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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

Jitendra Singh Hints at New Healthcare Initiatives for North-East

Vast Opportunities in Medical Tourism to Help Healthcare Sector in Coming Time

Turkey Among Top 10 Medical Tourism Spots

Turkey's Growing Medical Tourism Industry to Grow Even Faster

U.S. News Names Massachusetts General Hospital Best in the Nation


Spotlight Interview

Ugur Samut, CEO and Co-Founder, MEDIGO


Reverse Medical Tourism

Why Should Patients Travel to Switzerland, Germany or France for Medical Treatments?

Industry News

Top-Ranked Orthopedic Surgeon in Tunisia Partners with VisitandCare.com

Medical Tourism - A New Handbook Looks at the Implications for Patients and Health Systems Around the World

Global Excel Management Inc. acquires Olympus Managed Health Care Inc.

Medical Travel Can Further Escalate Profit for UAE Hospitality and Healthcare Sectors

Americans Going Abroad for Medical Care Amid Rising Costs

SIIA Panel Discussion: Employer Direct Contracting: Game-Changing Medical Travel Trend

Help Save a Life and Support MatchingDonors



New CMS Regulations Likely to Impact the Commercial Market

Upcoming Events

Orchard Golf Open

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

23rd Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition

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Volume 8, Issue 16

Dear Colleagues:

Question: When it comes to healthcare, what do consumers want?
Answer: Access to high-quality, affordable care.

Recently, Berlin-based company MEDIGO designed a game-changing website that connects consumers to high-quality healthcare regardless of location, time frame or budget.

Ugur Samut, CEO and co-founder, MEDIGO, discusses this free, user-friendly platform that has gained the partnership of more than 20 clinics around the world, and attracted patients from over 110+ nations!

Additionally, I am pleased to report that the Self Insurance Institute of America has invited me to chair a panel on employer direct contracting during its annual meeting: www.siia.org/national.

Panel: Employer Direct Contracting: Game-Changing Medical Travel Trend
Date: October 19, 2015
Time: 10:15 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
Location: Marriott Marquis, Washington D.C.

The SIIA National Conference & Expo is the world's largest event focused exclusively on the self-insurance/alternative risk transfer marketplace, typically attracting more than 1,700 attendees from throughout the United States and from a growing number of countries around the world. 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.

For additional details about SIIA and the upcoming panel, read the announcement entitled, "SIIA Panel Discussion: Employer Direct Contracting: Game-Changing Medical Travel Trend," below.

We're starting to hear from many hospitals, independent surgi-centers and provider groups that want to be better positioned to serve self-funded employers offering medical/surgical travel options.  If you have a good story to tell us, please be in touch!  We want to boost opportunities for Centers of Excellence nationwide. 

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.

"Rising health insurance premiums, lack of transparency and increased awareness of how varied medical costs and quality vary dramatically between hospitals and across regions, have pushed consumers right into the arms of international and domestic medical travel. The growing industry provides the perfect solution for patients to receive the high-quality, cost-effective care that they need AND rightfully deserve!"
- Laura Carabello, Executive Editor& Publisher, Medical Travel Today & U.S. Domestic Medical Travel.

READERS: I invite you to send quotes relevant to international medical travel to editor@medicaltraveltoday.com to be featured in upcoming issues of Medical Travel Today.

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


Global Health Voyager

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SPOTLIGHT: Ugur Samut, CEO and Co-Founder, MEDIGO


About Ugur Samut
Ugur is the CEO and co-founder of MEDIGO. He drives MEDIGO's overall strategic vision while overseeing all facets of the company's operations. He brings years of experience in marketing, branding and strategic partnerships from his previous work in the travel industry. Ugur holds degrees in Marketing and International Management, and is always up for a good round of squash.

MEDIGO (www.medigo.com) was founded in November 2013 with the mission of connecting patients with affordable and high-quality medical care - anywhere in the world. Patients can access internationally accredited clinics and hospitals with a free-to-use, user-friendly platform. For more information, watch our How It Works video. To request a media kit, please contact press@medigo.com.


Medical Travel Today (MTT): Tell us how the MEDIGO platform differs from others in the marketplace.

Ugur Samut (US): MEDIGO connects patients to high-quality, affordable medical care - on a global scale!

Our job is to cater to patients - from the time they initially visit our website until they return home from treatment.

Currently, we have clinics in roughly 20 countries, and there have been patient inquiries from 113 different nations.

