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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

'Sky is the Limit' for Health Providers Who Use Social Media

India Emerging as Major Destination for Quality Healthcare

Exclusive - Transatlantic Divide: How U.S. Pays Three Times More for Drugs

U.S. Healthcare System May Be On Track For A Crash

Spotlight Interview

Richard Krasner, MA, MHA, Principal Consultant, FutureComp Consulting, and Blogger, Transforming Workers' Comp

Industry News

SIIA Wrap-Up:  Standing-room Only Crowd at Break-Out Session

SIIA Conference: Is Direct Contracting Ready for Takeoff?

Patient Lead Follow-Up: The Need for Speed

Top 10 Medical Tourism Trends That Will Shape the Global Healthcare Landscape

Flywire Announces New Payment Solution for Medical Tourism

Education and Professional Formation of Dentists in Costa Rica

U.S. Outspends Other Nations on Healthcare, Has Worse Outcomes

Medical Tourism Ripe for Growth

Turkish Airlines Offers Discounts to Medical Tourists

IMTJ Academic Conference: ‘Medical tourism: Time for a check-up?'

International Wellness & Spa Tourism Monitor 2014-2015

How the Global Healthcare Economy Will Impact U.S. Providers: Five Key Trends


Upcoming Events

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IMTJ Medical Travel Summit

IMTJ Academic Conference on Medical Travel and Cross Border Healthcare

EHMA Annual Conference 2016

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Volume 8, Issue 19

Dear Colleagues:

Each month, I connect with leading industry experts to give Medical Travel Today readers the most relevant, up-to-date information about trends, deals, new business, competition, medical advances and legal issues that impact the rapidly growing ranks of medical travelers.

Over the years, I have checked in with former interviewee's to gain further insight on their perspectives and growing position in the industry.

In 2013, I spoke with Richard Krasner, principal consultant, FutureComp Consulting, and Blogger, Transforming Workers' Comp, who adamantly expressed that the implementation of medical travel into workers' compensation cases could lead to the development of international accreditation and quality standards.

Fast forward to 2015, and Richard continues to communicate the potentially valuable role of medical travel in workers' compensation cases. In fact, he is in the beginning stages of launching a new company, FutureComp Consulting, with the mission to seamlessly blend the two industries!

I am also excited to announce that the Fifth Annual IHC FORUM West will take place November 16-18, 2015, at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the ONLY conference series 100-percent dedicated to healthcare consumerism - where employers, brokers, health plans, TPAs, consultants and providers gather under one roof to LEARN, CONNECT and SHARE best practices, innovation and expert insights. For more information and/or to register, click here.

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.

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



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Global Health Voyager

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SPOTLIGHT: Richard Krasner, MA, MHA, Principal Consultant, FutureComp Consulting, and Blogger, Transforming Workers' Comp

7151 Summer Tree Drive
Boynton Beach, FL  33437
561-738-0458, 561-603-1685, cell
Skype: richardkrasner

About Richard Krasner
Richard Krasner received a Master of Health Administration from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, in December 2011, a Master of Arts in American History from New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts (Political Science/History/Social Sciences) from SUNY Brockport. He has studied world history, global politics, international relations, and has been interested in the future of human civilization in all aspects: economic, political and social.

Krasner has worked in the insurance and risk management industry for more than 30 years in New York, Florida and Texas in the claims and risk management spheres, primarily in workers' compensation claims, auto no-fault, and property and casualty claims administration and claims management. In addition, he has experience in risk and insurance business analysis, risk management information systems, and insurance data processing and data management.

About FutureComp Consulting
FutureComp Consulting is dedicated to transforming the workers' compensation industry by freeing employers and injured workers from the high cost of surgery for work-related injuries common to workers' compensation claims, such as back, hip, knee, shoulder, and carpal tunnel.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): It's been awhile since Medical Travel Today has checked in with you. Remind our readers of your position in the medical travel industry, as well as what you have been involved with since we last chatted in 2013.

Richard Krasner (RK): I am the blogger-in-chief of the Transforming Workers' Comp blog, as well as the CEO and principal consultant of FutureComp Consulting - an as yet not official company dedicated to bringing the medical travel industry into the workers' comp industry.

Since 2013, I have continued my blogging, and in November 2014, I spoke at the 5th Mexico Health & Wellness Travel Show in Reynosa, Mexico. I was invited to speak again at the 6th Mexico Health & Wellness Travel Show in December, in Puerto Vallarta.

