The phenomenon known as "medical tourism" has pumped millions of dollars into the Argentina, Brazil and Costa Rican economies as Americans head south of the border for cheap cosmetic surgery. Low-cost dental procedures in Mexico and India have also attracted medical tourists.
And now, North Idaho wants a piece of the action, particularly targeting Canadians.
This morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls is teaming up with the Coeur d'Alene Resort to bundle special deals for Canadians who are heading to Kootenai County for medical care. Hospital officials said the Canadian customers are heading south "due to long wait times for procedures" near their homes. And according the U.S. Department of Commerce, medical tourism from the Canadian market is expected to grow by nearly a third in the next several years.
"We're giving Canadians the ability to move to the proverbial front of the line to access our outstanding heath care," said NWSH CEO Vaughn Ward.
And yes, that's the same Vaughn Ward who famously imploded in 2010, when while running for Idaho's 1st Congressional District in a mistake-riddled campaign he plagiarized speeches and called Puerto Rico a country.
Lately, Ward has been the chief executive of the Post Falls private hospital and recently accepted a position as regional vice president for United Surgical Partners International in Scottsdale, Ariz.