Columbia works to become a hot spot for medical tourism

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COLUMBIA- Plans to make Columbia a top destination for healthcare are in the works.

The Mayor's task force on medical tourism held its first meeting Thursday afternoon. Mayor Brian Treece, along with eight representatives for healthcare and hospitality services, discussed ways to make Columbia a top destination for medical care.  

“Health care is such an important part of Columbia's growing economy. I thought it was important to put together those healthcare providers that drive the quality of care in our community," Mayor Brian Treece said.

The members discussed ways to market Columbia's healthcare services. Vivek Puri, Vice President of Hampton Inn and Suites at MU and The Broadway Hotel, said it is important to give patients and their families VIP treatment. He said hotel owners need to give preference to these customers over anyone else, regardless if its a sell out night.

"That kind of treatment will get out by word of mouth, and that’s advertisement we can never buy," Puri said.

Puri also suggested creating an online portal where patients can go on the computer and access information on housing, transportation and all the different medical services in the area.

Members also mentioned the need for an airport expansion.