Unpacking the financial costs of “bariatric tourism” gone wrong: Who holds responsibility for costs to the Canadian health care system?

Unpacking the financial costs of “bariatric tourism” gone wrong: Who holds responsibility for costs to the Canadian health care system?

Can J Surg 2016;59(6):369-70 | PDF

Jeremy C. Snyder, PhD; Diego S. Silva, PhD; Valorie A. Crooks, PhD

Summary

Canadians are motivated to travel abroad for bariatric surgery owing to wait times for care and restrictions on access at home for various reasons. While such surgery abroad is typically paid for privately, if “bariatric tourists” experience complications or have other essential medical needs upon their return to Canada, these costs are borne by the publicly funded health system. In this commentary, we discuss why assigning responsibility for the costs of complications stemming from bariatric tourism is complicated and contextual.


Accepted May 16, 2016

Acknowledgements: V. Crooks holds the Canada Research Chair in Health Service Geographies and a Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

Affiliations: From the Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC.

Competing interests: None declared.

Contributors: All authors contributed substantially to the conception, writing and revision of this article and approved the final version for publication.

DOI: 10.1503/cjs.006016

Correspondence to: J. Snyder, Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby BC V5A 1S6 jcs12@sfu.ca