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© 2014 Medical Travel Today

Medical Travel Today is a publication of CPR Strategic Marketing Communications, a public relations firm based near New York City that specializes in healthcare and life sciences, with an international clientele. CPR, its Partners, and clients are at the nexus of where medical travel is today, and where it will be tomorrow.

Publisher
Laura Carabello

Editor
Laura Carabello

Managing Editor
Megan Kennedy

Table of Contents

From the Editor

From the Editor: This week in Medical Travel Today, Laura Carabello

News in Review

VisitandCare.com Offers Streamlined Approach to Top Medical Tourism Destinations

The Expeditious Growth of Medical Tourism in India

Incheon Caters to Asian Trends with Help from Incheon Medical Tourism Foundation

Medical Tourism a Boost for Tunisia

Economic Growth Potential from Medical Tourism

Low-Cost Dominican Surgeries Spark Warnings by U.S.

Rapidly Growing Nontuberculous Mycobacterium Wound Infections Among Medical Tourists Undergoing Cosmetic Surgeries in the Dominican Republic

Two Hospitalized, One Dead in Liposuction Infection Outbreak

More Men Opting for Cosmetic Surgery in UAE

Russian Medical Tourists Increasingly Prefer Korea

 

Spotlight

Hank Kearney, President and Founder, PHM International, Inc.

Spotlight

Rajesh Rao, Founder and CEO, IndUShealth

Perspectives

A Glance at Medical Tourism in Turkey and its Leading Hospital Group

Industry News

Laura Carabello Moderates IHC Medical Travel Panel Discussion

Domestic Medical Travel: Quality Care, Controlled Costs

International Medical Travel Business Summit Highlights Costa Rica as Global Medical Tourism Destination

Medical Tourism Presents Economic Growth Potential for the Caribbean

Dubai's Bid to Woo 500,000 Medical Tourists a Year by 2020

Why Medical Tourism for Workers' Comp is an Idea Whose Time Has Come

Health and Wellness Development Trends in North America

Consumer Reports Ranks Top 10 Safest U.S. Hospitals

Global Spa & Wellness Summit Unveils 2014 Theme "Fast Forward"

New Housing Societies Now Provide Virtual Medical Services in Apartments

MarketResearchReports.com: Singapore Medical Tourism Analysis and Forecast, New Report Launched

World's Largest Self-Insurance/ART Event Coming to Phoenix!

Let's Get a Medical Tourism Certificate! Is it Worth the Paper it's Printed On?

Help Save a Life and Support MatchingDonors

Upcoming Events

9th World Health Tourism Congress

Medical Travel Summit 2014

IHC Forum & Expo 2014

10th Asia Pacific Travel Health Conference

Medical Tourism Asia 2014

Kazakhstan International Health Forum "Medical Tourism"

Allen Medical International Annual Meeting

UBS Global Healthcare Conference

5th Northern European Conference on Travel Medicine

Istanbul Medical Tourism Fair

28th International Travel Expo

Indo Global Healthcare Summit and Expo

3rd Annual Global Healthcare Conference

The Health Tourism Show

6th Regional Conference of the International Society of Travel Medicine

Medical Fair Asia 2014

8th Annual Global Spa & Wellness Summit

10th International Exposition and Conference for Medical Tourism, Spa & Health

Moscow MEDSHOW

7th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress

34th Annual SIIA National Educational Conference & Expo

International Medical Forum and Spa & Wellness: Healthcare Travel Expo

Mexico Summit on Medical & Wellness Tourism Business

Health Tourism Expo Turkey

IHC Forum West 2014

Arab Health Exhibition & Congress

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THIS WEEK IN MEDICAL TRAVEL TODAY

Volume 8, Issue 1

Dear Colleagues:

It is no secret that medical travel is a booming industry worldwide, but of course, industry professionals and consumers deserve to see the confirming data.

According to Hank Kearney, president and founder, PHM International, Inc., the phrase "medical tourism" becomes a real challenge in terms of what is happening globally because the actual statistics are very rarely removed from travel data.

In this issue, he shares his overall thoughts on the industry, which include the benefits and challenges, and suggests that when medical tourism begins to contract with payers and insurance companies it will become a sustainable and scalable business.

Interest in "Corporate Medical Travel" is clearly building.  Employee Benefit Adviser published an article, "A Place for Brokers in Medical Tourism," which includes input that I provided to the editor. To view the article, please visit: http://eba.benefitnews.com/.

I am also pleased to announce that I will moderate a panel discussion on medical travel, "ALL ABOARD! U.S. Centers of Excellence Banking on Employer and Payer Uptake of Domestic Medical Travel Benefits," during the Institute of HealthCare Consumerism's (IHC) 5th Annual IHC FORUM & Expo Conference, on Thursday, May 8, 2014, between 3 p.m. - 4 p.m., in Atlanta, Ga. Panelists will include: Ruth Coleman, CEO, Health Design Plus, Jason Jones, vice president, Human Capital Practice, Willis Insurance Services of California, Inc., Jennifer Albers, director, Mercy Medical Destinations, Spine Center, Pain Management, and Headache Management, Trisha M. Frick-Hoff, M.S., R.N., assistant director, Managed Care Contracting Office of Managed Care Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC, and Anne Meisner, president and CEO, Southeastern Regional Medical Center, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA). It will be a great meeting and an opportunity to showcase your offerings in medical travel. http://www.theihccforum.com/2014-ihc-forum-and-expo/

Please be in touch and let me know how you are surviving and thriving in this emerging marketplace. 

Laura Carabello
Editor and Publisher
Medical Travel Today
lcarabello@cpronline.com
http://twitter.com/medtravtoday
http://twitter.com/CPR_Comm

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Spotlight

SPOTLIGHT: Hank Kearney, President and Founder, PHM International, Inc.


Hank Kearney
PHM International, Inc.
Orlando/Sebastian, USA
Hankk@phmintl.com
www.phmintl.com
+1.772.388.6496
+1.772.388.6624 fax

PHM International:
PHM Training Management
PHM Advisory

Follow:
www.phm-monitor.com
Twitter: twitter.com/#!/HankKearney


 

About Hank Kearney
Based in Florida, Hank Kearney is president and founder of PHM International, Inc. PHM International is the established brand holder of the PHM Emerging Markets Healthcare Monitor, GHAN - the Global Health Access® Network, and PHM Macedonia, LLC.

Targeting emerging and frontier markets, Hank helps companies better understand how the combination of policy, politics, market risks, and geopolitics impact the markets at-large, and client companies in particular.

In emerging and frontier markets he works where there are uncertainties in difficult places -- building great businesses, developing economic diplomacy, and advancing the private sector.

Prior to PHM International he served as executive director, Marketing, at Mosby Consumer Health, a division of then listed Times Mirror. He was also a product manager at one of "The Blues," developing the USA's first data driven wellness program.

Hank Kearney earned a B.A. in Economics from Rutgers University and is one of only a handful of individuals with both the M.H.P. and R.H.U. designations.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): Can you give our readers your perspective on medical tourism-the globalization of healthcare-and your interest in the industry?

Hank Kearney (HK): We started working in the area in 1998 or so, and the definition of medical tourism, while still open for interpretation, I believe has developed an agreement where it is largely defined as individuals who specifically travel for medical care. Well, that's a definition I use.

Our involvement started in product design, working with payers and network developers. So, today I work at a strategic level, working with other companies that have direct involvement.

While the numbers of medical travelers appear to be in the millions in particular countries and regions, often times those numbers include people who are traveling for leisure and happen to break an ankle, decide to get a sports massage, or some such ancillary clinical activity to their holiday travel.

Data wise, the phrase medial tourism actually becomes a real challenge as to what is happening around the world because the actual statistics are very rarely culled from travel data.

I would say the reality of people traveling specifically for medical treatment is widely un-collated today.

A couple of years ago we did a study for a hospital here in the U.S. using the Medical Travel Institute at the College of the Incarnate in San Antonio. We asked them to run some simple numbers, which essentially became an exercise in extrapolation - a collection of data from this study and that study and a third study, in order to come up with usable data.

MTT: Is that Dr. Vequist?

HK: Yes, he is a great person who I consider one of the sober individuals in overall discussions of medical tourism.

When we look at prospective patients traveling around the world-specifically for medical care-there are obvious challenges, one of which is distance.

I gave a speech in Taiwan a few years ago and brought up the phrase "Death of Distance." It's an old IT phrase and I was claiming that distance doesn't matter with software, IT, the internet, etc. But distance is a very real factor in clinical care, say, a cardiac arrest. Distance makes it evident that certain types of medical treatments, such as elective procedures, can benefit from medical tourism. But that is not the case with emergency or urgent procedures.

