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© 2015 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.

Laura Carabello

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

Outbound Medical Tourism from U.S. is Growing Rapidly

Sovaldi: Near-Perfect Example of Price Discrimination

AIMED, IMA Ink Pact to Promote Medical Tourism in India

Sun, Sand, Surgery: Goa Gearing Up for Medical Tourism

Spotlight Interview

Joey Truscelli, Founder and CEO of Life Gift Cards™ (LGC) and Mediphe™


Portugal As a Destination for Plastic Surgery

Connecting the Travel Industry to the Medical Tourism Industry - Part One

Industry News

Healthcare Tourism on the Rise in the Caribbean

Why Brits Should Look to Acibadem for Best Aesthetic and Medical Treatments

When Should I Get a Second Opinion Abroad?

The Leading World Expert of Consulting in Healthcare Sector, Maria K. Todd, Ph.D., MHA, Once Again Will Visit Ukraine with Training Course on Medical Tourism!

C'est La Vie Consultants Takes Uncertainty out of International Cosmetic Medical Care With All-inclusive, Concierge Services

6th Annual International Medical Travel & Global Healthcare Business Summit

Help Save a Life and Support MatchingDonors

Upcoming Events

22nd Kazakhstan International Healthcare Exhibition

6th Annual International Medical Travel & Global Healthcare Business Summit

Destination: Health Canadian Medical Tourism Trade Show

2nd Istanbul Medical, Health, Geriatrics, Termal, Spa & Wellness Tourism Fair & Congress

Arab Health: International Medical Travel Exhibition and Conference

9th Annual 2015 Global Spa & Wellness Summit

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Volume 8, Issue 13

Dear Colleagues:

In 2014, Consumer Reports documented gift cards as the most requested non-cash gift eight years in a row. In fact, each year:

  • $100 billion is spent on gift cards
  • 93 percent of U.S. consumers purchase or receive a gift card
  • Consumers spend an average of $213 on gift cards
  • 83 percent of corporations use gift and prepaid cards for employee incentives

Initially conceived as an innovative way for consumers to help others in need of a medical procedure, Life Gift Cards™ (LGC) has quickly entered the corporate space, giving employers the chance to help employees in need of healthcare services, as well.

Offering countless benefits to providers, employers and patients, Joey Truscelli, founder and CEO, LGC, details the foundation of LGC, its user-friendly disposition and the company's expansion plans for the future.

Tell us:

What distinguishes your service offering in terms of cost, patient experience and satisfaction, outcomes, or other quality indicators.

Send us your descriptor, including photos or charts, and we will evaluate for publication in this newsletter.

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

Global Health Voyager

Log onto Facebook and join the Medical Travel Today Group. Look for recent news, trends, and post discussions in the board. If you would like to see something in Medical Travel Today let us know in the discussion board. If you have a question, post it there!

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Joey Truscelli, Founder and CEO of Life Gift Cards™ (LGC) and Mediphe™



About Joey Truscelli
Joey Truscelli, a seasoned entrepreneur, is the founder and CEO of Mediphe and Life Gift Cards. Life Gift Cards (LGC) is a prepaid, procedure-specific, gift card company focused on affordable, proactive wellness. In 1989, Truscelli founded EDSS, which became ENS, a medical data processing company that employed over 500 people, and serviced over 200,000 medical providers nationwide. ENS Health developed software and connectivity to over 1,200 insurance companies throughout the country.  ENS Health was acquired by United Healthcare in 2006.  

In addition, Truscelli founded International Provider Services, Inc. staffing military installations with over 100 physicians at Ft. Carson Colorado, the Air Force Academy, Fitzsimmons Army Medical Center and Luke Air Force Base. 

Inspired by the Indianapolis 500, he partnered up with Warner Brothers -- the Warner Brothers' Bugs Bunny Indy Car -- which qualified for the 1999 Indy 500 with driver Roberto Moreno. Truscelli Team Racing went on to qualify for the 2000 Indy 500, finishing 13th with driver Jaques Lazier. 

Joey also produced "Sons of the Fallen," a docu-reality film giving tribute to children of the country's fallen soldiers. The film was shown in 500 movie theaters throughout the U.S. in 2010.  He continues to provide mentorship camps for children with life-limiting diseases, as well as for children who lost a parent in the military.


Medical Travel Today (MTT): Can you tell our readers about your experience in the industry, and what prompted you to start Life Gift Cards ™ (LGC)?

Joey Truscelli (JT): In 1989, I started ENS Health, a healthcare electronic exchange company.

We provided electronic billing services for doctors, hospitals, clinics, dentists and insurance companies. We would take claims from their practice management software systems and send them electronically to one of 1,400 insurance companies. In 2006 - after 16 years - we sold the company to United Healthcare.

From there we went into the non-profit sector helping children in need, ranging from special needs kids to children who had lost a parent in Iraq and Afghanistan. From a financial standpoint, we discovered that there was a real need for help - specifically on the healthcare side.

We then came up with the idea of creating healthcare gift cards, which is how LGC was formed. Initially, the idea was to create a way for individuals to help others in need of a medical procedure, and eventually it grew into employers helping employees who needed healthcare services.

We offer a flat-rate procedure-specific gift card that enables people to donate to someone else or purchase a card for their own use. For example, an individual can give the gift of a mammogram or dental checkup, or they can decide to personally access the service.

MTT: What is the primary focus of the company?

