful setting for recovery, personalized care, short wait times and price tags 40% to 70% less than those in the US — and the allure is clear.

Dr Richard Ford, medical coordinator of Pana-Health, a group of doctors specializing in medical tourism to Panama, estimates tourists spent in approximately $5 million last year on procedures such as cosmetic surgery, in-vitro fertilization, orthopedic prostheses, dentistry and laser eye surgery.

Despite the growing trade, the Panamanian government is not yet tracking health tourism numbers, but Dr Ford says they are on the rise, pegging 2006 figures at more than one thousand, a sharp increase over previous years.

“[That] is about 35 per cent more than the previous year and 80 per cent more than the year before,” he estimates.

While these numbers might seem small, Rudy Rupak believes they are about to explode, with many health officials and policy makers in the US calling for Medicare to pay for procedures abroad, to relieve a soon-to-be overburdened health care system.

Debra Lipson, a senior health researcher speaking at an AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) forum, said outsourcing medical care could amount to big savings in the US.

According to one study, she said, “the US could save $1.4 billion annually if only one in ten US patients receives treatment for 15 low-risk medical procedures abroad.”

Many of those who migrated from Latin America are returning to their home countries to retire, she pointed out, also taking advantage of ‘more affordable aged care support and services’.

“My husband’s parents recently moved back to Panama, after spending 15 years in the US,” she recounted. “They are still among the “young-old” — not yet out of their sixties. But my mother-in-law has a neurological condition that requires constant vigilance and I sleep better at night knowing that she has reliable, affordable care.”

7 Basics For Keeping Your Company’s Data Safe

Each and every other week there is another prominent information rupture in the media. From Target to Home Depot to iCloud to JPMorgan to Snapchat to the White House-and most as of late the overwhelming assault on Sony Pictures Entertainment-there’s dependably a feature highlighting the loss of information and rupture of trust.

Be that as it may, that doesn’t mean your business must be one of them and endure the stunning $3.5 million misfortunes coming about because of a normal information rupture.

Here are seven practices and items you can receive today to stay out of the information rupture club.

1. Arm Yourself For The Dangers Inside.

Information hazards today don’t exclusively start from malevolent programmers, regardless of the fact that news features recommend something else. A late PwC study found that inside dangers and mix-ups now constitute a greater test to business security than outer ones, implying that paying little respect to size, today’s organizations must control information on capacity stages, as well as on representative and business accomplices’ gadgets and records.

2. Get The Lay Of The Area.

Ask yourself: “What is the most delicate, private information that our business holds, how is it taken care of, and who has admittance to it?” Create a spreadsheet coordinating information sorts and administrations to the representatives and business partners who can get to them. Make a point to incorporate the two most delicate sorts of information: client data and licensed innovation.

3. Parts And Authorizations.

Once you’ve distinguished your benefits, audit levels of access and on the off chance that they can be controlled by means of approach, or, even better, automatically. A critical variable to consider is whether your substance administration stage of decision permits the profundity of control executives need to set parts for every particular use case inside the organization. It’s imperative that these are refined, constraining get to and alter of essential information to approved staff.

4. Take In Your Shortcomings.

A great many people reuse the same secret word crosswise over administrations, including business related projects. At the point when a major retailer or administration supplier is broken, there is an undeniable chance that corporate messages and passwords are additionally affected. A comparable weakness as of late empowered aggressors to access a great many Dropbox accounts as outsider administrations incorporated with the item were bargained, laying a huge number of usernames and passwords powerless.

To learn in the event that this has happened some time recently, begin by heading once again to security master Troy Hunt’s site or Breach Alarm’s free instrument and sweep representatives’ email addresses through their device-their database is frequently overhauled with the most recent distributed breaks.

5. Passwords Hold The Key.

To keep a comparative episode, have a solid watchword administration strategy. Teaching workers about never reusing passwords crosswise over administrations and making more grounded passwords (go for length over assortment of characters, however) is additionally key.

Naturally, this prerequisite results in hard to recollect passwords, straining efficiency. On the off chance that conceivable, begin utilizing a watchword administration application. They’re anything but difficult to utilize, naturally create solid passwords for every administration-and, in particular, they’re secure. LastPass is a pioneer in this field.

6. Expect The Following Shellshock.

There is another critical motivation to keep focused of security news. Inside the previous year alone, two noteworthy vulnerabilities were observed to prowl in broadly utilized programming-Heartbleed and Shellshock. We can securely expect that it won’t be long before the following defenselessness is uncovered, and it’s imperative to pay consideration on the news for when they become visible-particularly if any of the product your business uses is traded off. Mass abuse of these vulnerabilities can happen in as meager as a week’s opportunity after they’re uncovered, so your business is at danger in the event that you stick around-or far more terrible, do nothing.

7. Get Your Work Done

At the point when picking administrations to execute into your business’ work process, it’s essential not to ignore unadulterated security for profitability advantages, a simple mix-up in today’s efficiency and-cloud-crazed environment. Do your due determination, and make a point to run with administrations that are prescribed by security experts and your industry’s significant affiliations, which frequently distribute rules important to your business sector and administrative environment. It’s likewise vital to ensure the administrations that you choose to run with incorporate protection strategies and sureties that will educate you when their frameworks are ruptured.