The majority of healthcare used for medical tourism tends to be unreimbursed medical care, such as dental or plastic surgery. The trouble with dental care is that it is a low cost item, and the issue with plastic surgery is that it is generally a one-off product, and it is self-paid.

Both cosmetic and dental surgery can be a viable niche business, but it is not the type of business that our clients work with. Institutional investors, banks, and private equity firms would rarely consider these types of business largely because they don't scale up to a volume of revenue that they are going to be interested in.

Is there professionally managed money in medical tourism? Yes. But it's a niche, and small scale.

MTT: What about orthopedic?

HK: Orthopedic is gaining a lot of attention and fits the model really well. Most orthopedic is scheduled, that is, not emergent. So there is time to plan, to source out the best treatment strategy.

One of the challenges that we have had, fundamentally from the very beginning with medical tourism, is that it is a "one-off" business, meaning it's a one-time sale. There are very few follow-on sales from that one patient.

The basics of medical tourism generally don't fall into a contracted, repeat business model. Too many companies focus on the patient from a business modeling perspective. But for a business, it's not about the patient, it's about the scale. Our fundamental belief is that when medical tourism begins to contract with the payers and insurance companies, then you have a sustainable and scalable business.

Insurance companies may send patients on a one or two hour flight for treatment, but I am not certain about a 16 hour flight. Yes, there are stories of insurance companies sending patients from the U.S. to India and elsewhere. But these tend to be few and far between, and the financial structure of the plans is such that it can be done with relative ease.

MTT: Would your perspective on the U.S. medical domestic tourism business be different than the international movement of patients?

HK: Not at all.

What is now being called "U.S. domestic medical tourism" has actually been a long established practice.

It is common to send patients to, say, the Mayo Clinic for heart treatment based on insurance contracts-it isn't done often, or at large volume, but it is not new.

MTT: Some of the larger employers are carving out this opportunity to specific Centers of Excellence, not necessarily the Mayo Clinic.

HK: Exactly, the fact that they are increasingly doing this is what is new. But Centers of Excellence, in cardiac care, in orthopedic, neuro-surgery, and so on, have been part of the U.S. insurance market for well over a decade.

MTT: Do you think there's any depth to the opportunity for accessing treatments that are not available in the U.S.?

HK: I think that speaks to a larger social issue. You're talking some stem cell therapies, maybe?

MTT: Yes.

HK: Again, that becomes a niche market because the insurance companies are not going to pay for it.

Let's presume it is experimental, therefore the model doesn't fit insurance reimbursement. But I could see an individual, let's say a hospital or group of medical centers, banning together to specialize in this niche market.

MTT: Does the individual market represent a big enough volume for accessing a medical travel program under the private exchanges?

HK: Although we now have 24 million people newly insured, I still don't think that is a viable pool of individuals that will enter into the medical travel arena.

I highly doubt any tax subsidized insurance program would allocate any funds for medical treatment outside the U.S.

After President Obama was initially elected, there were a group of hospital executives from India touring several hospitals in the U.S. Their goal was to approach the federal government, Medicare in particular, to develop a contract to have medical treatment in India in order to save Medicare millions of dollars.

This was an unfortunate example of healthcare executives not understanding the market. They did not understand the political realities of Medicare, the active role politicians play in Medicare, and the fact that no politician would promote spending a dollar for treatment outside the U.S. And here's the tough part: the politicians could be viewed as politically easy in comparison to the lobbying efforts of the American Hospital Association or the American Medical Association.

Right now, I don't see healthcare reform impacting medical travel at all. Any politician that would promote medical tourism by using tax payer dollars would have a rough time getting re-elected.

MTT: And Medicaid would fall in the same area or perspective?

HK: Medicaid has a little more leeway because the states get a bit more involved.

Potentially we could see Texas or California agreeing to have medical treatment done across the border, but that again would also be a tough sell politically.

While many may want to promote the free market in medical care, including cross border treatment, such dialogue forgets reality. Free choice of where one can get medical care? Yes, that's simple enough. But how does that medical treatment get paid? Well, that's the tough part. Fifty percent of Medicaid is paid by the federal government, and I would see that as a tough sell. And for those states where the government pays 100 percent of the extra costs for newly covered patients? No way will a politician agree to support out-of-country payment.

MTT: What are your thoughts on the migration of healthcare workers? Is there a business model around that, particularly with doctor shortages in the U.S.?

HK: About four or five years ago, we wrote a short briefing on the global health worker shortage and we titled it: "A Security Risk or an Investment Risk." This is an extremely important conversation that is being ignored.

The shortage of doctors in the U.S. is certainly a big issue, but the real issue is not the shortage of doctors, it's the shortage of nurses. This is really significant because it has the potential to cause a security issue. It will certainly become an international trade issue in some regions of the world. We track many regions in the world and in the Middle East region we have seen some activities along those lines - interfering with cross border trade, restricting movement of health workers and so on.

MTT: It is an interesting business model. There must be a lot of interest from doctors, as well as nurses, to come to the U.S.

HK: The issue around training clinical workers or increasing the supply of health workers is an important topic with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank. And it is a great business opportunity. For instance, India has an exploding for-profit educational system in place in all educational lines.

But I never think in terms of the U.S. as the one and only market. The EU market is a significant brain drain for health workers from Africa, and North America sops up the health worker supply from the Caribbean. The Middle East needs thousands and thousands of health workers from Asia, and so on.

As an example, Saudi Arabia recently stated it needs 5,000 doctors. But Brazil needs more than 150,000 doctors. Turkey's language requirements make it extremely difficult to hire doctors and nurses from out of country. And cultural and religious differences add to the challenges of health worker migration.

So, the global shortage of health workers is now, and will increasingly be, a challenge to all the players in healthcare: investors, hospital administrators, governments, etc. Supply and demand will push up prices, but that's only the start.

We have one question we use to put the global shortage of health workers into perspective: "Where will the majority of health workers prefer to live? In Riyadh or Rio?"

That's just one example. But it is a real example of what hospitals, governments, investors, and so on will have to deal with on an ongoing basis.

Medical tourism, or the short term movement of patients around the world, sounds simple in comparison to the growing global shortage of health workers.

Spotlight

Rajesh Rao, Founder and CEO, IndUShealth

Rajesh Rao, Founder and CEO, IndUShealth
www.indushealth.com

About Rajesh Rao
With more than 20 years of experience in the creation and growth of successful entrepreneurial businesses, Rajesh Rao provides IndUShealth a critical combination of operational, financial, and systems management skills. 

Mr. Rao began his career as a software engineer at IBM, later joining the founding team at Post Software International, where he ultimately became director of Research and Development. Post Software became an established worldwide leader in retail systems automation and was acquired by Fujitsu ICL. 

Subsequently, Mr. Rao co-founded and served as CEO of Empower Corporation, an innovative enterprise e-learning software company that served several large multinational companies. Empower eventually became MindLever, which was acquired by Centra Software (Nasdaq: CTRA). Mr. Rao continued as general manager at Centra prior to co-founding IndUShealth. 

Having faced ever-increasing costs of providing health benefits to employees in his previous companies, Mr. Rao decided to dedicate his time and resources to the pursuit of viable alternatives. He believed that the leveling of the global playing field would result in effective cross-border solutions with the potential to substantially reduce healthcare expenditures. 

As co-founder and CEO, Mr. Rao has been instrumental in building IndUShealth into a dominant player in the U.S. that has helped the "medical tourism" trend mature and evolve to an entirely new level.  He enjoys being able to innovate and work with others to further expand IndUShealth's offerings and broaden its scope of influence. 

Mr. Rao is recognized as an industry leader and is often asked to speak to audiences at meetings and conferences. He has been featured in several news articles, as well as in TV and radio interviews. 

In June 2006, Mr. Rao appeared as an expert witness before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Aging, extolling the advantages of employer-sponsored medical travel, and sparking a national debate over insurers' and corporations' roles in medical tourism.  He was also invited to speak at a National Academies seminar that explored the potential role of medical tourism in providing a suitable alternative to Americans. 

He holds bachelor's degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from North Carolina State University.

About IndUShealth
IndUShealth is a leading provider of corporate medical travel administration services and has pioneered successful programs that allow group health plans to seamlessly offer the choice of overseas healthcare to their subscribers.

IndUShealth's programs have generated aggregate savings of about $400,000 per 1,000 employees (roughly 2,000 subscribers) in employer health plans. In addition, participants report excellent outcomes and very high levels of satisfaction, often rivaling or exceeding patient satisfaction indices reported by the leading hospitals in the U.S.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): Please give us a little background on your company, IndUShealth.

Rajesh Rao (RR): IndUShealth was founded in 2005 in response to the growing interest and relevance of medical travel in the U.S. marketplace.

