|Published:||Sep 13, 2012 10:49 PM EDT|
|Updated:||Sep 14, 2012 12:08 AM EDT|
COLLIER COUNTY, Fla - This weekend 600 professional planners from across the state are in Naples for the annual American Planning Association's Florida Conference. The urban planners will focus on economic development and redevelopment.
One element they will focus on as far as Naples' economic development is branding the city to sell medical tourism. Whether it's top notch hospitals or physicians it's no secret Naples has what it takes to become a destination for medical tourism, now it's just a matter of making it happen.
Between NCH, Physcian's Regional and companies like Arthrex, elements of medical tourism already exist in Collier County.
"You provide medical services for people who are not from your section of the country or section of the world. You bring them here, you treat them well, you give them phenomenal medical car. They bring their families with them, so it's like a medical vacation," says Brian Teeple, President of the Florida Chapter of the American Planning Association.
This week, hundreds of professional planners will pitch new ideas to kick start economic development and how to take what the Naples community already excels in to make it the number one medical tourism hot spot.
"I think it's a great idea," says Dr. Michael Lusk, M.D., a neurosurgeon in Naples. He says patients come to see him from all over the world. "We have some really highly trained physicians, a couple of great hospitals and what a great place to come. We have all the MRI's all the high tech stuff you could imagine because it's a wealthy community so if the hospitals need some sort of technology, they have it."
Dr. Lusk says it's not necessarily a matter of building more medical facilities, but rather, spreading the word. That's one element the planning conference hopes to accomplish this weekend.
"Ultimately, we need to united in a desire that medical tourism is an appropriate thing to put our efforts, our funding and our work into and develop a plan," says Robert Mulhere, President and CEO of Mulhere and Associates. "What a wonderful place, if you can come down here and recuperate from some sort of procedure, perfect. So, we want to focus on that."
Collier County is in the process of staffing a new Office of Economic Development. County leaders say that office will help them develop a plan and get input from businesses and residents to carry it out.
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