Incheon Green-lights Hospital for Medical Tourists

      September 20, 2011 10:21

      A new medical center catering exclusively to foreign patients will open early next year at Inha University in Incheon, west of Seoul, to meet the rising number of medical tourists flooding into the country.

      "We plan to build a comprehensive medical clinic near Incheon International Airport that will treat foreign patients," a spokesperson for the university's affiliated hospital said on Monday.

      The medical center will be built in an international business district on Yeongjong Island just minutes away from the airport. It will be located close to the island's Hyatt Regency Hotel and will offer cosmetic surgery, dermatology and stem cell treatments, as well as medical check ups and Oriental herbal remedies. The center will treat foreigners on short-term visits by exploiting its proximity to the airport.

      It will be the first medical center to open in Korea catering exclusively to foreign patients. Until now, hospitals and clinics in the country have used existing facilities to treat foreigners, but many have changed their strategies due to the surging number of patients from overseas who come to Korea to enjoy cheaper yet high-quality medical treatment.

      Inha University Hospital seeks to market its services to patients from the U.S. and Middle East, as well as China, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong, where Korea's reputation has been on the rise due to the popularity of its exported cultural products.

      At the planned center, around 110 medical doctors and nurses will offer one-stop medical check-ups that take between 30 minutes to two hours for passengers transiting through Incheon International Airport. It will also offer a spa, diet programs and a beauty clinic for male patients.

      The center will also be open to some Korean nationals, due to a regulation that requires all hospitals to provide its services to citizens who subscribe to the National Health Insurance program.

      "We plan on creating a model that promotes our national strengths by tapping into the benefits of the Korean medical industry," said Park Keum-soo, vice president of the university hospital.

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