renker pavilion eisenhower

Care With Flair

More than ever, visitors are flying in for medical procedures and resort-style recovery.

June Allan Corrigan Current PSL, Health & Wellness

renker pavilion eisenhower

The Renker Pavilion at Eisenhower Health offers luxury amenities during recovery.

Out-of-towners planning a trip to the Palm Springs area envision fun, sun …. and medical care? Yes, it’s true. Although visitors aren’t thinking along the lines of, say, a trip to the emergency room, they’ve weighed their options elsewhere and found that the desert is an excellent place to schedule elective surgeries.

They’re correct. Greater Palm Springs has three major medical centers and many gifted medical professionals. Our sun-soaked locale has a lot going for it in terms of a recovery environment as well. No wonder visitors — often from Canada — make plans to incorporate a procedure into their trips here.

“Pre-COVID, we were probably getting up to five inquiries a week from Canadians living in Canada who wanted to travel here to have some sort of orthopedic procedure,” says David Renker, vice president of development and major gifts at Eisenhower Health. The wait time in Canada for knee, hip, or shoulder replacement surgery can be extremely long. If they have the means, many Canadians who desire a swifter solution are thrilled to find it here.

“We can typically schedule them for surgery within two weeks,” Renker says. It’s a fact that astonishes many north-of-the-border residents whose focus then promptly shifts to sending their medical information and making travel arrangements. To dispel any mystery regarding expense, Eisenhower Health has created special bundled cash pricing for Canadians. “If it’s a non-complication surgery, we quote them a specific price and we live up to that price.”

A smaller quota of medically motivated individuals who travel from the United Kingdom also falls into the cash payment category. However, domestic visitors decide for one reason or another that the desert is a fine place to undergo a medical procedure as well.

Medical tourism has become popular in recent years. It’s common for people to jet off to destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, Turkey, and India to obtain care. Often lower costs prompt the decision or the ability to obtain a medical procedure not readily available in one’s country of residence. The flip side is convenience and the lure of an attractive or novel location.


The Renker Pavilion features impeccable service, world-class amenities, beautiful décor, and a full-time concierge available to meet any request.

Desert Care Network, which encompasses Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs and JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio, sees its fair share of medical tourists. “Most of our cash pay tourism includes patients who already have a second home here,” says Cathy O’Callaghan, group chief strategy officer for Desert Care Network. “Most frequently they are Canadian snowbirds.”

Once again, it is the speed in which they can obtain an orthopedic procedure within the Desert Care Network that entices Canadians, despite the cash out of pocket. “Joint replacements are the most common, although recently we’re seeing some hernia repair and elective spine procedures requests,” O’Callaghan says. “Sometimes they’re motivated by a desire to avoid long wait times for something as simple as a diagnostic colonoscopy or imaging such as CTs and MRIs.”

Meanwhile, for discerning travelers who want to lean into the “destination” aspect of destination medicine, a stay at the exceptionally accommodating Renker Pavilion at Eisenhower Health might be in order. Should their medical procedure warrant a sleepover recovery period and expense is no object, they could recuperate amid private five-star accommodations. The Renker Pavilion features impeccable service, world-class amenities, beautiful décor, and a full-time concierge available to meet any request.

Eisenhower Health takes every step to ensure the medical tourism experience is a smooth one for all prospective patients. “We have a dedicated Canadian phone line, for instance,” Renker says. “When they call, we walk them through the process of cash bundling. If necessary, accommodations can even be coordinated; [Eisenhower] has negotiated special rates with a couple of hotels nearby. Sometimes patients get same day surgery. Then they go to the hotel and relax for a week until they feel better. After a week, they can come back and see the doctor and make sure everything is moving as it should.”

If there was ever a community tailor-made for medical tourism, the Greater Palm Springs area is it. Between the state-of-the-art medical facilities, the expert care, and the relative ease with which it can be acquired — plus the warmth and beauty of the desert — well, if anyone needs incentive to move forward with an elective medical procedure, what more could they ask for?

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