JT: The idea behind LGC was to provide a technology-driven service that wasn't available anywhere else. Unlike other such projects, we started with a closed loop system that we created within the healthcare arena, so that we don't need to depend on outside sources such as Visa, MasterCard or American Express to make the card work. Also, our cards can only be used for a specific procedure, and not for anything else, as would be the case with a regular credit card.

We now have 300,000+ providers, 80,000 dentists and over 5,000 hospitals connected to our system. This means that you can take your card to any one of these providers, and they can actually go through the payment settlement process that we've created, which is unlike anything in the industry.

MTT: So what kind of healthcare cards are currently available?

JT: The procedures include mammogram, wellness, dental (X-ray and cleaning) and chiropractic. There are over 8,000 procedure codes, so we can design a card specific to any procedure that is out there, which is great because we plan on expanding the options. Our selection will be quite extensive.

LGC comes at a significant time, especially with the transparent healthcare push that is out there now. People want to know what they are going to pay before they go to the doctor. These cards give them a definite price for each procedure.

MTT: Where can the cards be purchased?

JT: You can purchase them directly on Life Gift Cards.com, but we've recently teamed up with InComm Incentive Solutions, which you can visit if you are looking at buying in bulk as an employer, non-profit organization, religious organization or any type of entity that wants to buy cards in bulk. This fall, the cards will be available in select retail stores.

MTT: Do the cards expire?

JT: No, there is no expiration, and the cards are transferable. For instance, if you give a wellness card to someone who ends up not using it, you can give the card to someone else.

MTT: Are the cards available in different denominations?

JT: Each card has its own flat-rate pricing, which is valid nationwide. For instance, the mammogram card price is the same whether you are in New York, Dallas, San Francisco or Chicago. We negotiated the rates with providers, so that gives us flexibility and allows us to offer a standard price throughout the country. The chiropractor card is $50 for a spinal adjustment, which is a very competitive price and available across the country.

MTT: Walk me through the process from receiving a card to activating it, and scheduling an appointment with a provider.

JT: You will get an email saying that you've received a gift card from someone. It will then direct you to our site to activate the card. Once you activate the card, you can choose a provider.

We will determine if that provider participates in our program, and you can choose from a list of all participating providers in your zip code area. Once you choose the provider, you'll be able to print out your e-certificate and take it in for your appointment.

MTT: Please explain the benefits for our readers -- employers, consumers and third party administrators (TPA).

JT: From a consumer standpoint, it's a really emotional gift because, instead of buying your loved one the typical gift card for dinner or music or whatever it may be, this is really a much more caring kind of gift. We've actually seen women cry when they received a mammogram card.

LGC not only improves access to quality care, but we also save money for consumers based upon our purchasing power. The card is a transparent healthcare tool that allows an individual consumer to purchase a healthcare procedure and know exactly what the cost is before they go to the doctor's office. Traditionally what happens when you go to the doctors is that you have no idea what the costs are until after the procedure. Most people don't ask. You usually get the bill later, or when they ask at the counter how you are going to pay for it.

Furthermore, providers like this card because it is pre-paid. This means they know they are going to get paid. This is important when you consider the growing risk of bad debt for healthcare services.

Employers have an excellent opportunity with LGC, especially self-insured employers that have many part-time employees. Now they have the ability to purchase one type of procedure for employees, like a wellness card. For employers of every size that can't pay for healthcare, these cards can be used to incent employees, and attract and retain talent. This is important, especially for fast food chains and retailers. What's more, the employee gains more of an appreciation and loyalty for an employer who demonstrates that they care about their health and welfare.

MTT: How do you plan to raise awareness?

JT: We will be spreading the word throughout social media networks and press, as well as through our channel partners, like InComm, and others that are significant to our distribution. This will help spread the word and, of course, people will see the gift card racks in retail stores.

As for reaching employers, we plan on attending conventions and seminars - any event involving employers making healthcare decisions and looking for products and solutions for their employees. We will also work through their TPA's to offer these types of products as an alternative solution.

MTT: What sets LGC apart from the competition?

JT: We are first to market, and don't have any competition. Regionally, you see providers offering one-time gift cards for a massage or teeth cleaning, but to our knowledge, no one else offers a health-specific procedure card.

MTT: In the future, what cards do you plan to offer?

JT: We definitely want to offer cholesterol screening, prostate-specific antigen screening, and early detection for diabetes, high blood pressure and heart issues. We plan on scaling up to medical tourism cards where you can buy a card to have a major procedure done, like a hernia operation or whatever it may be.

MTT: What's next for LGC?

JT: We are developing a new shopping tool, the Mediphe Healthcare shopping tool, which will allow people to search for procedure pricing and quality of care, and print out their own e-Certificates. They will also be able to customize their e-Certificate, allowing them to design and print their own e-Certificate for, say, a knee scope or triple by-pass in Mexico.

We also plan to broaden our distribution to eventually be in all the retail stores and digital e-stores. As we expand, we are starting off with the flat-rate procedure cards but moving into transparent healthcare pricing.

MTT: Do you have anything else to add?

JT: I think people now are becoming more cost-aware, and this creates a demand for tools designed to help them make smarter choices. In particular, employers will be able to use LGC to provide greater access to care for their employees.

LGC empowers people to understand healthcare in the simplest possible terms. It shouldn't be so confusing. You should be able to look at a procedure and know what you are going to pay. Very simple. But we are just getting started. There is much more to come.


