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Medical Tourism Bill Gets Vetted Today In Tallahassee

State lawmakers are looking at a bill to boost medical tourism, which economist Hank Fishkind said could help Orlando and Medical City.
The hospital has more than 1,300 positions that have yet to be filled. Photo: Lake Nona.

Lawmakers are taking a look at a bill today that boosts medical tourism in Florida.

Senate Bill 178 taps Enterprise Florida to market the state as a health care destination. Jacksonville Senator Aaron Bean sponsored the bill, and said it would make medical tourism a permanent feature of Florida’s marketing plan.

“A medical tourist is like a regular tourist on steroids," Bean said. "They spend more, they stay longer, and it’s a much more solid economic boost to our state.”

Bean said a full-time job is created for every 86 tourists to Florida. The bill would create a solicitation process for health care companies to be selected to be in the marketing plan.

Orlando economist and WMFE analyst Hank Fishkind said that could benefit Orlando in particular with the growing Medical City development.

“We have great health care institutions, we have a great climate, a lot of things for people to do," Fishkind said. "So we have a natural set of competitive advantages where people could come to Florida, have various medical procedures, their family could be with them as they convalesce, and all of that would work as an economic package.”

Fishkind said medical tourism creates more high-paying medical jobs.