MTT: Can U.S. patients utilize MEDIGO's services to seek care domestically and abroad?

US: When MEDIGO first started in this industry, we analyzed all of the global markets, including: cost variation, waiting times, accessibility, insurance coverage, surgical procedures, etc. Based on our analysis, we felt that the U.S. was a difficult location to market, and we ended up postponing our U.S. launch date.

After closing in on almost $7 million in funding, we plan to open an office in San Francisco, California, and will officially launch our services in the U.S. this year.

Right now, we are receiving many inquiries from U.S. patients regarding treatment in Latin America, mainly due to the accessibility and inexpensive costs.

MTT: How do you determine what facilities to work with?

US: Before we decide to partner with a facility, first we will visit. We are very selective in this process, and will only work with organizations that already accept international patients. We also look for facilities that offer procedures that we are interested in.

Additionally, not only do we extensively research and analyze the facility, but we send industry experts to observe the facility, as well.

MTT: How many employees work for MEDIGO?

US: Currently, MEDIGO employs 35 individuals, and we would like to expand to roughly 60 employees by the end of the year.

MTT: What marketing strategies will you utilize in the U.S. to attract patients to your website?

US: We plan to target business audiences rather than direct to consumer, with online and offline tactics.

Compared to Europe, there are many more stakeholders in the U.S. For example, in Germany, there is one insurance company that covers 50 percent of the market. In the U.S., there are so many more layers within the industry.

In Europe, we do utilize a main marketing channel. Of course, we network online, but we also like to take advantage of other techniques, including: print advertisements in magazines, conferences, meeting with industry professionals, etc.

Based on the U.S. market, I think it is most important for MEDIGO to first connect and partner with private insurance companies.

MTT: Will MEDIGO contract with hospitals and providers within the U.S.?

US: We would love to contract with hospitals in the U.S. because these facilities hold the power to attract patients from all over the world.

MTT: Do you think patients from outside of the U.S. will want to travel here for care?

US: Right now we are seeing two distinct profiles of patients. One group consists of the global patients who want to seek high-quality care at the most affordable rate, and the second group comprises patients from emerging markets who are forced to travel from their home countries because care is not accessible.

If high-quality care is accessible in the U.S., then yes, I think a large number of patients will be willing to travel.

MTT: At this point, does MEDIGO have any competitors in the U.S.?

US: Based on the level of service we are providing, we do not feel that there is any competition.

Of course, there are insurance companies that allow patients to search for local providers, but we do not consider this competition. In fact, this emphasizes exactly what makes MEDIGO stand out in the marketplace: we help patients find affordable, top providers all around the world, not just locally.

MTT: Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers?

US: What we are trying to do right now is "shop the market," because within a year's time there is guaranteed to be other platforms.

It is really incredible what is going on in the world right now in terms of healthcare, and we want to implement our services as early as possible.



Reverse Medical Tourism
by Adam J. Scheiner, M.D.

I have a practice in Laser Eyelid and Facial Plastic Surgery and have been practicing successfully for many years. In 2011, after my appearance on the Doctor Oz show, my practice changed in a substantial way.

As a result of my appearance on that show and the demonstration of a procedure to help a difficult condition to treat called eyelid festoons, many patients began contacting us from around the world.

Festoons and Malar mounds are a term to describe skin folds and swollen mounds that form on the cheek.

Lower eyelid bags usually accompany them. Both lower lid bags and festoons can make a person appear tired, sick, old and sometime drunk even when those people feel fine inside. Many people have surgery to help lower eyelid bags but when they are accompanied by festoons, and malar mounds and those festoons and malar mounds aren't treated at the same time, the result after surgery can even look worse. This is because once lower eyelid fullness is removed above the festoons, this problematic area is highlighted and becomes more obvious.

There hasn't been a great treatment for festoons until my procedure. As a result, many people travel to see me for help with their lower eyelid rejuvenation concerns. Once the large number of calls and emails began to come in, I initially didn't have the resources to deal with them.

This required hiring new staff and setting up infrastructure to manage this large increase in new patient contacts. I used technology to help with this and setup a HIPPA-compliant medical form on my website where patients could upload information that would allow me to determine if they were likely a good candidate for my procedure.