Portugal As a Destination for Plastic Surgery

Medical Port - Plastic surgery is increasingly popular all over the world, and Portugal is no exception. Highly skilled and trained doctors perform all kinds of plastic surgeries in the top private hospitals in the country to both Portuguese and foreign patients. Some of the most requested surgeries are breast augmentation, liposuction and rhinoplasty. Portuguese plastic surgeons are among the best trained in Europe, because their medical training lasts 12 years - six years of medical school and six years plastic surgery training. After that period, they become specialists in Plastic Surgery by the Portuguese Medical Board, a requisite to be a practitioner in Portugal. Medical school in Portugal is very demanding and only top students are allowed to attend. Language isn't likely to be a barrier, since 30 percent of the Portuguese population is fluent in English and 20 percent in French. This average is especially high in the health sector where most of the essential biography is in English and French.

Medical Port has teamed up with the best private hospitals and plastic surgeons to offer a wide range of procedures that will be performed at Joint Commission International-accredited facilities, with state-of-the-art technology equipment and spotless facilities. One of the advantages of having plastic surgery in Portugal is the confidentiality and the guarantee of a total secrecy between patient and doctor. A surgery involving physical changes in most of the cases is a delicate procedure, and patients don't want to disclose they did it. Knowing the surgery and the recovery will be away from home allows the patient to face the surgery with time, comfort and dedication. Also the recovery will be boosted by the stress-free environment of being abroad, without worries or the normal disturbance of the daily routine at home. When leaving the hospital, clients can recover in a 4- or 5-star hotel with all the amenities they wish for.

When it comes to costs, a plastic surgery in Portugal can cost up to two times less than in the U.S. Considering going abroad for a medical procedure entails a lot of thought and consideration about all the aspects related to the surgery (before and after), the hospital, the physician and the country itself. Trust and transparency are important factors for clients as soon as they start their decision process. The first contact is crucial for a successful relationship between the client and the Medical Tourism facilitator. The facilitator takes care of the entire process to ensure all the bookings and arrangements go smoothly and are trouble-free. The goal is to ensure the client has an overall great experience, knowing he or she doesn't have to worry about details. In Portugal patients' rights are covered by strict Portuguese and European laws, allowing them to be sure all their rights will be taken care in the case they are not satisfied with the result.

Portugal ranked number 8 out of 207 in the last KOF Index of Globalization and number 18 out of 162 in the Global Peace Index by the Institute for Economics & Peace. The two main cities in Portugal are Lisbon and Oporto. Lisbon is the closest capital from the United States and is considered the safest European capital. And Oporto is being consistently awarded one of the best European cities to travel. Portugal was awarded best 2014 European Destination voted by USA Today readers, and voted best country to visit in 2013 and 2014 by Condé Nast Traveller. The country is among the top 10 Best value destinations for 2015 by Lonely Planet. The country offers a variety of tourism options, from the most adventurous to the most relaxing in a welcoming weather all year round.

Recovering from the surgery will be a smooth process, since we have special leisure programs designed in cooperation with a doctor, for those who want to enjoy their free time and to enjoy what Portugal has to offer. The landscape and the historical sites are incredibly beautiful and varied across the country, with monuments with centuries of history like castles or monasteries. Take a walk in the countryside, go to a museum, or enjoy a relaxing shopping tour. Another great thing to do in Portugal that will boost any recovery is the food. The Portuguese cuisine is Mediterranean style, which will not only have a great taste, but also be good for the client's overall health.

In this article, we wanted to highlight some of the reasons why choosing Portugal as a destination for plastic surgery can be effective, cheaper and with a pleasant recovery.

Find more information about the country and the procedures at www.medicalport.org.



Connecting the Travel Industry to the Medical Tourism Industry - Part One
by Jack Schafer
Part Two will appear in MTT Volume 8, Issue 14, set for publication on June 3, 2015

In the early 1990's, I sold my engineering firm and became a wholesale worldwide group tour operator because that was my passion.  More than 20 years later, I became involved in a different type of tourism when I partnered with a retired physician, and became a patient facilitator in a new industry called medical tourism.

Nearly every American commodity item since the 1990's had been outsourced to some degree, and opening our borders to fair international trade was in many ways immediately painful - but, during the past decades, it has become equally beneficial, and as the world became a smaller place, it was unavoidable.

Most American soft goods manufacturing has had to evolve to accommodate inexpensive labor, and major industries that are owned, such as our automobile, agriculture and heavy equipment, have forced us to re-think and compete on a global scale... and we've done that! Now in the past dozen years, America has become a worldwide competitor in most manufacturing industries.

One of our largest of all-commodity items in this country is healthcare. But rather than allowing it to open to world trade, over the past decade our government has decided to limit it, regulate it, control it, socialize it, and finally standardize and subsidize insurance that medically limits all Americans equally.

Growing in the background since the early 2000's, the medical tourism space has become one of the best-kept secrets in healthcare today. Yes, millions of people travel outside of their home country, spending billions of dollars per year, to find affordable and superior healthcare. Not only are individuals spending their own money to explore this option, but in recent years, self-insured companies and even insurance companies are exploring the "overseas option." This once unknown industry is becoming a viable option, and in doing so, it is becoming not only a popular medical option for many, but it's becoming a valuable new market for the travel professionals.