MTT: Can you give the readers some background on FutureComp Consulting and its goals?

RK: I came up with the name of the company because I truly believed that the future of workers' compensation in the U.S. has to be more globally focused, especially since the workforce in the U.S. is increasingly Latino and Asian, as has been reported by those who follow the demographic makeup of the U.S. population as a whole.

The goal of FutureComp Consulting is to transform the workers' compensation industry by freeing employers and injured workers from the high cost of surgery for work-related injuries common to workers' compensation claims, such as back, hip, knee, shoulder, and carpal tunnel.

MTT: Do you work directly with the patient, employer and/or both?

RK: As FutureComp Consulting is at the very early stage as a startup company, there are no patients or employers that I am working with, however, there is one health plan that has expressed an interest to expand what their members' employees are already doing in northern Mexico with regard to general healthcare, and not workers' comp.

My vision for the company would involve employers and insurance companies seeking to lower the cost of surgeries for work-related injuries, with the injured workers agreeing to go out of the country when the option is presented to them. They would not be under any obligation or pressure to go abroad for medical care, and should they decline to do so, they would be free to get treated here in the U.S., as if the option was never offered. I think that with the large and growing Hispanic workforce in the U.S., that if presented correctly, they would choose to go to their home country, or similar country for surgery. This would help them overcome any language or cultural barriers, and assure their friends and relatives in that country that they are getting the best care possible, in the best facility their country has to offer. For non-Latino workers, it would be a chance to see another region of the world, and to learn about other cultures. Naturally, in both cases, spouses and even children, would be allowed to travel with them to make the worker feel more comfortable with going abroad.

MTT: Will FutureComp Consulting help connect medical travel patients to specific locations?

RK: I would like to see injured workers travel to Latin America and the Caribbean, because the travel time from the U.S. mainland would be less than four hours, and less of a strain on their injury and recovery from surgery.

MTT:Medical travel provides patients with the opportunity for high-quality, cost-effective healthcare, so in 2015, why do you think there is still pushback?

RK: For one, I think because of media reports about the negative outcomes and serious injuries that have occurred, even a few deaths, here and there. Second, I think too many Americans are under the impression that medical care in other countries outside of North America and Western Europe is so-called "third-world medicine," and therefore not as good as medical care at home. Third, the concept of "American exceptionalism," of which I have written about in the past, is too strong in the mindset of most Americans, especially those who have never traveled abroad or to those regions where medical travel is currently offered. I have written about the issue of "third-world medicine" as well, and one domestic critic of mine insists that I want to send patients to Bangladesh or some other country that does not have first-world medical care, as they would define it. I don't want to disparage Bangladesh or any other country, but that is the perception, and that is why there is pushback, at least in terms of what I am trying to do.

The workers' comp industry is too conservative, and too stuck in their ways to look outside the box and outside the border of the U.S. to find solutions to the problems plaguing workers' comp. In other words, they have not caught on that the world, healthcare and workers' comp are all globalizing.

MTT: Where do you see the future of healthcare headed, domestic and international?

RK: As far as workers' comp is concerned, I think that the future of medical care is uncertain, because there are forces both internal and external that are challenging the original intent of the system. International medical travel for workers' comp is years away in much the same way that sub-orbital, commercial flights between one and four hours travel time is -- something that may happen by mid-century.

However, domestic medical travel in workers' comp is occurring due to differences in medical and surgery costs from state to state.

With regard to general healthcare, the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has not yet been felt as either hurting or helping medical travel, because the timeframe is too short at this point. Not enough information about the impact of the law has been developed, although there are some conflicting opinions about aspects of the law, which I have recently written about in regard to Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

I am not sure if the ACA is driving some people to look abroad, but those who are now covered, and who were not covered before, are more likely than not to stay home, unless it gets too expensive or they lose it because opposition politicians get their way.

MTT: At this point, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

RK: Yes, there is. The end of October 2015 will mark three years since I began writing my blog, and one of the biggest disappointments I have encountered has been the number of individuals and organizations that are not behaving in an ethical or professional manner. This has been brought to my attention by several individuals I have had contact with over the past three years. I believe that it is time for this behavior to stop. We must treat each other ethically and professionally. Standards should be established for how to conduct business with each other, between our partners, and with the patients themselves, as well as for how to practice medicine, and relate to foreign patients in terms of learning to speak their language, and providing meals at the proper time and in accordance with their cultural norms, etc. We must also develop organizations to bring the industry together under common laws and procedures for handling problems.