My new staff would then contact the patient and arrange the medical release, understanding of the procedure, and financial arrangements. I was fortunate that local hotels and businesses became partners in making the visit of my patients more enjoyable. Certain hotels started competing with one another to attract my patients to their hotels. One started offering transportation to my patients for airport transfers and for every visit to my office. The other hotel then hired a cab service to provide the same. The first hotel was offering breakfast and hors d'oeuvres four nights a week. The second hotel then matched this, as well.

Patients were often leaving gifts for future patients. One patient purchased a lounge chair and then signed the back of it and left it for future patients of mine. Others continued signing the back and leaving notes of encouragement and love for future patients.

I enjoyed seeing the sense of sisterhood and brotherhood my patients had for one another.

In 2012, I was featured on the Doctors TV show for my treatment of eyelid bags and eyelid festoons.

At this point, my infrastructure was in place and I was able to easily handle the volume of people contacting us after the airing of that show.

Today, 80 percent of my practice is from people travelling in to see us from many parts of this and other countries.

Recently, I've become aware that I'm a small engine for my community in Tampa because those traveling here stay in local hotels, eat at restaurants and enjoy the entertainment options available in the Tampa Bay area.

I love what I do to help my patients restore, reveal and reclaim their natural beauty, and I feel thankful that I'm able to be a resource for people from around the world.



Why Should Patients Travel to Switzerland, Germany or France for Medical Treatments?
by SAM Medical International

The physicians' skills

All physicians are trained in at least one of the three countries' medical schools. The medical schools are very renowned and reliable. Most of the physicians attend international meetings and congresses. They also have some complementary training in the U.S. or in other countries where they meet specialists with whom they work.

It is also easy to check their skills on their websites where it is possible to read articles they have published.

There always is a follow-up of the patients' treatments and health when they are back in their home country. Physicians always take care of them until they completely recover, and they remain in constant relation with the physicians in the home country.

The quality of hospitals

University and private hospitals have the best possible equipment. There is a great custom in Europe of communication between all the specialists patients may need in order for the patients to have the most accurate treatments. The hospitals are also comfortable with a very professional staff with a great experience of foreign patients. It is possible to see their accreditation on their website. The accreditations are not the same than in the U.S.. Switzerland has the Swiss Accreditation Service (SAS), France has the Haute Autorité de Santé (HAS) and Germany has the German Social Act (Sozialgesetzbuch, SGB).

All hospitals in the three countries are evaluated according to very strict criteria such as:

  • Infection prevention
  • Complaints management
  • Pain management
  • Assistance to patients at the end of life
  • Follow-up of the patient's treatment


Hospitals are very comfortable. Some of them, such as the Geneva university hospital, have a special staff for foreigners. They guarantee services for international patients, such as multilingual nurses and food that is adapted to their religious habits or. The staff is also used to various cultures.

Some companies such as SAM Medical International also provide services: interpreters, drivers, visiting the patients at the hospital, making appointments with the physicians, booking hotels, taking care of the family during the patients' stays at the hospitals, etc.

Some of the hospitals really look like four-star hotels with "à la carte" meals.
Patients must feel that they are taken care of and at home, which is part of their recovery.


The environment is also very important for patients to recover. The Geneva Lake and the Alps are very healthy and beautiful landscapes. Paris is also an unforgettable and attractive city.

Germany has very good rehabilitation hospitals in the country where patients can relax and recover in a quiet place.

It is also easy to fly from one big city to the other for shopping or for sightseeing.


The price is also a big issue in medical care. European hospitals are charging an average half the price of American hospitals, which makes it really worth having medical treatments in Europe.

The price of the plane ticket doesn't make a big difference when it comes to medical costs.

Europe may not be the closest destination for Americans. but it remains one of the safest place for high-quality medical treatments. Once you've decided to fly abroad for an operation or for medical care, it doesn't make a big difference whether you travel four or seven hours once you're in the plane. The main point is to be sure you're going to have the best treatment.

Europe also has the advantage of having a culture that is very close to the American culture, which makes it easier for patients to get along with the hospital staff.

Europe is also much closer for patients from the Gulf Countries and they usually appreciate to be in a beautiful mountain landscape.

Industry News

Top-Ranked Orthopedic Surgeon in Tunisia Partners with VisitandCare.com

Dr. Sofien Kallel in Tunisia partners with prominent medical tourism agency, VisitandCare.com. Delivering high quality life-altering orthopedic treatment, the clinic is at the forefront of orthopedic innovation.