Our objective was to cater to the opportunity to introduce the medical travel phenomenon to the U.S. corporate market by providing a unique comprehensive service that permitted employers to easily incorporate our medical travel option into their existing employee health benefit plans.

Having sent hundreds of health plan-sponsored participants overseas for medical treatment, IndUShealth has since emerged as the leading medical travel administrator in the U.S.

We are pleased to note that the success of our program has been driven in part due to the quality of the medical outcomes and overall patient experiences, more so than the cost benefits and incentives provided to the participants.

MTT: Does IndUShealth strictly work with individuals who are uninsured or self-insured? What about patients who are covered by an employer?

RR: IndUShealth works exclusively with employer-sponsored health plans, but occasionally handles individual self-pay clients who may be referred to us by our providers and clients.

MTT: Do you work with international employees to find healthcare options in India and Costa Rica?

RR: IndUShealth assists employees and dependents who participate in employer-sponsored health plans in the U.S.

Our hospital networks are currently based in India and Costa Rica.

MTT: Does your company offer pre-operative and post-operative assistance to patients?

RR: IndUShealth's case managers are registered nurses who are highly qualified to help patients navigate the nuances of "extraction from the U.S. healthcare system" and obtaining medical treatments overseas.

This includes a thorough assessment of each patient's unique needs and circumstances, coupled with the required guidance and hand-holding. Pre-op counseling, post-op follow-up and coordination are important aspects of IndUShealth's service offering, as it incorporates key risk management strategies that play a large part in the success of the program and the enthusiasm of participants to recommend it to others.

MTT: Does IndUShealth partner with specific hospitals outside of America? If so, which?

RR: The hospitals in IndUShealth's partner network include: Fortis Hospitals (India), Apollo Hospitals (India), Hospital Clinica Biblica (Costa Rica), Hospital La Catolica (Costa Rica) and CIMA (Costa Rica).

MTT: Have you noticed certain procedures to offer substantial cost-savings in these locations?

RR: Neurosurgical surgeries such as spinal disc fusion and artificial disc replacements yield substantial savings to payers - often over $100,000.

Orthopedic procedures such as hip and knee replacements yield tens of thousands of dollars in savings, as do bariatric procedures such as laparascopic Roux-en-Y gastric bypasses and sleeve gastrectomies.

Surprisingly, even some procedures performed on an outpatient basis, such as hernia repairs and arthroscopic procedures, yield a few thousand dollars in savings.

Most procedures qualify for the plan participant to take along a companion with all expenses paid.

MTT: Why just India and Costa Rica? Do you plan on expanding your services to other locations in the future?

RR: IndUShealth has been very selective with its destinations and partnerships based on the unique requirements superimposed by our corporate sponsored patient population.

Although there are several providers catering to the global supply of medical travelers, very few of them qualify to meet the criteria necessary to satisfy the particular combination of cost, quality, reliability, geopolitical stability and overall patient experience required by our market.

Developing strong partnerships with select providers is of more value to us and our clients.

However, we'll certainly consider expanding to other locations as and when appropriate to cater to growing demand.

Perspectives

A Glance at Medical Tourism in Turkey and its Leading Hospital Group
Contributed by Dr. Ahmet Alanay and the staff of Acibadem Hospitals Group


Acibadem, Other Top Providers in Turkey Treat Record Numbers of Patients in 2012-2013

Garnering special attention in the world with its vast history, geography and natural beauty, Turkey is at the forefront for health services for international patients seeking high-quality care at a reasonable price. Extending like a bridge connecting Europe to Asia, Turkey is home to 73 million inhabitants and is now a center of attraction for health tourism. With many patients coming from a host of European countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, France and Austria, along with Middle Eastern states, Russia, and the United States and Canada, Turkey stands out in health tourism with its advanced technology, internationally experienced specialists and medical services meeting or exceeding global standards.

Many patients are naturally concerned with being treated in a foreign country, however, globalization is gradually managing to do away with these concerns. In Turkey, international patients receive special attention through Turkish Airlines which provides both direct and discounted flights from many countries, including the United States. Reliable low prices, disclosed up front, allow potential patients to make meaningful comparisons about quality and services. Many hospitals, including Acibadem Hospitals Group-Turkey's leading group in the private healthcare sector with its 16 hospitals and 12 medical centers-offer accommodations comparable to those offered at five star hotels, and even assist family members with sightseeing arrangements while their loved one is undergoing treatment.

In Turkey, where both Eastern and Western cultures overlap, treatments match those of the most developed nations worldwide. Health services, provided by highly qualified specialists, using the best in advanced technology, are also important bolstering factors in the increased success of treatments. The government of the Republic of Turkey has been actively supporting the expansion of health tourism and provides important financial support for institutions in this sector. In the legal context, the state has paved the way for health institutions and is targeting services to be provided to one million international patients per year. Most of the hospitals providing medical tourism services are recently built or renovated, and offer large private rooms, telemetry monitoring, and other state-of-the-art amenities, enhancing efficiency, quality of care, and results.

Medical services with highly advanced technology are being offered in all branches of medicine and specifically in cardio-vascular surgery, oncological treatment, orthopedics, neurosurgery, pediatric surgery, cosmetic and aesthetic surgery, scoliosis and kyphosis surgery, bone marrow, kidney and liver transplants, as well as in ophthalmology and dentistry.

Ahmet Alanay, M.D., professor of Orthopedics and Traumatology at Acibadem Spinal Health Center and leader at the Scoliosis Research Society's World Education Committee, was trained in scoliosis treatment in the U.S. Dr. Alanay points out that "medical services are in fact extremely advanced in Turkey.

"After having completed my studies in the United States, I decided to continue my career in Turkey because it was so advanced. There are many of my colleagues here with international experience. We adopt a mutual and multi-disciplinary approach in diagnosis and treatment so that foreign patients do not need to be concerned about receiving necessary proper medical treatment. Our specialists have extensive international training and experience, and are all required to speak English-this way patients from the United States don't experience any issues stemming from a language barrier."

Whether it is in advanced technology or its specialty health services, Acibadem stands out in services which use state of the art medical equipment, such as the da Vinci - the ultimate in robotic assisted surgery -- and the Gamma Knife Perfexion -- a leading-edge method for treating brain tumors. Acibadem also uses the Flash CT which provides heart angioscopy within 0.25 seconds, and the CyberKnife for treating tumors. Also included in Acibadem's equipment inventory is the LIAC, used for single dose radiotherapy treatment during breast cancer surgery, the state of the art True-beam -- which incorporates a number of cancer treatment components in one piece of equipment and the Total Body MRI, which can scan the whole body within a short 45 minute period --- used for persons suspected of a cancerous growth. All of this technology combined sets Acibadem apart as a health services provider.

Acibadem's International Patient Center, with its staff of over 100, takes care of foreign patients from A to Z, providing full medical concierge assistance. The center provides a comprehensive range of services from information and consultancy to patient support services, even including home pick-up services for transport to Turkey for treatment, as well as their return trip. Also, if so required, arrangements can be made so that the patient can be monitored at home upon their return. As of 2012, Acibadem provides treatment services in 90 different medical branches and already receives 20,000 international patients a year from five continents and 47 nations.

In addition to the medical concierge services offered in Turkey, Acibadem also provides patients with the chance to discuss potential medical treatment in Turkey ahead of time with "Dr. Marcy" -- Marcy Zwelling-Aarnot, an Acibadem-affiliated American physician practicing in Los Angeles.

For more information on Acibadem's international patient services:
http://heartandspinesurgery.com
http://acibadem.com.tr

 

Industry News

Laura Carabello Moderates IHC Medical Travel Panel Discussion

Institute of HealthCare Consumerism's (IHC) 5th Annual IHC FORUM & Expo Conference, Thursday, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m., May 8, 2014, Atlanta, GA

Laura Carabello, founder and principal, CPR, and publisher of Medical Travel Today and U.S. Domestic Medical Travel™, will moderate a panel discussion on medical travel - "ALL ABOARD!  U.S. Centers of Excellence Banking on Employer and Payer Uptake of Domestic Medical Travel Benefits" - during the Institute of HealthCare Consumerism's (IHC) 5th Annual IHC FORUM & Expo Conference, Thursday, 3 p.m. - 4 p.m., May 8, 2014, Atlanta, Ga.

"The fast-growth phenomenon of U.S. domestic medical travel -- inter-state to Centers of Excellence (COEs) throughout the country, inbound to the U.S., and outbound to destinations worldwide - is capturing the attention of employers, payers, third party administrators, insurance companies and other intermediaries throughout the world," Carabello says. "With the growth of HSAs as well as self-funding, a domestic medical travel benefit is now gaining traction among small, medium and large employer groups."