The travel and tourism industry is one of the world's largest, with a global economic contribution (direct, indirect and induced) of almost seven trillion U.S. dollars annually (2013 study by The World Travel and Tourism council). As a wholesale tour operator in that industry for over 30 years, I can confirm those numbers are probably conservative, yet the product distribution channel that had been the ultimate outlet to the passenger, especially on the leisure travel and tourism side, has succumbed to direct purchase savings offered directly by the providers on the internet. Consumers don't need an agency to sell them an airline ticket, or help them select a cruise. These are simple enough tasks in the travel and tourism industry for the customer to do themselves. And that is where medical tourism is different. Certainly, some savvy and experienced world travelers are comfortable connecting directly with a medical provider and making their own arrangements, but the majority of medical tourism travelers want advice, support and encouragement. For something serious, they want a local agency that they can visit with and share with their families and friends. They like a distributor that is anchored down on a street corner in their hometown, has been there for years, and will be there when they return.

Unfortunately, there has never been a clear and formal process to deliver the medical tourism product to the potential tourism client or patient. In fact, it's still a matter of prospective if they are a travel client having a medical procedures while visiting a foreign country, or a medical patient that has to travel to another country to receive their procedure.  Having been 20 years in the travel and tourism industry -- and now 10 years in medical tourism -- I still see the process from both sides.

This presentation is my effort to integrate the process to the collective benefit of both industries and ultimately the client/patient.
The medical tourism industry is not as simplistic as a patient specifically traveling for a procedure, or having a procedure performed in the middle of their trip. Through the years, it has evolved into categories of process, and each requires a different professional and expertise. The traditional medical tourism patient is a first time or an inexperienced traveler, requiring a professional assisting them in organizing their international travel requirements. These travelers require special assistance with visas, passports, packing lists, ticketing, ground travel to and from the airport, as well as a great deal of advice and encouragement. These are just some of the roles of an "outbound travel professional," which also include coordinating the client's needs with a travel professional in the host country, the "inbound travel professional."  Just some of these responsibilities range from the initial meet and greet at the airport upon arrival, assistance through customs, passport and visa, luggage assistance, ground transportation, hotel accommodations (possibly having services available for special needs, diets, etc.). Most medical travelers arrive in the host country with a companion, whose needs and wants would certainly be different, as they are not scheduled for the medical procedures, but how much do they want to participate?

The medical portion of this trip is followed by a recovery period, and those considerations must be factored in. A typical patient might be two to three days in the hospital, and three to four days in the recovery process - either in a special facility or back at the hotel selected to accommodate those needs. The typical time in the host country, both pre- and post-procedures could be up to two weeks. Ground transportation is a big thing, as is providing communications (a cell phone and ensuring there are internet connections available), and there could be dozens of additional revenue/commissionable opportunities.

Now, I'm sure I've missed many of the travel professional opportunities and responsibilities, but I have purposefully missed everything related to the coordination of the medical process and procedures itself -- and for very good reason. Medical tourism is an industry of professionals, as is the medical community. The anesthesiologist is not a surgeon. He/she is aware of the medical process, and performs in coordination with the surgeon as part of the surgical team, but not the surgeon.  The travel professional involved in the medical tourism process is part of the medical tourism team, but not responsible for any of the medical process, procedures, records or even suggestions. They are positioned on the travel and tourism side, yet there is an opportunity for them to promote and market the medical process, with no more involvement than they have piloting the plane when they sell a ticket.

Working with medical providers and facilitators is where the travel agent has the opportunity to earn a "finder's fee," simply by taking the client that contacted them, and putting that client in direct contact with the professionals on the "medical side "of the process. It is also where the travel professional becomes the most valuable member of the team -they are directly in contact with the client, and can reach out and touch the medical traveler.

Industry News

Healthcare Tourism on the Rise in the Caribbean

Healthcare tourism is listed as an opportunity for the Caribbean region, according to an article outlining "13 Opportunities for the New Caribbean."

In Caribbean Journal, an online news source, CuraƧao-based development consultants Miguel Goede and Runy Calmera cite opportunities ranging from the film industry, higher education to ecotourism and sports, and note the special advantages of medical tourism.

"Healthcare tourism based on niche markets is an opportunity, as the Cayman Islands is currently doing with Health City Cayman Islands," the consultants reported, adding that "new hospitals could be built with two audiences in mind: locals and health tourists -- meaning a better quality of care at home and additional revenue."

Shomari Scott, Health City's marketing director, thanked the writers for spotlighting Health City, as well as other sustainable development opportunities for the region, such as green energy and the blue economy, which, among others, promotes generating energy from the ocean.

"These are two areas that we have fully embraced at Health City," said Scott, who asserted Health City Cayman Islands was built with sustainability and safety in mind. The tertiary care hospital, for example, was constructed to be highly energy efficient and to include hurricane protection standards.

Scott added that Health City is working with the Cayman Islands Government to allow the installation of an incineration facility for medical waste. "Given that there is only one incinerator on the island, this will not only provide a second incineration option, but it will also reduce transport of potentially harmful waste."

The Health City executive also reported that salt water air conditioning, "an extremely efficient, cutting edge, zero emission technology, will be introduced at Health City and will reduce our power demand by approximately 50 percent."

Last December, Global News Matters, which produces the fortnightly Market Dynamics Caribbean newsletter, listed Health City Cayman Islands as one of the top five Caribbean investment opportunities to watch in 2015.