Top-ranked orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sofien Kallel partners with prominent medical tourism agency VisitandCare.com. Leading the way in orthopedic excellence by providing compassionate and comprehensive musculoskeletal care in Tunisia, the clinic is at the forefront of orthopedic innovation.

Located in the aspiring modern-day capital of Tunis, the prominent orthopedic surgery center offers a full range of cost-effective treatment options, including arthroscopic surgery, foot and ankle surgery, hand and upper extremity surgery, joint replacement and leading rehabilitation services.

"Our team believes that a vital part of the treatment process starts long before surgery. It is extremely critical to educate every patient and their family members on the many treatment options we offer. Using the latest techniques, our goal is for patients to return to full activity in the least amount of time possible," explained team administrators at the orthopedic surgery clinic of Dr. Sofien Kallel.

Keeping Patients Active and Healthy -
Led by the experience and expertise of internationally renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Sofien Kallel the clinic focuses on the latest advancements in medicine and technology. The Tunisian orthopedic surgery clinic is creating personalized surgical treatment plans that ensure an enduring joint replacement with optimal functionality.

Achieving these unparalleled surgical results, the clinic credits their success to modern technology and high-tech components that last remarkably longer - diminishing the need for subsequent revision surgeries that are tremendously burdensome to patients who are back to living active, healthy lifestyles.

The introduction of minimally invasive methods also allows the team to examine and treat patients through tiny incisions, succeeding faster recovery times to return to regular activities.

Hip and Knee Replacement Surgery -
Continually striving to improve orthopedic care, the top-ranked orthopedic surgery center in Tunis actively researches and develops new treatments, surgical techniques and devices for the field. As recognized leaders and pioneers in orthopedic medicine, Dr. Sofien Kallel draws interest from patients with complex musculoskeletal needs.

Dr. Kallel and his team have pioneered techniques to minimize pain after surgery and enable patients to leave shortly after the procedure. The medical tourism provider has all-embracing experience treating arthritis in the hip, knee, shoulder, elbow, and other joints.

"It's truly remarkable how modern medicine is transforming the medical tourism industry. Our partnered orthopedic providers are internationally respected surgeons and specialists whose research discoveries and innovative treatment approaches are helping patients around the globe," stated Tolga Umar, CEO and founder of VisitandCare.com.

About VisitandCare.com
VisitandCare.com was created to give individuals worldwide valued direction locating a doctor, obtain free medical treatment quotes, and uncover affordable medical treatments at destinations of their choice. Improving Patients Lives: The company provides access to exclusive doctors and hospitals who specialize in infertility, plastic surgery, cosmetic dentistry, laser eye surgery, orthopedic surgery, hair transplantation, weight loss surgery, heart surgery and cancer care. Patients are matched with devoted multilingual patient facilitators, and provided tangible connections to doctors worldwide. Promoting Your Healthcare Brand: For the ultimate connection between the healthcare industry and patients worldwide, the company delivers an unrivaled commitment to create sustained value for medical partners. Contact VisitandCare.com to see if you are eligible to become a partner of our exclusive network.

To view the original release click here.

Industry News

Medical Tourism - A New Handbook Looks at the Implications for Patients and Health Systems Around the World

York.ac.uk-Patients who travel abroad for medical treatment risk returning with complications or infections that require costly treatment on the NHS is one of the issues highlighted in a new handbook exploring medical tourism.

In particular, cosmetic procedures appear to be an area of growth for medical travel by U.K. patients, but can often result in costly intervention when back home, researchers at the University of York have concluded.

It's estimated that botched cosmetic work overseas costs the NHS £8 million a year.

Medical tourism - people traveling abroad with the expressed purpose of accessing medical treatment - is a growing phenomenon associated with globalization.

This growth has been boosted by cheaper air travel and by the Internet, which allows medical providers from one country to market themselves to patients in another.

It is estimated that in 2015 globally five million people will seek medical treatment abroad.

However, little is known as to which patients choose to travel and why, when others do not.

Researchers from York's department of Social Policy and Social Work and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine brought together a global community of researchers and writers to produce the 'Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility'. It is published by Edward Elgar.

One of the handbook's editors, Dr Neil Lunt, said:  "We have been aware of a growing international group of scholars who are interested in patients who travel out of country for treatment. What we wanted to do in this handbook was really to bring together all the scholars but also to focus on places and writers that are quite often neglected. Often the focus is on the U.S. and Europe, but there's important things going on around the world in Africa, Asia, Middle East and South America."