The United States is now one of the top three destinations worldwide for medical travel, and receives as many as 800,000 international patients seeking help with the most difficult health conditions. As a result, and in the new era of health reforms, Americans are witnessing:

  • Rapid adoption of domestic medical tourism: travel to another state or region within U.S. borders
  • Employer receptivity to introducing a medical travel benefit
  • Consumer willingness to travel to other parts of the United States to access quality care with improved outcomes
  • Increased demand for more cost-effective care that meets budget requirements

"There is growing interest among U.S. hospitals, providers and Centers of Excellence to attract foreign patients," Carabello adds. "Physician-owned ambulatory surgi-centers are participating in this growth trend, as well.  International patients are often cash-paying customers and originate from countries where there are significant financial resources but limited healthcare infrastructure or access to quality diagnostics or care." 

This session will examine the top volume procedures for medical travel, track the growth of the industry, evaluate the positioning of provider organizations and COEs, and review initiatives by some of the nation's largest employers to introduce domestic medical travel programs.  With the implementation of healthcare exchanges, and amid mounting challenges for balancing quality and cost-savings, this discussion will help conference attendees to evaluate their participation in a medical travel program. 

Medical Travel Today would like to extend to you a discount registration code for the only Conference Series 100 Percent Dedicated to HealthCare Consumerism Progress, Collaboration and Education.

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Wondering what specifically you will take away from the 2014 IHC FORUM & Expo? Read our Attendee Takeaways.
IHC FORUM's 2014 Theme:
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2014 IHC FORUM & Expo, May 7-9
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"HealthCare Consumerism:
The Solution for HealthCare Reform"

 

Produced by: The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism
292 South Main Street, Ste 400
Alpharetta, GA 30009
404.671.9551

 

Industry News

Domestic Medical Travel: Quality Care, Controlled Costs
by Laura Carabello, Founder and Principal, CPR, Publisher of Medical Travel Today and U.S. Domestic Medical Travel

Theihcc.com-A growing number of U.S. employers have adopted domestic medical travel programs, encouraging employees to travel to Centers of Excellence (COEs) for elective surgical procedures. 

Patients save money and companies are able to negotiate bundled, fixed-rate prices that are generally 20 to 50 percent - or more - below the rates charged through traditional insurance plans. The COEs range from high-profile hospitals and health systems to physician-owned surgi-centers specializing in specific procedures such as orthopedic and cardiac care.

Interest in domestic medical travel comes in response to rising health insurance premiums, lack of transparency and increased awareness of how varied medical costs and quality vary dramatically between hospitals and across regions. 

Recent domestic medical travel programs include:

  • Wal-Mart has partnered with six U.S. health care organizations to expand its COE program in 2013 to certain heart and spine surgeries in addition to transplants at Mayo Clinic.
  • In 2012, Boeing began offering its 83,000 non-union employees, retirees and their dependents the option to travel to the Cleveland Clinic for complex heart procedures or surgery.
  • PepsiCo domestic employees and their dependents - almost 250,000 people - have had the option since 2011 to seek treatment at Johns Hopkins Medicine for cardiac and complex joint replacement surgeries. PepsiCo negotiated a bundled, all-inclusive rate for hospital and physician charges and certain pre-operative testing.

The growing interest in domestic medical travel among employers and payers is likely to see an uptick as more companies follow in the steps of the retail giants.

Benefit to Employees

Employees who travel to COEs experience lower costs and better quality of care. Frequently, they are enticed by employers who waive co-pays and deductible, offer cash incentives and cover the full cost of travel for the patient and caregiver. Medical travel within the United States is a much easier sell than travel abroad, especially for patients who have never traveled to another country and feel uncomfortable about unfamiliar settings while recovering from surgery. 

For patients who don't want to fly, regional options can be arranged. Based on patient volume, complication and infection rates, a surgeon is chosen who can perform the procedure and help negotiate a bundled rate at a facility he or she is contracted with - all within driving distance for the patient.

Patients also benefit when a physician at a COE suggests an alternative to surgery. Rather than being guided solely by their physician, patients find they have more choices. Studies show that when patients engage with highly specific, detailed information about their diagnosis, prognosis and treatment options, they make informed medical decisions that lead to healthier and more personally satisfying outcomes. Given the ability to understand their options and actively participate in surgical decisions, consumers can play a significant role in directing their surgery.

Influence of the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has triggered a significant shift toward cost-containment and patient-centric care, and employers now put enormous stock in preventive health care programs and options that offer quality, transparency and value. 

The ACA waives pre-existing conditions restrictions by insurance companies and makes insurance premiums the same for healthy and chronically ill individuals. With this aspect of reform driving insurance costs up dramatically, it will increase the appeal of domestic medical travel as a way to curb costs for employers and insurers.

And as Americans become more engaged and educated health care consumers in the new reform environment, domestic medical travel will become more acceptable. 

Role of the Employer

The key difference between domestic medical travel and medical travel overseas is that employers and employees appear to prefer the concept of domestic travel. Individuals like staying within U.S. borders where they say they feel safer and more comfortable dealing with English-speaking physicians. The pioneer employers understood the cost-savings of domestic medical travel and recognized the opportunity to keep employees healthy and productive, while maintaining control over quality of medical outcomes. Toward that end, they demanded safety, security and quality of treatment.

As more employers adopt domestic medical travel, they will be motivated more by cost control, while moving toward paying for quality care - rather than simply paying per service. 

With this in mind, domestic medical travel offers a way to curb the cost of unnecessary surgery. Utilizing robust health data, employers can identify plan members who are on the path to major surgery and will benefit from providing education about the surgery, and the utilization of quality provider options, such as COEs. 

This strategy can reduce financial risk for employer organizations of all sizes. A relationship with a COE empowers employers to anticipate costs and take action, which is important given that surgical costs represent the largest component of U.S. health care spend by far.

Opportunities and Challenges

Insurers pose a potential roadblock to the adoption of domestic medical travel. When Lowe's asked its benefit administrator to develop ways for workers to determine the best hospitals for cost and quality, the insurer dragged its feet for years, and Lowe's ended up doing the research. 

As baby boomers age, the number of knee, hip, spine and heart-related surgeries are rising. Surgery costs account for 30 percent or more of employers' total health care spend. These complex, high-cost surgeries, while infrequent, consume disproportionately high resources.

In the case of Lowe's, one employee had three complex heart procedures while hospitalized under the new program. Lowe's asked a benefit firm to calculate the cost of those procedures if they were done under the company's standard insurance plan. The benefit firm estimated $531,000. Under the agreement with the Cleveland Clinic, Lowe's paid $469,000.

With the implementation of private insurance exchanges, the growth of health savings accounts or flex benefits plans and the surge in self-insurance for companies of all sizes, the domestic medical travel trend will continue to build, as employers introduce incentives, including waiving co-pays and deductibles to prompt utilization. 

Opportunities for expanding domestic medical travel care to include a wider range of conditions exists as well, particularly for conditions that are difficult to manage, such as diabetes, where it is a precursor for other serious conditions. 

Looking Ahead

For employers and payers, domestic medical travel provides an opportunity to control rampant health care costs - and play a role in accelerating health care reform. After years of operating outside of market forces, U.S. health care organizations are being held accountable and must become competitive to survive.

The full impact of the ACA has yet to play out. When employer plans are no longer able to impose annual or lifetime dollar limits on Essential Health Benefits (EHBs), self-insured employers will be looking for new solutions. Expect to see a greater push by benefit plan designers and HR to focus on educating employees about the advantages of domestic medical travel - and for positive word-of-mouth to push acceptance even further. 

Many companies have watched the big retailers begin offering domestic medical travel to COEs and have waited to see results. Soon, they will begin to explore how they too can curb costs by offering employees a proven benefit strategy in the spirit of health reform.  

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

International Medical Travel Business Summit Highlights Costa Rica as Global Medical Tourism Destination

San Jose, Costa Rica: Medical tourism will soon take center stage in Miami, as 500 delegates from more than 15 countries gather May 6-8, 2014, at the Deauville Beach Resort in Miami Beach, Fla., to discuss the future of medical tourism and Costa Rica's increasing recognition as a leader in global medical travel.

Healthcare reform has sounded an alarm for many individuals, businesses and state and local governments, driving them to seek new avenues for affordable healthcare.  The quest to find high-quality, affordable healthcare leads many to seek medical attention outside of our national borders in countries like Mexico, India, Colombia and Costa Rica.  In fact, Costa Rica is considered a pioneer and global leader in providing quality medical and dental services at prices that are often 50 to 80 percent less than comparable care in the U.S. and Canada.

