Patients from other U.S. states and countries are visiting Columbia, MO for specialty care. Because of this development, Mayor Brian Treece initiated a task force to establish Columbia as one of the main medical tourism destinations in the United States.
After getting information from Missouri Health Care, Boone Hospital Center, orthopedic surgical centers, hoteliers and other healthcare services, the potential for Columbia to become one of the main medical tourism destinations in the U.S. was realized¹.
In an article from the Columbia Daily Tribune, James Cook, director of operations for the Mizzou Bio Joint Center, reported that patients from Brazil and Poland traveled to Missouri this year to have BioJoint implants. Instead of artificial joint replacements, the BioJoint Center provides regenerative biological cartilage procedures. It is healthcare advancements such as these and others that have been known to draw in out-of-town-patients.
The goal of the task force is to support and improve healthcare services and the entire patient experience. Also reported by the Tribune, Guy Collier, task force chairman, reported that the task force would help to determine the community’s best health care and specialty services and subsequently develop an aggressive marketing campaign.
In launching the task force, Mayor Treece asked the members to make recommendations on the following topics, in order to get prepared for incoming medical tourists .
1. Best areas to target for new healthcare jobs
2. Marketing Columbia’s key sub-specialty medicine areas
3. Coordination between hospitals and hotels/short-term housing options
4. Airport improvements, additional routes to improve access for out-of- town patients
5. Improve on public transportation and special-needs transportation for out-of-towners
In addition to the voluntary support of the task force members, the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau will also offer a variety of resources to help further the growth of this sector.
In an article by KOMU.com, Megan McConachie, CVB Marketing and Communications Manager said, “We focus on lots of different types of tourism here, and so adding medical tourism to that lineup is a really great opportunity for this city.”