Industry News: Volume 3 Issue 13

Medical tourism: A growing fad for healthcare

By: Madisocn Weil

Kesq.com – Medical tourism is the practice of moving a patient to a hospital or clinic in another country. It is typically done when the transfer facility is better equipped to handle the care of the patient.

According to Dr. David Hayes, the medical director for the Mayo Clinic Network here in the U.S., it’s actually fairly common.

“People from different countries, including the U.S., might go to another facility in another country with some package agreement on how much it’s going to cost for a hip replacement or a knee replacement. So they go there, have the procedure and often recuperate in a facility close by. Now, U.S. institutes are interested in doing the same thing,” Hayes said.

Domestic medical tourism is also becoming more routine as well as more popular as an optional benefit on some healthcare plans. Sites like focusonhospitals.com, a hospital search engine, can help with price comparisons on certain procedures, but each case is different.

At the Mayo Clinic, seven of the hospitals in its care network are outside the United States. The organization is working to reduce medical patient tourism by creating a web of specialists that can share information and communicate more effectively.

Since establishing its network of e-consults, Mayo has significantly reduced patient referrals.

“So, that’s less expensive for the patient. It’s more convenient for the patient. It’s better for health care in general because you don’t have those other costs,” Hayes said.

Dr. Karthik Ghosh, director of the Mayo Clinic Breast Diagnostic Clinic added, “It’s also about making sure the patient gets their care where they are most comfortable. Nothing like getting your treatment closer to home, not having to travel, but you get the best expertise.”

Some health insurance companies use medical tourism to save an estimated 20-to-40-percent of medical treatment costs. Some insurance companies even extend their coverage to international medical treatment. An insurance agent or benefits specialist can determine if your insurance plan covers distant treatment.

To view the original article, click here.

 

Sites hoping to become healthcare hubs

By: Daniel Cobb

News-PressNow.com — Medical tourism is a phrase that may seem foreign to some, but overly familiar to others. It’s the practice of moving a patient to another hospital or clinic that may be more specialized or equipped to handle his or her care. And according to the Medical Director for the Mayo Clinic Network here in the U.S., it’s not uncommon.

“We have quite a lot of international patients that come to Mayo for care,” Dr. David Hayes, medical director for the Mayo Clinic Network, said. “However, in more recent years, we have seen different countries trying to position themselves as a place where people from other countries can come for care. People from different countries, including the U.S., might go to another facility in another country with some package agreement on how much it’s going to cost for a hip replacement or a knee replacement. Now, U.S. institutes are interested in doing the same thing. And more and more U.S. organizations are putting together a package, if you will, for a given procedure in order to attract patients.”

Domestic medical tourism also is prevalent. If one facility is not equipped to handle a situation, it may refer a patient to another in order for the person to receive the best treatment.

This can be a bit of a double-edged sword though. If someone is told that he needs to move from one hospital to another, he may be getting the care he needs but be farther away from home, family and friends. Not to mention that, with insurance, their overall mileage may vary — quite literally.

Sites like focusonhospitals.com, a Missouri-centric hospital search engine, can help with price comparisons on certain procedures, but each case is different.

However, with the establishment of a care network that encompasses 40-plus hospitals, with seven of them located outside of the United States, Mayo hopes to create a web of specialists who can share information and communicate with each other, inevitably cutting back on the overall rate of medical tourism that takes place.

The care network’s e-consults allow caregivers to send medical documents between specialists, and since then, Hayes said that the need to refer a patient to another location has been cut down dramatically.

“That’s less expensive for the patient. It’s more convenient for the patient. It’s better for health care in general because you don’t have those other costs,” he said.

It’s especially useful for second opinions, as well as specialist and sub-specialist recommendations to further treatment of a patient. And the closer patients are to their home, the better their recovery tends to be, said Karthik Ghosh, the director of the Mayo Clinic Breast Diagnostic Clinic.

“It’s also about patients getting their care where they’re most comfortable,” Ghosh said. “There’s nothing like getting your treatment closer to home, not having to travel, but getting the best expertise.”

There were approximately 220 eConsultations with Mosaic performed last year, and while Mayo doesn’t have a specific goal in mind for the network, Hayes hopes to see it grow in the future, as transporting patients to facilities across the state, or even across globe, can be a costly endeavor. Patients themselves can keep in contact with their insurance carriers as well as the care providers themselves to make use of policies or travel benefits between hospitals.

In the end, it’s really about what’s best for the patient. And with a number of facilities hoping to establish themselves as major hubs for national and international activity in the future, the potential for hospital network growth could be growing to the benefit of both patients and caregivers.

“If you have a network of high-quality, like-minded organizations — and each of our members do go through a very specific due-diligence process before they become a member — you’re offering the best care to the patient and keeping them local if you can, but providing an academic medical center if and when it’s needed,” Hayes said.

Daniel Cobb can be reached at daniel.cobb@newspressnow.com.

To view the original article, click here.

 

Although widely deployed, employees slow to use telemedicine

By: Kayla Webster

Employeebenefitadvisor.com — While the majority of employer-sponsored healthcare plans offered in the United States cover the cost of telemedicine, many employees don’t take advantage of the service. Eighty-five percent of employers with 20,000 or more employees offer telemedicine, according to a survey by Mercer.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

 

Health Insurance Costs Accelerating for Workers

By: John Commins

Healthleadersmedia.com – The average premium for employer-sponsored plans rose $267, or 4.4% between 2016 and 2017, which is twice the increase recorded between 2015 and 2016.

Employees who get their health insurance through their job are paying a lot more now than just a few years ago in premiums, co-pays and deductibles, a new study finds.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

 

The Impact of Hospital Consolidation on Medical Costs

Ncci.com– The year 2017 was a record one for merger and acquisition activity among hospitals and health systems, and this momentum is staying strong in 2018. This Drill Down describes the wave of hospital consolidation since 2010, identifies observed effects of hospital consolidation on utilization and prices of healthcare services, and discusses NCCI’s research in progress on the impact of hospital consolidation in workers compensation insurance.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

 

U.S. Hospitals Shut at 30-a-Year Pace, With No End in Sight

By: Cristin Flanagan

Bloomberg.com — Industry M&A may be no savior as the pace of hospital closures, particularly in hard-to-reach rural areas, seems poised to accelerate. Hospitals have been closing at a rate of about 30 a year, according to the American Hospital Association, and patients living far from major cities may be left with even fewer hospital choices as insurers push them toward online providers like Teladoc Inc. and clinics such as CVS Health Corp’s MinuteClinic.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

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