The handbook explores the emergence of medical tourism and patient mobility and the implications this has for patients and health systems around the world. 

It explores topics such as risk, law and ethics, patient experience and treatment outcomes for cosmetic, transplantation, dental, fertility and weight loss surgery.

The editors conclude that despite a number of studies focusing on U.K. patients, there needs to be further research on the potential impact and costs of medical tourism on the NHS.

Neil Lunt added:  "If someone decides to go oversees for cosmetic work, that's an individual thing they do.  But if when they come back there's work that needs to be done, that typically gets picked up by the NHS. People are travelling abroad without necessarily understanding that if something goes wrong they are not covered in the same way in terms of redress if they were treated by the NHS or treated privately in the U.K. People are so used to just jumping on planes."

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

Global Excel Management Inc. acquires Olympus Managed Health Care Inc.

Global Excel Management Inc. is pleased to announce our recent acquisition of Olympus Managed Health Care Inc., and its associated companies, Olympus Healthcare Solutions México SA, ChoiceNet International México SA and Healthcare Concierge Services Inc.

With this acquisition, Global Excel reinforces its position as the leading supplier of cost containment, claims management and medical assistance services in the industry. Both organizations feel that the synergies experienced with this fusion will bring benefits on domestic and international levels. 

According to Steven W. Jacobson, chairman, CEO and founder of Olympus, "In the process of planning strategic position we considered a sale of the company. The only way we would consider a sale was upon the condition that the buyer would need to be in a position and have the ability to continue, not only the aggressive growth, but also sustain the values we had created.

Ironically, it was in a key competitor that we found the capacity and drive that would satisfy these significant conditions. The combination of our network management, our strength in the destination and expat markets and our position as market leader in Latin America market along with Global Excel's history of experience in complementary skills and markets, made it evident they were an ideal purchaser. I am confident and pleased that we have been acquired by a company who will ensure the legacy of Olympus continues for its clients and employees."

Reg Allatt, CEO of Global Excel, adds, "Olympus was a very natural fit for Global Excel. Each organization has strengths which will complement each other perfectly. The response from clients and employees from each group has been overwhelmingly positive. We were very pleased that Olympus, CNI and HCS trusted our reputation for being client oriented, innovative and performance focused. We're very confident that together we'll be able to provide significant added value to existing and new clients. More importantly, we found that the core values in Olympus were the same as ours, and that included a very strong focus on our respective employees. In the future, Global Excel will continue to concentrate on our corporate objective of both horizontal and vertical expansion, both through profitable organic growth and qualified targeted acquisitions."

Over the next few months the goal of both management teams will be to continue providing the highest level of service to our respective clients. We'll be focusing on identifying those synergies which will bring added value to existing clients and allow both Olympus and Global Excel to extend their service offering to new markets and clients. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with our new colleagues at Olympus, CNI and HCS.

If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Best Regards,

David O'Connor
Global Excel Management Inc.

About Global Excel Management Inc.
Global Excel is a full-service cost containment, claims management and medical assistance company located in Canada. It offers a complete range of services to over 300 international, Canadian and U.S. domestic clients located in more than 40 countries around the world. Global Excel manages approximately 105,000 inpatient, outpatient and non-medical cases per year and processes in excess of $850 million in healthcare claims annually.

About Olympus Managed Health Care Inc.
Olympus Managed Health Care Inc. is the leading independent provider of health care claims administration and cost containment services. Since its inception in 1994, Olympus has focused exclusively on facilitating access to health care on behalf of its health care clientele. Olympus' products and services focus on bringing value to the payer, medical provider, and health care consumer. Olympus is an ISO 9001:2008 Certified Company, has over 60 clients located in 90 countries, and will process approximately $415 million in healthcare claims annually.

For further information we kindly ask you to contact the following at Global Excel Management Inc.:

John Spears, VP Business Development and Marketing: john.spears@globalexcel.com
Christine Chenard, Communications Specialist: christine.chenard@globalexcel.com

Industry News

Medical Travel Can Further Escalate Profit for UAE Hospitality and Healthcare Sectors

Dubai, UAE: Medical travel is an attractive and lucrative market for all areas of the hospitality and medical sectors in the UAE.  Medical travelers take longer trips and spend more on services than regular travelers.  They also travel at peak times and often bring family to assist with their recovery. Hospitality and medical service providers, who cater to medical travelers effectively, have a great opportunity to substantially increase revenues and profits. The UAE is well positioned for further advancement in the medical tourism industry because of its world-class doctors and state-of-the-art medical facilities, impressive regional infrastructure and safety, and newly designed processes to make medical travel easier.