About Health City Cayman Islands
Health City Cayman Islands, the vision of heart surgeon and humanitarian Dr. Devi Shetty, is supported by two major healthcare organizations, Narayana Health and the U.S.-based Ascension, which is one of the nation's largest faith-based and nonprofit health systems, providing the highest quality care to all with special attention to those who are poor and vulnerable. Health City Cayman Islands provides compassionate, high-quality, affordable healthcare services for all in a world-class, comfortable, patient-centered environment. Offering healthcare to international, regional and local patients, Health City Cayman Islands delivers excellence in adult and pediatric cardiology, cardiac surgery, medical oncology, orthopedics, pediatric endocrinology and pulmonology.

For further information, visit www.healthcitycaymanislands.com.

To view the original release click here.

Industry News

Why Brits Should Look to Acibadem for Best Aesthetic and Medical Treatments

One of Turkey's most-renowned healthcare brands, Acibadem Healthcare Group, offers a wide range of medical services for British visitors who can enjoy cost-effective healthcare at its outstanding hospitals, offering superior equipment and technology with the expertise of world-class medical personnel. Acibadem's specialist doctors excel across all branches of conventional medicine, including organ transplantation, fertility issues and oncology, as well as aesthetic treatments and dentistry. Treatments are offered at more affordable prices than in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe, so it's little wonder that 50,000 international patients were successfully treated by Acibadem in 2014.

"Thank you to everyone at Acibadem again. We are missing you in fact! Never thought I'd miss a hospital. We have been showing all our guests your brochures and telling them how excellent the hospital is. If you ever need a 'U.K .champion' just let me know!"
-Anita Venezia Yau (U.K.), successfully treated at Acibadem's Bodrum hospital

An international center of reference for a number of complicated treatments requiring advanced technology and experience, Acibadem's team of expert physicians with international experience are among the most qualified in their fields who utilize the most advanced, evidence-based and safest techniques for conventional medical, aesthetic and dental treatments. In 2014, one in five Turkish patients who chose private care did so with Acibadem - a well-known and trusted brand throughout the country.

One-step integrated approach to healthcare
Deserving to be better known beyond Turkey, British patients can be reassured by Acibadem's International Patient Services Centre, which provides 24/7 services for its international patients. Consultation, diagnosis, billing and insurance, travel and accommodation and translation services are provided with a 'one-stop' integrated approach that covers the patient being picked up in their country, being brought to Turkey, benefiting from the medical services and then being transported back to their country. Free translation is provided and medical reports are forwarded to patients for follow-up in their own country.

"My treatment within the Acibadem Hospital Group was fantastic; a personal interpreter is allocated on arrival, everyone was so kind, polite and helpful. The hospitals were amazing, clean, comfortable, modern, providing all the latest technology, plus friendly staff and good food."- Lynda Pitsakis (U.K.), successfully treated at Acibadem's Department of Aesthetic, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery

High-quality treatment at great value
Teaming high-quality medical treatment with great value, Acibadem offers treatment fees a magnitude lower than those charged elsewhere in the U.K. and elsewhere in Europe. Acibadem's laser eye surgery is charged at approximately €975 (£716*) versus at least £1500 in the UK, IVF treatment at €2750 (£2020*) versus up to £7000 in the U.K., single knee replacement surgery at approximately €11,000 (£8080*) versus up to £14,000 in the U.K. while breast enlargement is approximately €3800 (£2790*) versus €5000-6000 (£3680-£4415*) at other European medical establishments.

Why Acibadem?

  • Acibadem Healthcare Group has been offering quality and individual care to international patients for over 10 years
  • World-class treatment at 17 state-of-the-art hospitals and 12 medical centers
  • Medical expertise with leading experts and specialist surgeons using cutting-edge technology
  • International center of reference for a number of complicated treatments that require advanced technology and experience
  • Joint Commission International (JCI) accredited approach to healthcare
  • Integrated healthcare where consultation, diagnosis, insurance, travel and accommodation, translation services are provided with a one-stop approach
  • Affordable prices compared to the rest of Europe - laser liposuction is approx. €4000 (£2945*) versus €6000-7000 (£4400-£5150*) while breast enlargement is approx. €3800 (£2795*) versus €5000-6000 (£3680-£4415*)
  • High patient confidence, comfort and satisfaction reflected in testimonials and repeat custom
  • Easy-to-reach hospital locations in Istanbul and elsewhere in Turkey
  • Proximity to many holiday and thermal spa resorts in which to rest and rejuvenate

*Sterling prices based on exchange rate on 24 March 2015;
U.K. and Western Europe prices listed are sourced from www.surgeryprice.co.uk

About Acibadem
Founded in 1991, Acibadem Healthcare Group is one of Turkey's leading private healthcare institutions. Comprised of 17 hospitals and 12 medical centers, Acibadem has become the world's second largest healthcare chain via its partnership IHH Healthcare Berhad.

Acibadem provides complementary services in every field of healthcare including radiology, nuclear medicine, oncology, orthopaedics and traumatology, physiotherapy and physical rehabilitation, cardiology, bariatric surgery, robotic surgery, organ transplants, aesthetic and plastic surgery, hair transplant and dentistry.

All of the hospitals within the group meet international standards including seven cancer centers, 12 heartcare centers, nine in-vitro fertilization centers, five organ transplantation centers, four spine centers, one sports medicine center (accredited by FIFA), eight nuclear medicine and five robotic surgery centers, all using advanced technology and with experts that have significant experience in their respective fields.

Acibadem Healthcare Group complies with Joint Commission International accreditation standards, and Acibadem Labmed has been issued with ISO 15189 Clinical Laboratory Accreditation Certificate.