Lastly, I think there is far too much emphasis on conferences and congresses, and not enough on actually going out into the market and getting the business, instead of bringing providers and facilitators together. Also, the industry must, as I said in Reynosa, go after the workers' comp market; it will not come to you. You must go beyond cosmetic and plastic/reconstructive surgery, dentistry, spas, wellness programs, etc., and market your services for the masses, and not just the rich and affluent. Healthcare should know no class distinctions.

I have been unable to get traction from both the workers' comp industry and the medical travel industry, but I am willing to partner with anyone who sees what I am trying to do, and wants to be a part of it. I hope this interview will allow me to do so.

Industry News

SIIA Wrap-Up:  Standing-room Only Crowd at Break-Out Session

It was not business as usual for the medical travel industry during the recent annual meeting of the Self Insurance Institute of America. 

At this well-attended event and with four outstanding panelists, the presentations and discussions were lively and thought-provoking.  Here's an overview:

Employer Direct Contracting: Game-Changing Medical Travel Trend

Panel Chairperson:  Laura Carabello, Founder and Principal, CPR Strategic Marketing Communications, and Editor and Publisher, Medical Travel Today and U.S. Domestic Medical Travel™

In this pressure-cooker healthcare environment, solutions that were once considered far-reaching are now meeting receptive audiences. Direct contracting, often characterized as "U.S. domestic travel," the practice of traveling out of one's hometown or home state to a care provider or COE located in another region or part of the country, represents this type of phenomenon.  Employers are opting for bundled, fixed price procedures, leveraging the fierce competition among hospitals, Centers of Excellence, and physician-owned clinics and surgi-centers.  While there are a few pioneers in the large business category that have tested the waters to execute direct contracting arrangements, the vast majority of large employers and virtually all of the mid-size and small employers are now contemplating these arrangements in 2015.

Here are the topics discussed - and we welcome your feedback on these subjects:

  1. What is a bundle?  What is included Government bundles v. private sector bundles
  2. Is there a warranty or guarantee in the bundled contract? 90-day window
  3. Who negotiates the bundled rates?  Coalition?  Direct?  TPA?
  4. What about follow up care?  Same providers?
  5. Benchmarks for go-forward surgery?  Too early and can be treated otherwise?  A1C? Dental? Smoking cessation?
  6. We hear a lot about the importance of transparency in pricing...if the public markets are promoting this, why can't the private sector follow this path? It appears that separate "deals" preclude transparency,
  7. Can anyone divulge the "going rate" for knee surgery or hip replacement?
  8. Should volume present opportunities for better rates?  How about risk?
  9. How many surgeries do not get scheduled because of issues?
  10. Providers: What regional area? Within driving distance? Other parts of the U.S.?  International?
  11. We hear a lot about orthopedic procedures - but what other surgeries or treatments are appropriate for direct contracting?  Bariatrics?  Oncology?
  12. What size employers can use this strategy?  Small - medium, 500+ employees?
  13. How can employers incent workforce to utilize the benefit?  Deductibles, co-pays, mandates?
  14. Will employers with HSA plans be able to incent since the individual must meet deductible before this kicks in...
  15. Can we redesign payments - not just focus on more bundles?

Please send your thoughts to editor@medicaltraveltoday.com.

Industry News

SIIA Conference: Is Direct Contracting Ready for Takeoff?
by Jeff Byers

Healthcaredive.com-Conferences, generally speaking, are not a lively experience during educational sessions. It is with that mentality audience applause during a panel discussion on employer direct contracting warrants consideration. At the Self-Insurance Institute of America's 35th Annual National Educational Conference and Expo, Cheryl Demars, CEO of employer-owned and -directed healthcare purchasing cooperative The Alliance, shared her thoughts on health insurance cost transparency and direct contracting.

"In Wisconsin [The Alliance's homestate]...the state began to negotiate contracts with fully-insured plans, and the cost shift in our market was seismic and sudden," she said. "So we formed a network to help employers deal with that...But that's part of the problem because it precludes transparency...If we had our way, we would say to physicians and hospitals ‘Charge everyone the same amount'...I recognize our organization would have to figure out a different way to exist, but I think that's part of the problem: The inability to see price differences and to not be able to compare apples to apples."

To this, the audience openly began applauding.

