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What Are The Benefits Of RVing To Find Medical Care?

medical care professional taking notes at computer with stethoscope

What Are The Benefits Of RVing To Find Medical Care?

Your RV gives you the freedom to choose where you receive care. Many areas of the country have excellent general medical care, but specialized services may not be available in your area.

You may need elective surgery for an injury or a medical condition. Your local surgeon may have done the procedure 20 times, but a surgeon in a large medical center may have done it thousands of times. A surgeon at a specialty clinic may treat professional athletes, and their career depends on a successful outcome. Why not ensure that you have a better outcome by combining medical care and RVing?

Find the right specialists

Case in point. My wife injured her knee many years ago. She was seen by the local orthopedic clinic in Texas, where she was diagnosed and surgery was recommended. There was no rush, the surgeon told her she could schedule it when it was convenient.

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She decided to do some online research and discovered the Steadman Clinic in Colorado. The clinic had treated hundreds of famous professional athletes, including Olympic skier Bode Miller and NFL quarterback Joe Montana.

RVer recovering from knee surgery in a recliner, outside next to a motorhome.
Medical care and RVing in the mountains of Colorado, while recovering from knee surgery.
Photo by Larry Chiuppi

After confirming they accepted our insurance, she booked an appointment. It was just day surgery. I made arrangements with the clinic’s security department and we dry camped in the hospital parking lot the night before the surgery. After the surgery, we drove to a campground two hours away. While Nancy was attending physical therapy, I went fly fishing.

Other more serious medical conditions such as cancer may arise. There are amazing cancer specialty centers such as M.D. Anderson in Houston, TX and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. These centers treat patients from all over the world. 

Accommodations for medical care

South Main RV Park is located 3 miles from the Texas Medical Center and M.D. Anderson. The park caters to medical patients and has a free shuttle service. There are other RV parks a little further away, such as the Medical Center RV Resort, which is due to open this summer.

In addition to commercial RV parks, hospitals often have RV sites on premises, or they may have arrangements with entities offering reduced rates for medical patients. Such is the case in Little Rock, Arkansas. Maumelle Park, run by the Corp of Engineers, has ten full hookup RV sites for designated for medical patients for $12 a night, electricity included, right on the Arkansas River.

A motorhome on a RV site designated for medical care patients.
Medical RV sites on the Arkansas River, Maumelle Park, Little Rock, Arkansas
Photo by Larry Chiuppi

Second medical opinion

You may not want to leave town to have treatment performed, but you may want a second opinion from a specialty center such as the Mayo Clinic. If you have time, make it a fun vacation. You purchased your RV to travel, so if your condition or injury allows, take some vacation time, travel to the second opinion location, and play tourist on the way.

If allowed, arrive a day or two early and enjoy the local activities. For example, we visited the Steadman Clinic located in Vail, CO. There was a street art show occurring the day we arrived, and later we rode the gondola to the top of the mountain and had lunch.

Save money while obtaining medical care

You could stay in a motel, but that won’t be as comfortable as being in your RV. In most cases, staying in your RV will be cheaper than staying in a motel. At some hospitals we have paid as little as $8 per night for a full hookup site. Check with your tax accountant and ask if you can take advantage of the medical deductions, such as medical mileage allowance, travel expenses, and the cost of the RV space rent.

A motorhome parked on a inexpensive  RV site on hospital property.
It wasn’t the nicest RV site, but it was on hospital property and only $8 a night.
Photo by Larry Chiuppi

The caregiver advantage

Some hospitals will make arrangements for the caregiver to stay in the patient’s room. This is less than ideal. Instead, the caregiver could spend the day with the patient and then simply go sleep in their RV onsite. In many cases, hospital security will even drive the caregiver to their RV. 

Help someone else obtain medical care

We met a number of patients who had borrowed a friend’s RV to use while they were receiving cancer treatment at M. D. Anderson. Your RV may just be sitting in your yard waiting for your next vacation, why not help a friend?

Get medical care for your pet

I know pet owners that have taken their dog or cat to a cancer specialty veterinary clinic with their RV. The pet is comfortable traveling and the pet parents get to stay nearby.

See also: Tips For Traveling With Sick Or Elderly Pets

Advancements in cancer care for pets

How do I learn about medical care while RVing?

Start with the hospital’s website. The website for the Heart of the Rockies Medical Center has a page for RV parking. If you don’t find anything on the website, try calling security or patient services and ask about RV parking, either on premises or nearby.

Health insurance for RVers

Of course, much of this will depend on your insurance coverage. Do you have a PPO or an HMO? Are you even covered by your insurance outside your local area?

It’s important to get expert help when choosing insurance. You want people that not only know the insurance industry but also have experience in the RV world. Whether you are a full-time RVer or a weekend warrior, check out the health insurance options on rverinsurance.com. These experts can help you with medical insurance, as well as many other forms of insurance.

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