Image 1 - Acibadem Maslak Hospital

Official website: www.acibademinternational.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/AcibademHospitalsGroup

For further press information and/or to request interviews please contact:
Serra Celikkan or Rebecca Erol
Redmint Communications:  + 44 (0)20 3397 3936 or acibadem@redmintcomms.co.uk

Industry News

When Should I Get a Second Opinion Abroad?

PlacidWay.com-Thirty-six years old Dinesha Klaas from South Africa was diagnosed with a triple negative breast cancer.

According to Adrienne Edkins from Science Africa, an American research study revealed that black women are more likely to develop a highly aggressive form of cancer, as opposed to white women. This aggressive type is known as the triple-negative breast cancer, the one Dinesha was suspected to have.

This breast cancer affects younger women and is often resistant to treatment. Only one-third of cancer sufferers will survive longer than five years, even with therapy. When Dinesha learned that she had cancer, she began a series of treatments including chemotherapy.

However, she had to deal with equipment and rescheduling problems at the academic hospital. Dinesha had a therapy confirmed for May 7 but on April 30, she received a phone call from the hospital that her appointment had been cancelled until further notice. She learned that the machines she'd been using in the hospital recently broke down. Despite five months of treatment, her cancer continued to develop.

Worried of the inconsistency and availability of treatment options, her local oncologist advised her to get a second opinion and treatment. Dinesha's oncologist referred her to a larger cancer center in India. "Dr. Moseline Luus was worried that my cancer cells were still growing, and that treatment here could be very hard to continue because of logistic problems and funding. So, she told me to get a second opinion and possibly continue treatment in India at the Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital & Research Institute, Hyderabad, India," says Dinesha.

Reasons for Getting a Second Opinion Abroad

In order to make sure individuals are diagnosed correctly and getting the right treatment for serious diagnoses (like cancer), many individuals seek a second opinion from another specialist or from another clinic overseas.

Getting a second medical opinion does not always mean that the patient doesn't trust his or her primary medical provider. In the case of serious diagnosis, such as breast cancer or kidney disease, getting a second opinion from a specialist is a good idea, so that patients can feel more confident about their diagnosis and treatment plan.

Access to the latest medical technology and getting a second opinion are important reasons for medical travel, according to findings in consumer research led by PlacidWay.

Aside from seeking affordable treatment costs, research results revealed that global patients travel abroad to get an expert or second opinion from another doctor or surgeon. Their reasons include the lack of technology in their home countries, quality concerns of the treatment available and the lack of trust with their local doctors, specifically their ability to analyze their symptoms.

Global patients are continuously seeking cheaper and available solutions than what is locally available in their home countries. When these patients seek solutions out of their local environment it is because they want to get the best possible and most affordable treatment.

Most of these patients, like Dinesha, who seek a second opinion come from the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa where treatment modalities are not often available.

In the case of South Africa, it is the lack of access to medication, rescheduling concerns and broken treatment machines that make life-saving cancer treatment very difficult to access, according to Dan Roodt of the Cancer Alliance South Africa.

How to Ask a Second Opinion

Now Dinesha is under the treatment supervision of Dr. T.Subramanyeshwar Rao, a surgical oncologist from the Basavatarakam Indo American Cancer Hospital & Research Institute, Hyderabad, India.

Before Dinesha was able to get an appointment with the help of PlacidWay, she called the institute to find out if they had a specialist with experience treating her cancer type. Dr. T.Subramanyeshwar Rao asked her to bring recent medical records, including copies of all blood tests, scans, exams, pathology slides and information about previous treatment, to their first appointment.

During Dinesha's first meeting with Dr. Rao, she made him understand that she needed confirmation of her diagnosis and to know if the previous cancer treatment plan was correct. If it wasn't, she was open to other treatment options, including clinical trials for her cancer type.

Dr. Rao studied her medical records thoroughly and after two days came up with a diagnosis. Dinesha's initial diagnosis and treatment were correct. Dr. Rao asked Dinesha if she needed to transfer her care to them, receive new treatment options or communicate the treatment plan to her local oncologist. Knowing the situation back in South Africa, she opted to continue the treatment with Basavatarakam Hospital.

Dr. T.Subramanyeshwar Rao explained that he was considering a clinical trial of PARP inhibitor therapy for her.

According to Drs. Marcie Weil and Alice Chen, researchers from the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute of Maryland, Poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase or PARP inhibitors are chemotherapeutic agents that enhance cytotoxic therapy without increasing side effects. They destroy cancer cells with DNA repair defects, acting as a single agent. PARP works by selecting the tumor cells over cancer cells. Because of the tumor's genomic instability, PARP inhibitors can be effective in eradicating cancer cells in the body, specifically in cancers of the ovary and the breast.

Since Dinesha opted to undergo a clinical trial, the cancer still had many areas for potential and development. But for now, her clinical responses have lasted long even after treatment and this may indicate that it has worked. However, further research and trials may still be needed to answer questions that will better understand PARP inhibitors and its additional use for different cancer types.

Other than a feeling a little nauseous and tired because she has lost weight, Dinesha has not experienced other side effects. "I feel better and hopeful now. My treatments are ongoing. I am glad to have taken the risk of going to India. I am also thankful for Dr. Luus'open-mindedness. She was the one who suggested that I go here. I partly owe her the simple success that I am experiencing."