According to Beth Hirschfield, principal, Hirschfield Consulting, UAE, "The Dubai Health Authority, as one example, estimates that medical tourism in Dubai is growing at 10-15 percent per year and has a long-term goal of attracting 500,000 medical tourists per year by 2020. As medical tourism in the UAE is still in its growth stages, there is substantial upside opportunity for related service providers who develop strategies and services that cater medical travelers."
Statistics from Patients Beyond Borders' estimated the 2014 global medical travel market size as $38.5-55 billion, based on approximately 11 million cross-border patients worldwide spending an average of $3,500-5,000 per visit, including all medically-related costs, cross-border and local transport, inpatient stay and accommodations.

"There is a need for a strong local, regional and global promotional campaign for medical tourism in the UAE, supported by a sufficient number of hospitals and medical facilities, well-trained staff and medical professionals, in addition to enough funds to support consistent growth of the industry as a whole and maintain its presence and quality," says Thomas Ressopulos, vice president, sales and marketing, TIME Hotels, UAE.

Mr. Ressopulos and Ms. Hirshfield will discuss the UAE medical tourism industry at the upcoming International Medical Travel Conference and Exhibition (IMTEC), organized by Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions, taking place at the Dubai International Convention Centre 7-8 October, 2015. It is the destination for leaders and thinkers in the medical travel arena to learn and discuss the latest developments in the region's medical travel market. Patients are also invited to explore the medical travel destinations showcased at the event.

"To improve profitability it is important to have specialized hospitals that people can feel at home and on holiday -- not in a hospital environment. This can bring business to both medical and hospitality industry. That is why we are adjusting some of the accommodation located close to the Dubai Healthcare City, geared towards to this purpose," says Mr. Ressopulos.

Editor's Details
Weaam El Ataya
Informa Life Sciences Exhibitions

To read the original release click here.

Industry News

Americans Going Abroad for Medical Care Amid Rising Costs

According to a study done at Harvard University, "62 percent of bankruptcies in the United States are due to medical expenses" and that percentage is steadily increasing. As medical-related costs continue to rise in the U.S., millions are searching for other cost-effective outlets abroad.

In 2014, over 1.2 million Americans travelled abroad for medical procedures including, but not limited to, facelifts, rhinoplasty, hip and valve replacements, etc. Depending upon the country and type of treatment, those seeking elective care overseas save hundreds to thousands of dollars. This trend has been growing globally with 8 million patients now seeking care abroad each year.

Among some of the most preferred destinations, Malaysia has been gaining increased attention. The country has received prestigious awards such as the "Medical Travel Destination of the Year 2015" award by U.K based International Medical Travel Journal.  Western-trained doctors and state-of-the-art medical facilities, which have international accreditation, along with low cost of care make Malaysia highly attractive to those considering medical care abroad.

Furthermore, single-tier pricing for locals and foreigners, a favorable exchange rate, and a lower cost of living in Malaysia all contribute to reduced prices. Patients can save between 65-80 percent on medical procedures when compared with U.S. prices. For example, a facelift that costs approximately $14,500 in the U.S. would cost $4,900 in Malaysia. A standard valve replacement costing $85,000 USD in America will cost approximately $20,800 USD in Malaysia.

Winner of 'International cosmetic surgery clinic of the year: Beverley Wilshire Medical Centre. Sherene Azura Azli, CEO of Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council, on behalf of Beverly Wilshire.

For more information, please contact Juan Villalpando at jvillalpando@saeshe.com.

The Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council or MHTC was established by the Government of Malaysia as the primary agency to develop and promote the healthcare travel industry and to position Malaysia as the preferred healthcare destination in the region.

Industry News

SIIA Panel Discussion: Employer Direct Contracting: Game-Changing Medical Travel Trend

Panel: Employer Direct Contracting: Game-Changing Medical Travel Trend
Date: October 19th, 2015
Time: 10:15am - 11:30am
Location: Marriott Marquis, Washington D.C.