Medicare For All: 6 Questionable Assumptions

Whenever, some elected official/ politician proposes legislation, which he and his supporters, claim, is ground – breaking, the so – called, political spin – masters, begin to dominate most of the discussion. Even when there’s a quality purpose/ intention, the messaging is usually incomplete, often, lacking the degree of detail, necessary, to determine, if it’s worthwhile, or there may be a better approach. Always beware when the sponsors declare, it’s the only approach, and be certain to re – check any financial predictions/ forecasts, they give! This is certainly the case, in the proposal, often referred to, as, Medicare – For – All, where the issue, relates to the best way, to provide health, and medical care, for everyone. However, even for those, who, strongly believe, health care, should be treated as a right, instead of merely a privilege, which some may take advantage of (as I do), should be wary, when a less – than fully explained, populist piece of legislation, is introduced, rather than one, which might be a little more pragmatic! With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, 6 questionable assumptions, which need more detail, and analysis.

1. Everyone likes their Medicare (No one complains): It may be popular to state, since everyone likes their Medicare, and/ or, no one complains about it, but, the existing program, itself, has several challenges! One pays (for their entire employed – life) taxes, directed for this benefit. That, approximately, 1.3% tax, plus, once, one reaches, age 65, and eligibility for benefits, must pay a monthly premium of approximately $135 per month. It’s important to understand it still doesn’t cover everything, as the proposed legislation, claims it will, but, only 80% (after the annual deductible) of the Medicare – negotiated fee. One must, either, purchase a Supplement Plan (the best one costs over $300 per month), or an Advantage Plan (which costs less, or nothing, but works more line an HMO). In the former, it’s also necessary to purchase a Part D Prescription Plan, but this is usually included in the letter. The bottom line is, while it’s a good program, and a wonderful safety – net, it is still flawed, and has had many financial challenges, over the years!

2. Government efficiency (versus private): Why, all of a sudden, should we believe, our government is generally efficient? Remember, this is the same government, which has, on many occasions, clearly demonstrated, it is often, inefficient! In addition, what protections will there be, to separate political agendas, etc, from quality health care, when the system is controlled, via the Federal government?

3. What happens to existing Health Insurance company employees?: Estimates state, there are approximately 300,000 employees, of the private companies, which presently sell health insurance. What happens to them, if a public system, takes over, and the private one, is eliminated?

4. It will cost less, overall: Politicians love to pick – fights against unpopular opponents (such as insurance companies). One of the claims is, while our taxes will go up, overall, there will be a savings, because of the costs and profits, public corporations face and need. One proposal is, for employers to pay 7.5% of every employee’s pay, and, on an average salary of $50,000, would amount to $3,750 per employee, versus private insurance, which costs them approximately $8,000. In addition, an additional tax of, approximately 5%, will be paid by employees ($2,500). They are assuming, a public system, will be able to negotiate lower overall costs, including fees, prescription prices, etc. Of course, since one will not have to pay individual premiums, they can suggest, it will reduce costs. However, I question, whether the statement made, which is corporations, will be willing and able to pay higher salaries/ wages, by paying less for these coverages. If you believe that, you are much more optimistic than I am!

5. No co – payments: Senator Sanders states his plan will cover everything and have no co – payments. However, what might be the ramifications, in terms of utilization (and thus, waiting times), if this occurred?

6. Prescription costs: Prescriptions will be included! But, which ones, and, unless, there is a significant change, in terms of regulations, how will this be done? How about patents, non – generic drugs, etc?

If it seems too good, don’t be surprised if it is no entirely accurate! Issues such as the impact of lower fees paid, on hospitals, physicians, other suppliers, etc, must be adequately addressed, because, otherwise, we risk fewer doctors, who accept this, and, thus, longer wait – times, and less overall quality care. Don’t cite what happens in far smaller markets, etc, because, our nation’s population, etc, differs, from most of these others!

Preventing Fleas and Heartworms From Effecting Pets

Heartworms and fleas are parasites that can result in critical problems in pets. The good news is that it is now possible to prevent these parasites by utilizing safe, effective and easy-to-administer treatments. It is a well-known fact that heartworm disease can damage the lungs, heart, and other related blood vessels. This disease is spread through an infected mosquito bite. In dogs, heartworm disease is treatable, but it is very painful and expensive. While there are no authorized products for heartworm treatments in cats. Fleas are bloodsucking parasites that transmit tapeworms can result in flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). Hence, it is advised to prevent heartworms and fleas in pets.

Some facts about Heartworms

  • Heartworm disease affects dogs, cats and a maximum of thirty other mammal species.
  • This disease spreads through parasitic worms residing in the major lung vessels and at times in the hearts.
  • This disease can cause wide array of problems affecting the heart, liver, lungs and kidneys of the pets. In some extreme cases, it can even lead to death.
  • In cats, heartworms can result in respiratory disorder that imitates feline asthma. But there is no approved treatment of heartworms in cats.
  • Heartworm disease is 100% preventable but still there are many pets who are diagnosed with this disease every year.
  • There are more than 25% heartworm infected cats that live indoors.