To encourage a greater understanding of Costa Rica's leading healthcare and health tourism providers, PROMED (The Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine), the leading private healthcare association in Costa Rica, is hosting the Fifth International Medical Travel Business Summit. This medical tourism event will be held in Miami, Fla., making it easier for U.S. and Canadian participants to learn more about healthcare choices available in Latin America.

The International Medical Travel Business Summit unites participants from Latin America and North America in a comfortable personal environment focused on valuable industry education and powerful professional networking. Attendees will participate in high-level medical tourism educational seminars and medical travel workshops designed to spur innovation and new business opportunities.

PROMED Costa Rica has assembled a team of medical tourism industry leaders and top Latin American executives as speakers to share their valuable expertise and insights regarding the international Medical Tourism Market. Structured networking meetings and casual social events will also allow participants to meet and discuss the future of medical tourism in Latin America with these industry thought leaders.

Lower Cost Healthcare in Latin America Saves Companies Money
The International Medical Travel Business Summit is an excellent opportunity for U.S. companies to realize dramatic healthcare savings or to increase their healthcare service offerings through partnerships in Latin America. Meet leaders of key Latin American medical organizations, doctors, dentists and many other professionals that offer high-quality affordable healthcare solutions.

Why Is the International Medical Travel Business Summit Important?
Medical tourism has become a viable solution for the 52 million Americans that have no or very limited medical insurance and the 142 million Americans with little or no dental insurance. When the cost for quality medical care in the U.S. and Canada becomes out of reach for most average middle class families, they are forced to seek affordable medical and dental care abroad.

Insurance companies, self-insured companies, benefits administrators and more recognize the high-quality of medical and dental care in many Lain American countries, including Costa Rica.  These insurance and benefits leaders attend the International Medical Travel Business Summit to meet with leading medical travel providers and forge powerful partnerships to provide affordable care for their insured members.

Who Should Attend the Summit?

  • Employers
  • Brokers
  • Affinity Groups
  • Medical Tourism Facilitators
  • Investors
  • Medical Tourism Clusters
  • Insurance Companies
  • TPAs
  • Benefit Consultants
  • Hospitals
  • Medical and Dental Clinics
  • Healthcare Consultants
  • Hotels, Spas
  • Governmental and Nongovernmental Organizations

Learn more about the booming medical tourism industry and how you can play a role in this growth sector. Space for this event is limited. Please contact PROMED today to reserve your space for this important medical tourism event.

Contact:
www.themedicaltravelsummit.com  
info@promedcostarica.com 
US (786) 468-7570
Costa Rica: 011- 506-2201-5263

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

Medical Tourism Presents Economic Growth Potential for the Caribbean

Southfloridacaribbeannews.com - The Caribbean region can boost its bottom line by developing a medical tourism product that takes advantage of its brand as a great vacation destination, its proximity to North America, as well as its tourism facilities, beaches and the year-round warm weather of the region.

That's according to Dr. Paul Angelchik, founder of American World Clinics, and Collin Childress, CEO of Global MedChoices. Their comments come as both prepare to discuss the potential of medical tourism for the Caribbean in-depth at a panel at Invest Caribbean Now (ICN) 2014.

ICN, the biggest global investment summit on the Caribbean outside of the region, is set for the Harvard Club in New York City from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., June 4, 2014, under the patronage of Hollywood actor Malik Yoba.

"The opportunity for the Caribbean in general is that it carries a positive connotation in the view of many for having friendly people, natural beauty and a reputation as an enjoyable, upscale destination with great visitor amenities in many locations," commented Dr. Angelchik. "I have no doubt that the Caribbean can be a major region for medical travel activities if there is follow-through on the initial buzz of enthusiasm that has defined the industry to date."

"Creating the opportunity for economic diversification through introducing a sustainable development and growth industry, such as medical tourism, to the Caribbean can help soften the impact of cyclical North American economic downturns in tourism on the Caribbean market and leverage the supply and demand issues that are driving patient flow offshore from Canada and the U.S.," added CEO Childress.

In 2011, the total impact of the medical tourism industry contributed nine percent of global GDP (over $6 trillion USD) and accounted for 255 million jobs in the world. In the next decade, medical tourism is expected to grow by an average yearly of four percent, contributing up to 10 percent of future global GDP ($10 trillion). Eventually, by 2022, it is estimated that 328 million jobs will be created in the medical tourism industry: equal to 10 percent of jobs in the world.

To view the original release click here.

Industry News

Dubai's Bid to Woo 500,000 Medical Tourists a Year by 2020
by Preeti Kannan


Thenational.ae - Dubai will build 22 hospitals as part of plans to attract 500,000 medical tourists a year and boost its economy by up to Dh2.6 billion by 2020.

Thousands of staff will be hired and new visas offered as part of the emirate's plan to become a major center for medical tourism by the time it hosts Expo 2020.

"Our target is to attract 500,000 people only for medical tourism by 2020," said Essa Al Maidoor, director general of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA).

"The medical tourism strategy has been designed over two phases. The first one has been chalked out until 2016 and the second until 2020."

The authority said 18 private and four public hospitals would be built in the next few years, with the number of private-sector healthcare staff expected to increase by more than 4,300.

Private hospitals will target patients from the Commonwealth of Independent States, including Belarus, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, and in South Asia and Arabian Gulf nations.

Treatments to be offered include orthopaedic and sports medicine, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, dental procedures, dermatology, preventive medicine and skin care.

Medical tourists will be issued with new visas and a choice of travel and accommodation packages.

"The packages will include visa, hotel stay and activities in Dubai," said Dr. Ramadan Ibrahim, director of the Health Regulation Department and director of the project at the DHA.

"We will launch these packages by the end of the year. We are working with private healthcare facilities and have done a workshop and survey with them. There will be different categories of visas depending on the specialty of the treatment."

The DHA also plans to rate hospitals from one to five stars, depending on the quality of their services, within the next two years.
"We want to have a clear-cut ranking system to enable medical tourists to discern what type of facility they want based on the price and place," Dr. Ibrahim said. "We haven't developed a system yet. It is in the process and should be ready by 2016."
The authority wants Dubai to be on par with medical tourism destinations such as the U.S., Singapore, Thailand and India.
It is already popular with people seeking a range of treatments.

In 2012, 107,000 medical tourists visited the emirate, generating Dh652 million. By 2016, the DHA expects that number to increase to 170,000, with revenues of about Dh1.1bn.

Mr. Al Maidoor conceded there were challenges in achieving the goals, with many people from the UAE often choosing to travel overseas for treatment.

"You will find people going outside for treatment," he said. "We can't stop people from going back and forth so we are creating a model to attract patients. We have very famous and good doctors and people are travelling to receive treatment here. We have doctors in orthopedics, dentistry, ophthalmology and plastic surgery. Dubai is trying to create an environment that will attract the best doctors worldwide."

Mr. Al Maidoor said the DHA was also trying to address shortages in the number of medical staff in the emirate.
"We have continuing education programs to enhance, educate and attract medical staff from all over the world," he said. "Challenges are there but with collaborations with private hotels and transport, we can create packages and compete with other countries. We have 28,850 staff in the medical field. This will increase by 10 to 15 percent."

The DHA will work with the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Department of Economic Development, Dubai Healthcare City and the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs to issue tourist packages and visas.

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

Why Medical Tourism for Workers' Comp is an Idea Whose Time Has Come
by Richard Krasner

There are some people in the workers' comp world whose mission it is to keep the status quo going for the benefit of plaintiff lawyers, defense lawyers, doctors, hospitals and workers' comp services providers, as well as for the state legislators and regulators of workers' comp systems in all 50 states who write the laws and oversee that the rules and regulations are adhered to.

They like to argue that the claimant's lawyers would object, but it is the very lawyers, both plaintiff and defense, that have made workers' comp claims so expensive and so dysfunctional. Then there are the myriad service providers who claim to be able to lower costs, but only add more expenses to the claims. Add to that what the physicians charge, what hospitals charge and by the end of the claim, the medical costs have outstripped the indemnity payments to the claimant. There is something wrong with that.

And because these people are invested with keeping the status quo, they feel it is their right to shoot down any idea that would change the status quo. One such individual has called my idea to implement medical tourism into workers' compensation a "ridiculous idea" and "a non-starter."

Yet, I have been published in several medical tourism blogs and newsletters published in this country and elsewhere, and have been singled out as one of the "many smart, loud, and committed folks talking and writing about what needs to happen [to improve workers' comp] and why" by a well-respected fellow blogger in the managed care/workers' comp arena. This blogger also told me that I am "far in front of the crowd" on this issue, and I wrote a post with that very title.