Description: With the sticker-shock of health reforms resonating in the employer community, business leaders are seeking solutions that not only lower costs, but also ensure quality. While there are a few pioneers in the large business category that have tested the waters to execute direct contracting arrangements with targeted Centers of Excellence (COEs) (e.g. Wal-Mart, Lowe's, Boeing) the vast majority of large employers are now contemplating these arrangements in the year ahead.

Furthermore, virtually all of the mid-size and small employers are also receptive to this concept and may aggregate their purchasing power through coalitions and other multiple employer welfare arrangements (MEWAs). A panel of experts will discuss the latest trends in this area.

Moderator: Laura Carabello

Editor and Publisher:  National and International Newsletters
U.S. Domestic Medical Travel:  www.USDomesticMedicalTravel.com
Medical Travel Today:  www.MedicalTravelToday.com


Cheryl DeMars, CEO, The Alliance

Trisha M. Frick-Hall, MS RN, Assistant Director, Managed Care Contracting, Office of Managed Care, John Hopkins Healthcare LLC

David LaMarche, MBA, Administrative Director, Finance, Virginia Mason Medical Center

To learn more about the upcoming panel and/or event, please visit: www.siia.org/national.


New CMS Regulations Likely to Impact the Commercial Market
by Megan Kennedy

Due to a tremendous variation in care costs across the nation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed regulations to implement a new "pay-per-episode" model for hip and knee surgeries.

The Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CCJR) model suggests that Medicare will now pay acute care hospitals a bundled fee for episodes of care for lower extremity joint replacement or reattachment of a lower extremity. Under this model, all relative care within 90 days of hospital discharge will be included in the bundled rate.

The proposed regulations are meant to lower program expenditures and preserve or enhance the quality of care from surgery to recovery provided to Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program beneficiaries.
According to a recent press release:

"Depending on the hospital's quality and cost performance during the episode, the hospital may receive an additional payment or be required to repay Medicare for a portion of the episode costs. As a result, hospitals would have an incentive to work with physicians, home health agencies, and nursing facilities to make sure beneficiaries get the coordinated care they need, with the goal of reducing avoidable hospitalizations and complications. Hospitals would receive tools - such as spending and utilization data and sharing of best practices - to improve the effectiveness of care coordination."

After the proposed regulations began headlining numerous media outlets, it didn't take long for industry professionals to weigh in.

Many healthcare leaders are concerned that if the new regulations are passed, the commercial market will be negatively affected in ways including but not limited to:

  • Discouraging innovation
  • Less options for patients
  • More consolidation of providers
  • Higher prices for private payers

We would love to hear your thoughts on the proposed CMS regulations. Feel free to send us a comment at editor@medicaltraveltoday.com.

For further details about the newly proposed CMS regulations, 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.


Upcoming Events

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.

23rd Moscow International Travel & Tourism Exhibition

March 23-26, 2016 - Expocenter Fairgrounds, Moscow, Russia
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

Jitendra Singh Hints at New Healthcare Initiatives for North-East

Newkerala.com- Minister of State for DoNER Dr. Jitendra Singh has said that his ministry would explore new initiatives in the field of health and medical care for the north eastern region, and added that he will also look into the feasibility of these initiatives either purely as public enterprise or through public-private participation.
Vast Opportunities in Medical Tourism to Help Healthcare Sector in Coming Time

Money.livemint.com-The country inherited basic and limited healthcare infrastructure which was grossly inadequate to meet the demands of a large and diverse populace. From that starting point, India has emerged as a serious player in the global healthcare services delivery landscape with a multitude of world-class healthcare institutions imbibing the highest standards of clinical excellence.

Turkey Among Top 10 Medical Tourism Spots

Hurriyetdailynews.com- Turkey, the sixth most visited tourism destination in the world, has also become one of the most popular medical tourism destinations with more than half a million medical tourists visiting the country last year, according to data compiled by Anadolu Agency from the Association of Turkish Travel Agencies (TüRSAB), the Health Ministry and private hospital figures.

Turkey's Growing Medical Tourism Industry to Grow Even Faster

Balkans.com-Turkey's growing medical tourism industry has been growing quickly, but the sector is eyeing even greater profits over the next decade, hoping to become the destination for the 650 million living in the region, according to the head of the Turkey Health Tourism Development Council.

U.S. News Names Massachusetts General Hospital Best in the Nation

Fiercehealthcare.com-Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston is the best hospital in the country, according to the latest rankings released by U.S. News & World Report.


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.