Every patient should understand that getting a second opinion is their right because it is their life, and peace of mind is important.

(Some names in this article were changed to protect privacy.)

About PlacidWay:
PlacidWay, a leading medical tourism provider in the U.S. and the world, aims to help the global medical consumer get access to treatment options, medical centers, healthcare providers and even getting second opinions. Its overall aim as an organization is to help a patient get access to care that is affordable yet high quality, safe and effective.

If you seek a second opinion from specialists overseas, do not hesitate to contact us!

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

The Leading World Expert of Consulting in Healthcare Sector, Maria K. Todd, Ph.D., MHA, Once Again Will Visit Ukraine with Training Course on Medical Tourism!

On September 11, 2015, in Kiev, Ukraine, the II INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL TOURISM SCHOOL + B2B Workshop will take place. American expert, Maria K. Todd, Ph.D., MHA, will speak to an audience of Ukraine and the CIS countries, providing a practical training course in the healthcare and medical tourism sectors.

INTERNATIONAL MEDICAL TOURISM SCHOOL is a professional skills improvement program for medical travel sector specialists. Attending this course will help you to improve your business best practices for medical tourism business based on the adaptation and implementation of global standards for the Russian-speaking market.

Maria Todd, CEO of Mercury Healthcare International, is often called the world's single most knowledgeable adviser on health travel and medical tourism business strategy and management.

As workshop leader, she has presented two outstanding courses for us here in Ukraine in recent years, and this one will be packed with information, tools, tips and best practices to improve your business success in medical tourism.

She will generously share her professional experience and training from working in the medical tourism industry for more than 30 years!

Maria holds advanced degrees in health administration (MHA) and a Ph.D., with professional work experience as a former surgical nurse and hospital executive.

She brings reality and practical advice from her training and experience from owning a medical tourism facilitator business, and training hospitals, clinics, thermal springs and seaside sanatoria professionals around the world to prepare for accreditation, marketing, social media, patient logistics coordination and international patient department set-up.

She shares critical comparisons, contrasts, and ideas from working on health tourism national strategies and situation analysis in more than 30 countries on four continents.

Maria is the author of four technical books on medical tourism, and 10 books on medical business topics, including, physician integration, insurance contracting, physician employment contracting, and concierge medical practice design.

Participants in the workshop will have a chance to win one of her books in a "lucky draw" for all who are present. Also, if you already have her books, she will autograph them for you.


Module 1. Didactic presentation by Maria K. Todd, Ph.d., MHA
Part 1. Medical tourism business development, operations, and cross-cultural marketing and contracting strategies.

Part 2. A closer look at contractual relationships and deal making in three key settings.

Module 2. B2B Workshop

B2B WORKSHOP - This is a series of planned business meetings between attendees and international hospitals and medical centers. Representatives of clinics can demonstrate all the features and benefits of their healthcare services to attract new providers of patients.

Module 3. Closing Remarks and Program Conclusion, Final Exam, and Presentation of Attendance Certificates.


ATTENDEES (buyers from Ukraine and CIS countries):

  • Medical tourism operators and facilitators;
  • Medical centers, hospitals and clinics;
  • Practicing doctors;
  • Travel agents and operators;
  • Insurance companies;
  • Representatives of state and the government agencies.

EXHIBITORS in B2BWorkshop:

  • International medical centers, hospitals and clinics;
  • Rehabilitation centers, health and spa resorts;
  • Official company-representative of international medical centers.

The chance to have more than 50 pre-scheduled appointments with potential clients during one day! This saves time and money, meeting a number of potential clients that would otherwise take 10-14 days.

The visitors of the International School are the best companies that work in the healthcare and medical tourism market from Ukraine and CIS countries.

Don't miss the unique opportunity to meet more than 150 VIP buyers during each fair!

We cordially invite you to take part in


Contact information: +38 093 328 77 54
E-mails: office@jk-group.com.ua , b2b@jk-group.com.ua
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/659192337536557/

Organizer: JK Consulting Group
Co-organizer: Academy of International Integration in Medicine
Supported by: Ukrainian Association of Medical Tourism (UAMT), Association of Physicians in Medical Tourism (APMT), Radisson Blu Hotel Kiev, Conference Hall - UBI, Medical - Guide Company.
General Media Partner: International Medical Travel Journal (IMTJ)
Information partners: Doctor GEO & Doctor SPA, BIZRELIZ.com, Likar.Info, MedicInform.net, Oplastike.com, MedicinRF.ru, MedDovidka, Ukrainian Medical portal, EuroMD, Feel-Heal, RosaTV, MedKniga, Intmedtouris, PRO Manager in healthcare.

For more information please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/659192337536557/.

Industry News

C'est La Vie Consultants Takes Uncertainty out of International Cosmetic Medical Care With All-inclusive, Concierge Services

Who knew that combining a plastic surgery procedure with an international vacation could be so simple and affordable? That's the value provided by C'est La Vie Consultants, a team of elite professionals on a mission to connect qualified clients with the world's best plastic surgeons.

Founded in February 2015, C'est La Vie Consultants is already making waves in the medical tourism industry. The consultancy helps clients obtain quotes for specific services, coordinate every aspect of transportation and lodging to and from the destination, and navigate any linguistic or cultural barriers that would otherwise be problematic. Clients can simply relax while C'est La Vie handles all the fine details.

