About Alejandro Badia, M.D., FACS
Alejandro Badia, M.D., FACS is a hand and upper extremity surgeon at Badia Hand to Shoulder Center, a fully integrated clinical facility for the upper limb, including hand, wrist, shoulder and elbow, located in Doral, Florida. Dr. Badia was educated at Cornell and NYU, trained in orthopedics at Bellevue Hospital/NYU Medical Center, followed with a hand/microsurgery fellowship in Pittsburgh and trauma fellowship in Germany. He has served as worldwide president of the International Society for Sport Traumatology of the Hand (ISSPORTH) and co-founded the Miami Anatomical Research and Training Center (M.A.R.C.), the world’s largest surgical cadaveric training lab and The Surgery Center at Doral, an elite state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center.
Dr. Badia has published numerous articles, written multiple book chapters, and has been an invited speaker or lecturer in nearly 25 countries. He is a member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), American Association for Hand Surgery (AAHS) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), as well as numerous other international hand surgery and arthroscopy associations. Additionally, Dr. Badia served as honored professor at the prestigious Philadelphia Hand Course. For 10 consecutive years, Dr. Badia has been on the editorial review board of the Techniques in Upper Extremity Surgery, comprised of International key opinion leaders in upper limb surgery. Dr. Badia runs an active international hand fellowship, serves on the editorial board of two hand journals and for eight consecutive years, organized a two-day conference and learning symposium for surgeons/therapists devoted to upper limb arthroscopy and arthroplasty.
After years of a successful medical career and a renowned international speaking legacy, he saw a need for specialized orthopedic urgent care centers to immediately assess and treat a range of orthopedic and sports injuries, and founded OrthoNOW®, the only orthopedic urgent care center franchise in the country. He serves as medical director of the franchise’s flagship location in Doral, Florida, which has a team of orthopedic specialists on staff that treat broken bones, sprains, torn ligaments and muscles, cuts, sports and workers compensation injuries.
Dr. Badia, a two-time South Florida Business Journal Top 100 Power Leaders in Healthcare and a Top 100 Under 50 Diverse Executive Leader by Diversity MBA Magazine, has also been honored with Legacy Awards from Today’s Work Comp Professionals and The Doral Business Council. OrthoNOW® was named a “Top Ten Franchise Opportunity” in healthcare by Entrepreneur Magazine and featured in the following media: Franchise Times, Orthopedics This Week, South Florida Business Journal, Franchise USA Magazine and The Miami Herald.
Medical Travel Today (MTT): Give our readers some background on your professional experience.
Alejandro Badia (AB): I am a hand and upper extremity surgeon at Badia Hand to Shoulder Center in Doral, Florida. I was educated at Cornell and New York University and trained in orthopedics at Bellevue Hospital/New York University Medical Center. Following that, I successfully completed a hand/microsurgery fellowship in Pittsburgh and trauma fellowship in Germany.
I have served as worldwide president of the International Society for Sport Traumatology of the Hand (ISSPORTH) and co-founded the Miami Anatomical Research and Training Center (M.A.R.C.), the world’s largest surgical cadaveric training lab and The Surgery Center at Doral, an elite state-of-the-art ambulatory surgery center.
I have published numerous articles, written multiple book chapters, and have been an invited speaker or lecturer in nearly 25 countries. I am a proud member of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH), American Association for Hand Surgery (AAHS) and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), as well as numerous other international hand surgery and arthroscopy associations.
Also, I have served as honored professor at the prestigious Philadelphia Hand Course and for 10 consecutive years, I have been on the editorial review board of the Techniques in Upper Extremity Surgery, comprised of International key opinion leaders in upper limb surgery.
I run an active international hand fellowship and, for eight consecutive years, I have served on the editorial board of two hand journals. When I am not performing surgery or engaged with promoting wellness, I organize two-day conferences and learning symposiums for surgeons and therapists devoted to upper limb arthroscopy and arthroplasty.
MTT: Give us your definition of “reverse medical travel” as you call it.
AB: As you and your readers are aware, many people travel to Latin America from the U.S. for medical procedures. What some of your readers may not be aware of is that there is a significant number of people from that side of the continent who come to the U.S. for medical treatment and procedures. Their decision to do so is to gain access to innovative and less invasive technologies/treatments offered here that are not available in their home country.
I use the term “reverse medical travel” as that is an easy way to explain it. Others refer to it as “inbound medical tourism.” Either way, it defines people who travel to the United States to seek the latest and best in medical treatment for themselves or for those they love. This medical care includes such treatments as: cosmetic surgery, dentistry, cardiovascular, orthopedics, cancer, reproductive health, weight loss, health screenings and second opinions.