Prevention of Heartworm disease

It is recommended to give Sentinel Spectrum as a heartworm preventive treatment for dogs. It is one of the best treatments available for dogs that provides 100% heartworm prevention guarantee, along with prevention of four other intestinal parasites including: hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms and whipworms. It even aids in preventing fleas from laying eggs, thus controlling flea infestations.

Fleas can lead to critical problems in dogs and cats. Some of the adverse reactions of fleas on pets include: continuous itching and scratching, hair loss, scabs, skin damage and skin infection. It is also known as Flea Allergy Dermatitis (FAD).

Some facts about fleas

  • Fleas can not only affect pets, but also human beings.
  • Fleas can transmit tapeworms to pets and people.
  • They play a significant role in spreading cat-scratch fever disease between cats and humans.
  • Fleas can suck lots of blood from the pets that it can result in weakening and even life-grievous anemia.
  • Fleas can be seen nearly anywhere in the year. But they are less prevalent in colder months.

Prevention of fleas

Advantage is one of the best flea preventive treatment available in the market. It is completely waterproof monthly treatment which enables dogs from going into the water without the effect of the treatment to wear out. It aids in preventing flea allergy dermatitis (FAD). Flea bites are prevented within 5 minutes of administration of the treatment. It also kills 100% chewing lice within a week of administration and is effective for a full month. It kills adult fleas within half a day of administration and 99% flea larvae within 20 minutes of administration.

The combination of Advantage and Sentinel Spectrum is the easiest way to safeguard your pets from these pesky parasites.

Know When to Hold Them – Caroline Edmonds and Her Battle With Follicular Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

January 8th 2009 is the day that Caroline Edmonds’s life changed forever. It was one week away from her being diagnosed with Follicular Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Grade 1 stage 4, a form of Cancer. Caroline along with her husband Gary have been running a Graphic Design business; Edmonds and Hunt Advertising in the Hertford area for over twenty eight years. They have one son, Sam who is currently busy with his G.C.S.E.’s.

Caroline had been treated for a stomach ulcer for many years, occasionally suffering from terrible pains and then suffering bouts of nausea. It all came to a head that Thursday; Caroline had severe pains all day and was unable to sleep. Gary took her to the out of hour’s Doctor who then referred her to the QE2 hospital in Welwyn Garden City, where she received morphine and was sent home. After a sleepless night of being violently ill, she returned to the Doctor the next morning, who then referred her back to the hospital. She was finally admitted to hospital not knowing that she was to spend the next two weeks in there, including her 47th Birthday 3 days after being admitted.

Caroline says “I felt like a fraud, as between bouts of pains and nausea, I felt fine”. During her first week in the hospital she underwent test after test; CT scans and what felt like every blood test known to man. It was in the afternoon of Wednesday, 14th of January that the Consultant informed her that she had a suspected malignant Lymphoma and needed to undergo surgery. On the night before her operation on Friday the 16th she said “The pains all over my body were so severe, I think every lymph node had enlarged. I really thought I was going to die”. She had all the nurses writing letters to her family as she feared that she would not make it through the ordeal.

During surgery they removed the tumour, surrounding tissue and part of her intestine. A week later Caroline received the news that she had been dreading; it was what they had suspected and further tests showed the cancer had also spread to her bone marrow and chest.

All this came as a blow to Caroline and her family, being self employed if she was ill she would not be able to earn money to help support the family. If this was not enough of a shock for the Edmonds’ to deal with, they also tragically lost Gary’s father the day after Caroline came home from the hospital. The family now not only had the worry of Caroline’s health, but also had to sort out all the logistics which comes with a bereavement.

On the 1st of April she started her first of eight sessions of chemo therapy, one every three weeks for a whole day. One of Caroline’s side effects was hair thinning; fortunately she didn’t lose it all. She was also put on steroids. “During the first week after each session of chemo I had to take twenty four tablets a day, gradually reducing until the next session where it all started again” she said. The course of chemo therapy finished on August the 28th and a month later she was told that it had been successful. The Doctors said that if she could get through the next year and it returned they would put her on the same chemo therapy treatment again. This form of cancer is not curable, but is a controllable one. Should the cancer return before September 2010 they would have to put her on a far more aggressive treatment.

Throughout the pain and stress of being diagnosed and treated for Follicular Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, she tried to carry on as normal as possible. Caroline is an active member of her son’s school PTA, Friends of Sele School. She attended every possible meeting and helped out at the various fundraising events. She is also a Councillor for Bengeo Parish Council.

To make matters worse as Caroline was recovering and finally able to return to her business full time, the recession hit. Suddenly after being in business for so long and never having to look for work, she had to look at reinventing the way she does business.

First thing she did was join the world of social media and online marketing. She designed a web page, started using Twitter and created a Facebook page. She recently also started blogging. “Times are tough out there for graphic designers, but you have to look at what is trending and embrace it and move with the times” she said.

Caroline is an example for us all, and is proof that even if you are dealt a bad hand, it does not mean that you have to lose the game.