And, I have been invited to speak at a medical tourism summit in Mexico in November because of my writing on the subject of medical tourism and workers' comp. So obviously, my idea is not as far-fetched or ridiculous as some would have you believe.
What most of these individuals do not know is that cross-border healthcare is already happening. And it's been happening for years, as I've written in my post, Cross-border Workers' Compensation a Reality in California, and I also wrote about a company in North Carolina that is paying for their employees to go to India or Costa Rica, mainly for work-related back injuries.

They are under the delusion that workers' compensation, unlike other industries, is somehow immune to the forces of globalization, and that by doing the same things over and over again, to lower costs, and to get better quality outcomes, they are going to get different results. You know what that is called, right?

What most of these people are afraid of is that these innovative and new ideas will actually work to help bring down costs and provide better quality outcomes for workers' comp claims. They know that if employers and insurers actually save money by sending injured workers to places like Costa Rica, Mexico and other Latin American countries where they speak the same language as the claimant and have the same or nearly the same culture as the one the injured worker came from originally, that other injured workers will do the same.

And that would mean that the American surgeons and hospitals that charge thousands of dollars for surgeries common to workers comp could lose market share. Well, isn't that what capitalism is all about? Getting the same good or service at the same or better quality, but at a lower price? Why should workers' comp be any different than buying a car in another state where the price of the car is lower than what is available at a nearby dealer?

But there is another reason why these people do not like the idea of medical tourism in workers' compensation. It's called "American exceptionalism." It is a meme carried over from our colonial past whereby the original settlers believed that America was a shining city on a hill, and therefore anything Americans do is the best. Well if that is true, then why is America's healthcare system so bad? I wrote an article not that long ago called "We're No. 1!", NOT! - Why the US Health Care System is Not the Best in the World and Why Implementing Medical Tourism into Workers' Comp Could Improve Outcomes that proves that we don't have the best healthcare system in the world.

But what's more, these people actually believe that non-Americans cannot be as good as Americans, as if being from another country somehow means that they are less qualified or less skilled, even when the physicians are trained in the U.S. or in Western Europe. Have any of these people ever seen how many foreign-born doctors are working in our hospitals? Where do you think they go once they stop working in this country?

Yet again, these people believe that it is okay to subject injured workers to this broken, dysfunctional system, and insist that if we only do this, or do that, or try something else that has no chance of lowering costs to a reasonable level, they will get different outcomes. Saying that you can negotiate lower costs or use a fee schedule to bring down costs, when even that negotiated cost or fee schedule cost is higher than what is available outside the US, is not a real solution to high-cost medical care. It only makes matters worse. What good is getting surgical costs down to $25,000 from $30,000, when the same surgery can be less than $20,000, with airfare and accommodations for two people in a first-class medical tourism facility?

I know there are barriers and obstacles to implementing medical tourism into workers' comp. I wrote a White Paper on it, and have written many times that it won't be easy, nor is it a "pipe dream." They even say that it can't happen under the current workers' comp statutes. I know, that is why I said they have to change the statutes to do so. And they also said that no judge would order medical tourism. No judge has to order this, it has to be done before it goes before a judge, but since they mentioned it, I will say that the District Court of Appeal in Florida has ruled that a worker can return to their home country for care under Florida law (see AMS Staff Leasing v Arreola).

But somehow, medical tourism for workers' compensation is harder to do than flying in the air, or going into space and walking on the moon. Tell that to the millions of people around the world who fly in airplanes every single day. Tell that to the men and women, from many countries, not just our American astronauts and Russian cosmonauts who have flown in space, and tell that to the men who have walked on the moon. Is medical tourism in workers' comp harder and more difficult than those achievements? Hardly. The only thing that stops us is our lack of imagination and lack of will.

I leave it to others to figure out how to get employers, insurers, lawyers, doctors, and most of all, employees to choose medical tourism as an option for medical care. It's not for everyone, but for those who do chose it, it could be better than the sub-standard care they are getting now in our broken and dysfunctional healthcare system. And they just might find that the world is really truly getting smaller and that borders are no longer the barriers they once were for all kinds of goods and services.

The world is globalizing. Healthcare is globalizing, and workers' comp medical care must and will globalize. If not, it will fail as a system to provide the best care possible at the lowest cost possible. There is nothing anyone in the workers' comp industry can do to stop globalization, so you might as well get on-board with it and stop fighting it. You'll feel better when you do.

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

Health and Wellness Development Trends in North America
Published by: The Tourism Observatory for Health, Wellness and Spa in cooperation with TREC International

Industry News

Consumer Reports Ranks Top 10 Safest U.S. Hospitals
Publication Considers Readmission, Mortality Rates, Hospital-Acquired Infections When Tallying Scores
by Zack Budryk

Fiercehealthcare.com - A recent article, "Consumer Reports Rank Top 10 Safest U.S. Hospitals," published by Fiercehealthcare.com, recounts the top 10 safest and least safe hospitals nationwide, according to rankings from Consumer Reports.

Based on the standings, the safest hospital in the U.S. is Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta, Maine, with a score of 78 out of 100, and the least safe is Bolivar Medical Center in Cleveland, Miss., with a score of 11 out of 100.

To view the original article in its entirety click here.

Industry News

Global Spa & Wellness Summit Unveils 2014 Theme "Fast Forward"
Futurist speaker Dr. Kjell A. Nordström to present keynote event; Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development named as Titanium Sponsor

The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) today unveiled its futurist theme - Fast Forward - for its 8th annual event taking place September 10-12, 2014, at the Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, Morocco. The event, which is considered the world's most prestigious gathering of business, government and academic leaders in the wellness, travel and spa industries, is expected to attract a record number of attendees. The 2nd annual Global Wellness Tourism Congress (GWTC) will take place concurrently on September 10, 2014.

"This year, the Summit is hitting the Fast Forward button," said Susie Ellis, GSWS chairman and CEO.  "Our agenda and keynote speakers will be focused on looking closely and creatively at the future of spa and wellness, from new technologies that will transform our businesses and the way wellness gets delivered to the future of design, exploring the latest in brain science and its implications, and the next wave in retailing, presenting crucial, new research that will illuminate and shape our industry's future path."

Dr. Kjell A. Nordström, a Swedish economist, futurist thought-leader and renowned co-author of Funky Business, is the Summit's first announced keynote speaker, in what will be a prestigious, high-profile line-up of future-focused thinkers. His provocative presentation will analyze a future global world marked by seismic shifts in demographic and consumer realities:
"The future is urban and female. The influence of countries and men is fading away - prepare yourselves for Amazonia," says Nordström.

About Dr. Kjell A. Nordström
Dr. Kjell A. Nordström holds a doctoral degree in International Business from the Stockholm School of Economics. His research and consulting focus is on the areas of corporate strategy, multinational corporations and globalization.

He has published three books (co-authored with Jonas Ridderstråle) and numerous articles on the internationalization process of firms. His books (Funky BusinessKaraoke CapitalismFunky Business Forever) have been featured on CNN and CNBC and appeared in FortuneFast CompanyTime MagazineFinancial TimesParis Match, etc. Funky Business was an international bestseller and was translated into 32 languages. Funky Business Forever (2008), his long awaited update takes a look back on the latter half of the millennium's first decade, and provides evolved thinking and commentary in a way that is truly "funky" and down to business.

Titanium Sponsor - Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development
The host country sponsor of the 2014 event, the Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT), has also committed to the Summit's highest level of sponsorship - Titanium. This generous support is in addition to SMIT's responsibilities as the co-organizer of the Global Wellness Tourism Congress.

"Interestingly, Morocco ranks among the top 10 nations worldwide for wellness tourism growth through 2017 and is expected to have an annual growth rate of 14.7 percent, 60-plus percent faster than the global average," said Ellis. "SMIT has proven itself incredibly forward thinking when it comes to realizing the potential of wellness tourism and attracting investment, making them a perfect partner for the 2nd annual GWTC."

"We are proud to welcome the 8th annual Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) to Marrakech, Morocco. This event embodies our commitment to promote Morocco as a worldwide recognized wellness destination," said Imad Barrakad, CEO, Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development. "As host sponsor and co-organizer, we look forward to bringing the leaders in spa and wellness together and introducing them to Morocco's unique spa heritage - including Moroccan Hammams and our increasingly popular export, Argan oil.

To register to become a delegate to the GSWS, click here. For more information, visit http://www.gsws.org or email Alexandra Plessier at Alexandra@gsws.org. For sponsorship information, contact Executive Vice President Sallie Fraenkel at sallie@gsws.org.

About the Summit: The Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) is an international organization representing senior executives and leaders from over 40 countries, joined by a common interest to drive economic development and understanding of the spa and wellness industries. Delegates from diverse sectors, including hospitality, tourism, health and wellness, beauty, finance, medical, real estate, manufacturing and technology, attend the organization's annual Summit, which is held in a different host country each year. After just seven years, the GSWS is now considered the leading global research and educational resource for the $1.9 trillion spa and wellness industry. For more information, visit www.gsws.org.