Through my practice at Badia Hand to Shoulder Center, I have been treating inbound patients for more than eight years. However, in the last few years, this form of tourism is on the rise, especially in Florida. In fact, an estimated 38,000 international travelers visit Florida annually, and this represents a gross total spending of about $580 million. That amount includes the international medical traveler and their cost for care — typically for a 7-10 day visit – as well as costs for their companions for lodging, food and other travel needs.
MTT: How did you get involved in the medical travel industry?
AB: This was a very organic career path. My desire to become a hand and upper limb surgeon was out of love for my grandmother who had rheumatoid arthritis. For years, I watched her suffer, not only from the pain, but also from frustration stemming from her inability to execute even simple daily tasks like cutting a piece of fabric to sew a garment.
I saw, and intuitively understood, the need to offer innovative and less invasive treatments to people from Latin America who could not access it from their home country because it is not available. I also wanted to provide a better alternative for those who seek great medical outcomes regardless of their country of origin.
MTT: Where are most of your international patients traveling from?
AB: Most of my international patients come from Latin America and the Caribbean Islands including Cayman Island, Peru, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. We’re also expanding our footprint into other countries such as China, India and Pakistan. We are also poised to welcome patients from Eastern Europe and Russia. I recently had a telemedicine encounter in which I provided consultation to a patient from this country who has rheumatoid arthritis with severe boutonniere deformities.
MTT: How many international patients do you treat per year? And, is this number growing?
AB: Approximately 20 percent of my patients are international patients, and they represent a high percentage of my surgical cases. Yes, that number is growing year after year as people from Latin America keep looking for the best healthcare available, and who tend to prefer to come to the U.S. for treatment.
MTT: What common procedures do medical travelers seek at your practice?
AB: Those seeking care at the Badia Hand to Shoulder Center in Miami are seeking expert medical care and treatments for upper limb and extremities. This includes anything related to the hand, wrist, shoulder, elbow, arm and fingers. The most common procedures are carpal tunnel, rotator cuff and shoulder replacements. Other important procedures provided, especially for medical travelers seeking world-class care, are replacement and arthroscopic joint reconstruction and late reconstruction for prior trauma to optimize function.
MTT: Do you help international patients coordinate their trip?
AB: In many countries, we provide a local phone number that is received by our international coordinator in Miami. We answer all patient questions and help facilitate their visit by providing a “Patient Travel Package,” including Frequently Asked Questions, and preferred hotels and amenities to make their trip to Miami a pleasant experience. This package provides patients with access to special rates and our services at numerous, well-recognized luxury hotels located minutes from our office. At BHSC, we make sure that our international coordinator helps patients navigate from their country of origin all the way through the pre-operation, during operation, post-operation and rehab.
MTT: Are your rates comparable to prices overseas?
AB: That is a good question to which there is not one definitive answer. Prices vary depending on the procedure/condition, and are impacted by the type of surgery required and any pre- and post-treatment required. However, BHSC offer less invasive procedures, such as arthroscopy, that makes the recovery process quicker and the costs less expensive. In addition, Badia Hand to Shoulder Center is a one-stop center, which provides includes access to The Surgery Center and OrthoNOW® Rehab. These features aid in reducing the stress and financial strain on patients and their families from having to visit multiple locations. For example, an international patient visiting an orthopedic surgeon in the U.S. usually visits different medical centers for consultation, X-rays, surgery and rehabilitation. Under Badia Hand to Shoulder Center, patients experience a first-class treatment with all those facilities located under one roof.
MTT: How do you market your services to inbound medical travelers?
AB: We use a number of communication tools to get the word out about our team and our Center. On a regular basis, I present at related conferences, symposiums and other professional events held all over the world. This allows patients and referring physicians to become aware of us and create personal relationships. Other sources include in-country media interviews, our website (www.drbadia.com), social media, past patient referrals and physician referrals, among others.
MTT: What can we expect to see from Badia Hand to Shoulder Center in the future?
AB: A major area of focus for us in the days and years to come is telemedicine. This technology revolutionizes access to pre- and post- care for patients, and we are extremely excited about the potential for better outcomes for more people in pain. As a matter of fact, the patient from Pakistan that I previously mentioned was consulted with using telemedicine.
MTT: At this point, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
AB: While it is our greatest wish that everyone remain well, mobile and strong, I would like your readers to know that we are always available to help, should they suffer an injury or illness that affects the hand, wrist, shoulder, elbow, arm and fingers.