Last week I had the pleasure of hosting a Retinal Fellow/trainee from Taipei, Taiwan. It is always great having international visitors and collabs!
Dr. Chia-Yi Cheng is a Retina Fellow from National Taiwan University Hospital, arguably the best hospital in Taiwan. It was her first time visiting a private ophthalmology practice in the United States. We saw many interesting cases and talked about the differences between our two health care systems.
For those that don’t know, Taiwan has universal health care and every citizen is insured. This is amazing and I’m sooo jealous! I support universal health care and hope that, some day, every American can have access to medical care. That being said, the Taiwanese system is also imperfect - doctors there deal with more restrictions on how they practice medicine.
For example, on that day, we saw a patient with sudden vision loss from wet macular degeneration. I immediately treated her with a dose of expensive ($2000) medication. On a follow-up call the next day, the patient already started seeing better! If this was in Taiwan, that same patient would need insurance approval which would delay treatment. Also, the doctor’s choice of medication is limited. In fact, the medication I used (Vabysmo) is not yet available for use in Taiwan, since it’s very new.
Thank you for visiting, Dr. Cheng! And thanks for the delicious Taiwanese pineapple cakes!