About SMIT: A key player in planning and tourism development in Morocco, the SMIT is committed to develop and implement innovative concepts to produce the best results and to meet the expectations of all its partners. In addition to its contribution to the conception of the Strategic Vision 2020, the SMIT is a major player in setting of the execution of tourism development projects.

Since its creation, the SMIT has actively worked to carry out different missions, including: conception and the development of the tourism product as defined by the national strategy; the identification of potential sites for targeted developers and operators; engineering studies and the investment advisory; promotion of investment opportunities; and enhancement of private initiative and public-private partnership. The SMIT philosophy is based on the capitalization of its key success factors in each business area explored and each project developed. Aiming to make Morocco the 20th most important tourist destinations in the world by 2020, the SMIT is the initiator of innovative projects and is a key player in the field of engineering and tourism development through its public and private partnerships.

Industry News

New Housing Societies Now Provide Virtual Medical Services in Apartments
by Dr. Neelesh Bhandari

Blog.digmed.in - Not just club houses and tennis courts. New Housing colonies now provide another value added service: Virtual Doctor in Your Apartment.

Apollo TeleHealth Services is providing 24/7 "Remote Healthcare" in new upcoming apartment complexes. Jain Housing & Constructions announced that their new complex going up at Chennai will now be provided with healthcare services around the clock via Apollo Telemedicine network. Using high-speed Internet, TeleHealth enabled peripheral medical devices and customized software, high quality video conferencing, patients can directly interact with an Apollo family physician, specialist or super specialist.

The complex would have a dedicated telemedicine room with all the equipment. Investigations like ECG and clinical examination with e-stethoscopes would be performed in the complex itself. The software has an inbuilt Electronic Medical Record, so images and lab reports can all be uploaded by users. Following a tele-diagnosis, an "e-Prescription" will be sent directly to the patients. Maintenance staff at these complexes will be trained to handle the equipment. Also, medicines would be supplied at the door step.

Apollo Telehealth plans to provide such services to apartment complexes and retirement homes throughout the country. If Apollo can provide this service on multiple urban locations like these, it might change the healthcare-seeking behavior among planned urban neighborhood areas, at the least.

This post was written by Dr. Neelesh Bhandari - who has written 108 posts on Digital Medicine, Physician Entrepreneur, Disruptive Innovator, Health Rights theorist and HealthIT business promoter leading India's First Healthcare Social Media Agency. Chairman, Social Media Committee @ Indian Association for Medical Informatics. Awarded by Time Research Media for Running 'Best Healthcare Social Media and Digital Marketing Agency' in India for 2012.

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

MarketResearchReports.com: Singapore Medical Tourism Analysis and Forecast, New Report Launched

MarketResearchReports.com-Singapore is one of the top medical tourist destinations in the world. With modern medical technology and highly trained doctors Singapore private hospitals offer exceptional healthcare services. Patients from all over the world visit Singapore for treatment because Singapore has a team with high-standard medical expertise, along with many well-known tourist attractions to explore. Singapore Tourism Board (STB) works closely with the private healthcare providers to strengthen and expand their reach and referral networks in key target markets. In addition, STB facilitates industry development capabilities to create and deliver value-added experiences to enhance service delivery for greater patient satisfaction. At the same time, STB continues to partner with private industry to strengthen Singapore's positioning as a quality advanced medical care destination. STB works with healthcare and travel agents to provide hassle-free and comprehensive Singapore medical tourism packages for medical travelers and their family members.

Singapore attracts an increasing number of medical professionals and multi-national healthcare-related companies from various parts of the world to share and exchange their expertise, to conduct healthcare-related research and training, as well as to host international conferences and events. However, as prices have risen in Singapore, it has lost U.S. and Western European business to cheaper countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and India.

This is the second edition of the report on Singapore Medical Tourism by the publisher. The report, "Singapore Medical Tourism Analysis and Forecast," provides a comprehensive analysis of the Singapore medical tourism market, covering in detail various aspects of medical tourists' arrivals and spending from the top 16 countries.

This 74-page report with 62 Figures provides a complete analysis of visitors from the top 16 countries who visited Singapore for medical treatment. All the 16 countries in the report have been studied from two viewpoints.

1- Medical Tourists Arrivals in Singapore from the year 2004 - 2018
2- Medical Tourists Spending in Singapore from the year 2004 - 2018

Browse this report: http://mrr.cm/ZiA

Data Sources

- This report is built using data and information sourced from proprietary databases, primary and secondary research and in-house analysis by the publisher's research team of industry experts.

- Primary sources include industry surveys and telephone interviews with industry experts.

- Secondary sources information and data have been collected from various printable and non-printable sources like search engines, news websites, government websites, trade journals, white papers, government agencies, magazines, newspapers, trade associations, books, industry portals, industry associations and access to more than 500 paid databases.

Find other Medical Tourism Reports at: http://www.marketresearchreports.com/medical-tourism

Find other reports on Singapore Market: http://www.marketresearchreports.com/countries/singapore

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Industry News

World's Largest Self-Insurance/ART Event Coming to Phoenix!

The Self-Insurance Institute of America, (SIIA) today announced the program for its National Educational Conference & Expo, scheduled for October 5-7, 2014 at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. The event typically attracts more than 1,700 attendees from throughout the United States and from a growing number of countries around the world.

Detailed event information, including registration forms, can be accessed on-line at www.siia.org, or by calling 800/851-7789. Sign up today and take advantage of discounted early bird registration fees and secure your room at the host hotel. NOTE: This hotel is a SIIA member favorite and always sells out early, so please keep this in mind as you make your arrangements.

The program features more than 40 educational sessions designed to help employers and their business partners identify and maximize the value of self-insurance solutions.

We'll cover self-insured group health plans from every angle, including plan design and cost containment, financial risk transfer, broker involvement and ACA compliance. Extra content has been incorporated this year that should be of specific interest to TPA executives and their key management teams. And you won't to miss our panel discussion sessions featuring top thought leaders talking about the future of the self-insurance marketplace.

Another focus will be stop-loss captive programs (also known as employee benefit group captives). An increasing number of smaller and mid-sized employers have been considering self-insured group health plans and stop-loss captive programs can help facilitate this transition. SIIA has become the recognized industry leader in this fast-growing captive insurance market niche and the session speakers for this topic area will be many of the industry's top experts.

Also within the Alternative Risk Transfer track, additional sessions will focus on Enterprise Risk Captives, also known as 831(b) captives, which have become an increasingly popular self-insurance solution for many companies.

Given the rapidly involving business and regulatory environment for group workers' compensation self-insured funds (SIGs), we have incorporated a series of roundtable sessions where SIG leaders from around the country will provided a unique opportunity to share perspectives on how their organization should be positioning themselves for future success. These SIG-focused roundtables will be supplemented by additional timely sessions of interest to both groups and individual workers' compensation self-insurers.

Rounding out the program will be some sessions addressing key self-insured issues, including ACA compliance requirements, for companies with global operations and/or workforces, giving the conference an added international flavor.

This top notch educational program will be supplemented with quality networking events, including an exhibit hall with more than 150 companies showcasing a wide variety of innovative products and services designed specifically for self-insured entities. If you are searching for a self-insurance business partner, they will be waiting for you at this event. For more information about exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Justin Miller at 800/851-7789, or jmiller@siia.org.

Your can get a head start on your networking by participating in the conference golf tournament the morning of Sunday, October 5. And then cap things off with an incredible social event on the closing night of Tuesday, October 7 so be sure that you make your travel arrangements accordingly.

New to Self-Insurance/Alternative Risk Transfer? SIIA Welcomes You!....While the conference will be packed with industry experts and many advanced-level educational sessions, SIIA warmly welcomes those who are new to self-insurance/alternative risk transfer and want to learn the basics. To help you get started, we have scheduled "beginner" sessions immediately before Sunday night's welcome reception to help you more fully participate in the overall event. Additionally, for employers (non-industry service providers) considering self-insurance, you can take advantage of a highly discounted registration fee.

If self-insurance is important to you in any way, this is simply a must-attend event. We look forward to seeing you in Phoenix.

Register Now: www.siia.org/national


Industry News

Let's Get a Medical Tourism Certificate! Is it Worth the Paper it's Printed On?
Written and published by IMTJ

A new industry is developing around the business of medical tourism. It's the certification business. You need an impressive sounding name, a web site, a decent laser printer (and a good relationship with a certificate framing service!).