"We take pride in ensuring that our clients' journeys are safe, affordable and worry-free," said co-founder Edward Arriaga. "C'est La Vie Consultants is the only agency of its kind to offer end-to-end representation for every client, from the first phone call to recovery and recuperation. We believe that communication is the cornerstone of a positive experience and take great strides to keep all parties fully engaged."

The process of traveling abroad for a plastic surgery procedure begins with a thorough intake assessment. C'est La Vie Consultants serves as the bridge between clients and the medical professionals who will perform each procedure.

Medical tourism as a whole is a growing trend, largely thanks to its affordability. The CDC reports that three-quarters of a million Americans traveled abroad for medical procedures in the past year. Plastic surgeries comprised a significant portion of that number. While many variables factor into the cost of specific procedures, favorable exchange rates mean that those traveling abroad can expect to pay 50 to 90 percent less than the same procedure performed in the U.S.

C'est La Vie Consultants offers three service packages, each requiring a nominal deposit. The silver package is the standard level of service, which includes the assessment and all travel arrangements, while the bronze package provides expedited service for clients who are in a rush to complete their procedure. The most exclusive offering is the gold package, which comes with all the standard benefits, priority services and a complete collection of appropriate medical supplies.

Today, C'est La Vie Consultants has partner facilities in the Dominican Republic and Cali, Colombia, but expansion is already on the agenda. The agency hopes soon to offer intriguing new destinations for medical tourists, including India, Peru, Venezuela and Turkey.

About C'est La Vie Consultants
C'est La Vie Consultants is an elite medical tourism company that puts customer service above all else. The consultancy provides medical travel services by bringing together potential clients, the world's leading professionals, accredited healthcare facilities and tourism services. C'est La Vie Consultants endeavors to make the process easy and comfortable for every client.

Melissa Arriaga, Founder

To view the original release click here.

Industry News

6th  Annual International  Medical Travel
& Global Healthcare Business Summit

Tampa, Florida June 14th  to 16th 2015

  "Wellness Tourism, a growing opportunity"

Michael Tompkins, 
International Spa Association Chairman
CEO of Hilton Head Health in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

Sunday, June 14th, 2015

About Mr. Michael Tompkins

Michael G. Tompkins has served in multiple capacities within the fields of health and wellness and luxury hospitality for more than 25 years. 

Starting his career as a Registered Nurse, he progressed to the ranks of CEO of Miraval Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona. There, Tompkins' accomplishments included corporate development of new locations, facilities expansion, trend capitalization and lifestyle living residential developments. 

 Tompkins is currently the Chairman of ISPA (International Spa Association)

Global Healthcare Opportunities

International movement of patients and retirees 
Medical Tourism and Retirement Living abroad

Establishment of operations abroad
Offshoring of Hospitals and Retirement Communities

International movement of students and healthcare professionals
Educational tourism and International Practice

Outsourcing of healthcare services and related services
Outsourcing in health (Corporate medical travel, imaging, medical transcription, medical billing, insurance reimbursement)

Clinical Trials and Medical Research abroad

Organized by:


When June 14 - 16 2015

Where CAMLS, Tampa Florida

Main Topics

* International Medical Education
* Clinical Research Outsourcing
* Medical Services Outsourcing
* Medical Services Offshoring
* Human Resources on Health
* Public Policy on International Medical Travels
* Telemedicine




Phone number:
CR: (506) 2201-5263
US: (786) 468-7570

Register Now


Networking, Educational Workshops, Business Meeting, Investment Opportunities and More...

Click here to download agenda




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.


Upcoming Events

22nd Kazakhstan International Healthcare Exhibition

May 13-15, 2015 - Atakent Exhibition Centre, Almaty, Kazakhstan
To learn more or to register click here.

6th Annual International Medical Travel & Global Healthcare Business Summit

June 14-16, 2015 - Tampa, Florida
To learn more or to register click here.

Destination: Health Canadian Medical Tourism Trade Show

August 13-15, 2015 - Montréal Convention Centre, Montréal, Québec, Canada
To learn more or to register click here.

2nd Istanbul Medical, Health, Geriatrics, Termal, Spa & Wellness Tourism Fair & Congress

September 3-5, 2015 - Istanbul Congress Center, Istanbul, Turkey
To learn more or to register click here.

Arab Health: International Medical Travel Exhibition and Conference

October 7-8, 2015 - Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Center, United Arab Emirates
To learn more or to register click here.

9th Annual 2015 Global Spa & Wellness Summit

November 13-15, 2015 - Mexico City, Mexico
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

Outbound Medical Tourism from U.S. is Growing Rapidly
Traveldailynews.com-Any cost savings will be disregarded without an assurance of quality care. In that regard, Malaysia is a medical tourism destination that must be given serious consideration based on quality and affordability as the country offers Western-trained doctors and state-of-the-art facilities.

Sovaldi: Near-Perfect Example of Price Discrimination
Healthcarepayernews.com- This isn't just theoretical. I was approached by a consultant representing large U.S. employers who were exploring pharmacy tourism that would send patients abroad for their drugs.

AIMED, IMA Ink Pact to Promote Medical Tourism in India
Deccanchronicle.com-To promote medical tourism, the Association of Indian Medical Device Industry (AIMED) and the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on April 24 inked an agreement under the 'Cure in India' initiative. The initiative also plans to promote usage of medical devices manufactured in India.

Sun, Sand, Surgery: Goa Gearing Up for Medical Tourism
Business-standard.com-If you thought Goa was only for tourists looking for fun, think again.


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.