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See Scenic Minnesota - And Have a Little Surgery Done

April 17, 1985

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Travel packages offering bone marrow transplants, chemical dependency treatment or heart surgery are part of a proposal that could make health care Minnesota’s largest industry by 1990, officials say.

The concept of all-inclusive health care packages was borrowed from the travel industry, said C. Edward Schwartz, director of University of Minnesota Hospitals and a member of a task force studying the proposal. It was such an idea that popularized Caribbean cruises by offering all-inclusive packages that include round-trip air fare from almost anywhere in the United States, he said.

For example, when a Georgia business executive needs chemical dependency treatment, his company could send him and his family on an ″all-inclusive treatment package″ to Minnesota, said James Tuscano, chairman of the task force appointed by Gov. Rudy Perpich.

The man’s family could live in a hotel, eat in the hotel dining room and use a rental car for sightseeing while the executive is treated in one of Minnesota’s large chemical dependency treatment centers - all for a pre- arranged price that includes round-trip air fare on a Minneapolis-based airline.

″We could provide the whole thing at one-fourth of what it would cost to provide just the treatment in Georgia,″ said Tuscano said Tuesday, when the task force report was released.

The task force has urged the Legislature to appropriate $500,000 for the next two years to support efforts to locate target regions and markets of the country and to promote Minnesota as a hearth care center. Another $500,000 would be raised from private industry, under the proposal.

The health tours could help tourism replace agriculture as the state’s largest industry within five years, Tuscano said.

Packages could be worked out for bone marrow transplants and cancer treatment at University Hospitals, scoliosis diagnosis at Fairview Hospital; heart surgery at Abbott Northwest Hospital, diabetes education at Park Nicollet Medical Center’s International Diabetes Center and for many of the programs at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, said Tuscano, executive vice president of the Park Nicollet Medical Foundation.

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