There's a plethora of "get rich quick" certifications which are appearing around medical tourism. They are quick and easy to obtain. Through a half or one day seminar or an online course, the certifier usually promises that you will attract more international patients, give your organization a competitive edge, increase the safety of patients and even reduce your organization's liability etc.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

Help Save a Life and Support MatchingDonors
100 percent of all donations on MatchingDonors.com go to help people get organ transplants on MatchingDonors.com.

MatchingDonors is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and the nation's largest online living organ donor organization finding living organ donors for people needing organ transplants.  In conjunction with various health organizations throughout the United States we have created a very successful Public Service Announcement campaign to help people recognize that they can save lives by being a living organ donor, to encourage them to register as an altruistic living organ donor, and to make them realize they can help save the lives of people needing organ transplants by donating other things. This MatchingDonors Living Organ Donor Initiative program has already saved thousands of lives.


Industry News

 

Upcoming Events

9th World Health Tourism Congress

May 2-4, 2014 -Dubai, UAE
To learn more or to register click here.


Medical Travel Summit 2014

May 6-8, 2014 - Deauville Beach Resort, Miami Beach, Florida
To learn more or to register click here.


IHC Forum & Expo 2014

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May 7-9, 2014 - Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta, Georgia
To learn more or to register click here.


10th Asia Pacific Travel Health Conference

May 7-10, 2014 - Caravelle Hotel, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
To learn more or to register click here.


Medical Tourism Asia 2014

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May 13-15, 2014 - China
To learn more or to register click here.


Kazakhstan International Health Forum "Medical Tourism"

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May 14-16, 2014 - Atakent Exhibition Centre, Almaty, Kazakhstan
To learn more or to register click here.


Allen Medical International Annual Meeting

May 17-19, 2014 - Vienna, Austria
To learn more or to register click here.


UBS Global Healthcare Conference

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May 19-21, 2014 - Sheraton NY Hotel, New York, NY
To learn more or to register click here.


5th Northern European Conference on Travel Medicine

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June 5-8, 2014 - Bergen, Norway
To learn more or to register click here.


Istanbul Medical Tourism Fair

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June 11-13, 2014 - Istanbul Congress Center, Istanbul, Turkey
To learn more or to register click here.


28th International Travel Expo

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June 12-15, 2014 - Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Center
To learn more or to register click here.


Indo Global Healthcare Summit and Expo

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June 20-22, 2014 - Taj Krishna & Taj Deccan, Hyderabad, India
To learn more or to register click here.


3rd Annual Global Healthcare Conference

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June 23-24, 2014 - Hotel Fort Canning, Singapore
To learn more or to register click here.


The Health Tourism Show

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July 10-12, 2014 - The Health Tourism Show
To learn more or to register click here.


6th Regional Conference of the International Society of Travel Medicine

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August 2-6, 2014 - Jackson Hole, Wyoming
To learn more or to register click here.


Medical Fair Asia 2014

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September 9-11, 2014 - Suntec Singapore, Singapore
To learn more or to register click here.


8th Annual Global Spa & Wellness Summit

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September 10-12, 2014 - Four Seasons Resort Marrakech, Marrakech, Morocco
To learn more or to register click here.


10th International Exposition and Conference for Medical Tourism, Spa & Health

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September 16-19, 2014 - Moscow, Russia
To learn more or to register click here.


Moscow MEDSHOW

September 20-21, 2014 - Tishinka Exhibition Centre, Moscow, Russia
To learn more or to register click here.


7th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress

September 20-24, 2014 - Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, Washington D.C.
To learn more or to register click here.


34th Annual SIIA National Educational Conference & Expo

October 5-7, 2014 - J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa, Phoenix, AZ
To learn more or to register click here.


IMF International Medical Forum and Spa & Wellness: Healthcare Travel Expo

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October 14-16, 2014 - EC KyivExpoPlaza, Kyiv, Ukraine
To learn more or to register click here.


Mexico Summit on Medical & Wellness Tourism Business

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October 22-24, 2014 - Reynosa, Mexico
To learn more or to register click here.


Health Tourism Expo Turkey

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October 23-25, 2014 - Istanbul, Turkey
To learn more or to register click here.


IHC Forum West 2014

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December 4-5, 2014 - Red Rock Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada
To learn more or to register click here.


Arab Health Exhibition & Congress

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January 26-29, 2015 - Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre, Dubai, UAE
To learn more or to register click here.

 

 

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Medical Travel Today: Opinions and Perspectives on an Industry in the Making

Medical Travel Today - the authoritative newsletter for the worldwide medical travel industry - is pleased to announce publication of a new book, "Medical Travel Today: Opinions and Perspectives on an Industry in the Making.

Featuring 40 of the newsletter's most compelling interviews from the first five years of publication, the volume chronicles the explosive growth of international medical tourism as witnessed and experienced by some of the key stakeholders and players. A must-read for anyone interested or involved in the industry.


News in Review

VisitandCare.com Offers Streamlined Approach to Top Medical Tourism Destinations

Digitaljournal.com - As a leading provider in the medical tourism industry, VisitandCare.com has created a streamlined methodology to top healthcare destinations around the globe. The approach includes educational information on medical branches, treatments, costs, and destinations.

The Expeditious Growth of Medical Tourism in India

MapsofIndia.com - Tourism, in its conventional form, has always been associated with traveling for fun and leisure. Not many people are aware about the rapid development that has taken place in this sector over the years.

Incheon Caters to Asian Trends with Help from Incheon Medical Tourism Foundation

Businesskorea.co.kr - Hallyu is going viral worldwide, and Korean medical technology is also gaining popularity overseas. More and more foreigners from all over the world are flocking to Korea to take advantage of Korean medical services, renowned for their superior technology and reasonable cost.

Medical Tourism a Boost for Tunisia

Tunisia-live.net - An unconventional brand of tourism is becoming ever more popular in Tunisia. People come from near and far to take advantage of the country's well-developed and affordable medical services. This medical tourism is something the government should embrace and promote abroad.

Economic Growth Potential from Medical Tourism

Guardian.co.tt - The Caribbean region can boost its bottom line by developing a medical tourism product that takes advantage of its brand as a great vacation destination, its proximity to North America as well as its tourism facilities, beaches and, of course, the year-round warm weather of the region.

Low-Cost Dominican Surgeries Spark Warnings by U.S.

Abcnews.go.com - Beverly Brignoni was a young New Yorker seeking a less expensive way to enhance her appearance, and did what many other people are now doing: travel to the Dominican Republic for cosmetic surgery.

Notes from the Field: Rapidly Growing Nontuberculous Mycobacterium Wound Infections Among Medical Tourists Undergoing Cosmetic Surgeries in the Dominican Republic - Multiple States, March 2013-February 2014

CDC.com - In August 2013, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (MDHMH) was notified of two persons with rapidly growing nontuberculous mycobacterial (RG-NTM) surgical-site infections. Both patients had undergone surgical procedures as medical tourists at the same private surgical clinic (clinic A) in the Dominican Republic the previous month.

Two Hospitalized, One Dead in Liposuction Infection Outbreak

Outpatientsurgery.net - Three women who had liposuction at a Maryland cosmetic surgery center were admitted to hospital with internal group A Streptococcus infections - and one died as a result of the bacterial spread, according to the Associated Press. The infections began occurring in mid-August, and state health officials shut the Monarch MedSpa in Timonium, Md., on Wednesday, citing "probable deviations from standard infection control practices," says the Washington Post.

 

More Men Opting for Cosmetic Surgery in UAE

Dubaichronicle.com - Cosmetic procedures and surgeries are traditionally perceived as a luxury reserved for wealthy women, but in recent years, they have become more common in the UAE. Today, according to doctors, 30 percent of the patients in cosmetic clinics across the country are men.

Russian Medical Tourists Increasingly Prefer Korea

Businesskorea.co.kr - Korean medical institutions are striving to attract patients from Russia with the visa-free agreement in effect from this year between the two countries. Approximately 20,000 Russian medical tourists visited Korea and the number is increasing rapidly, about 110 percent each year, during the past three-year period. The agreement is likely to further boost the number to the point of Russia ranking third, beating Japan, sooner or later.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Do you know of any available job openings relative to the medical travel industry? We encourage readers to submit any available, relevant job opportunities along with its descriptions and requirements for fellow readers and industry professionals to consider. All submissions are appreciated.

 

Editor's Note: The information in Medical Travel Today is believed to be accurate, but in some instances, may represent opinion or judgment. The newsletter's providers do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any of the information and shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused - directly or indirectly - by or from the information. All information should be considered a supplement to - and not a substitute for - the care provided by a licensed healthcare provider or other appropriate expert. The appearance of advertising in this newsletter should in no way be interpreted as a product or service endorsement by the newsletter's providers.