Moderated by Laura Carabello, editor and publisher, Medical Travel Today and U.S. Domestic Medical Travel, the panel convened to discuss medical travel and direct contracting. "Healthcare usually follows other industries," noted Carabello. In a recent Healthcare Consumerism Outlook Magazine article, Carabello described the concept of direct contracting is "often characterized as ‘U.S. domestic travel,' the practice of traveling out of one's hometown or home state to a care provider or [Center of Excellence] located in another part of the country."

The concept allows opportunities for employers and insurers alike to contain costs. One such opportunity are bundled services for procedures such as knee, hip and cardiac bypass surgeries. Demars noted these services for The Alliance are "high costs, high stakes and schedulable and also ‘bundle-able.'"

Looking towards high-tech imaging, oncology and colorectal cancer screening procedures, Demars noted, "We want to focus on things where there are quality gaps, where there are also questions about appropriateness of care and where there's cost variations...and schedulable. It has to be something where consumers have a choice."

David LaMarche, MBA, administrative director of finance and contracting at Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, added that bariatric surgery procedures, as well as diabetic service bundles, may be areas that gain traction down the line.
Carabello stated large employers are seen as driving this market, but panelists noted that small to mid-sized employers should not be discounted. Demars stated that out of the 240 employers that own and direct The Alliance, the average size of the employers is 200 employees. LaMarche said, "The doors are open [for us]. The challenge is how do you help a small employer find the infrastructure and plug in to be able to utilize the program. I think that's the next big step for us."

Ruth Coleman, CEO of Health Design Plus, noted for third party administrators for small employers that this is an unusual time in the industry and there will be opportunities if companies are willing to step outside their traditional roles to work locally with providers. Even though individuals are flying all over the world for care, "I think there's much better opportunity on the local and regional level. But it's going to take some folks that are creative and figure out how to manage contracts and communication with employers," Coleman said.

Carabello noted that one of the problems with the travel-for-treatment industry is coordination and consistency of care. Going off the prompt, LaMarche noted that communication is key and advocated a team to discuss a patient's care plan. The team would be able to ensure the medical records are disseminating properly and the provider is ready when the patient arrives.
Discussing bundles, LaMarche stated his company views a bundle as a three-phase approach:

  • Preoperative evaluation component
  • Surgical component with a postoperative follow-up period
  • Warranty

"I don't think I have any contracts that are the same," LaMarche said.

Trisha M. Frick-Hall, MS, RN, assistant director of Managed Care at the Contracting office of Managed Care at Johns Hopkins Healthcare, echoed that she doesn't have any duplicative contracts either. LaMarche said while it can be burdensome, it's done to keep the doors wide open. "We're excited about the Medicare bundle. We'll see how that plays out."

"The bundles are baby steps," Frick-Hall responded when Carabello posed the final question "Can we redesign payment and not just focus on more bundles?" LaMarche said, "We are, with trepidation, racing towards global cap as fast as we can."
Frick-Hall added, "We're starting slowly...and the bundles are one way we're learning how to get there."

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

Patient Lead Follow-Up: The Need for Speed
by Patrick Goodness

How long does it take you to typically respond to a patient inquiry? 24 Hours? One hour? Thirty minutes?

If your average reply time is more than five minutes, I have bad news for you. You've already lost a potential patient. The lead is cold.

According to a study conducted by Dr. James Oldroyd of MIT, you will only reach one out of 100 potential new patients by the end of 30 minutes. And then, of course, you still have to persuade that patient that you are the best provider for them.

A Culture of Instant Gratification

The Internet has made us more demanding consumers. We can easily compare prices and evaluate offers and testimonials from different healthcare providers online. Hospitals and medical and dental practitioners are increasingly providing more information online. However, what many providers fail to understand is that patient email reply-time is a critical factor.

Consumers have lost patience. We want pages to load fast. If it takes too long, we will just close the window and click on the next page. Many companies have invested heavily in improving their webpage, only to see it collect e-dust because it takes too long to load.

Responding to inquiries today must be perceived as immediate. When a potential customer sends a message, via the company's webpage, blog, social media or telephone, he or she expects an immediate answer. In fact, he or she may be sending an inquiry to the next provider (or two or three) while waiting for your answer.

In most cases, the customer will buy from the first or second practitioner that responds. They have already been engaged in a conversation with someone who will provide what they need and answer their questions in a timely fashion. By the time they hear from you they may have already made a decision. They may even take your calls and listen to your pitch...but they have already made up their minds.

The Internet has greatly reduced the attention span of the average user. In the world of medical tourism, potential patients expect almost immediate response times, even if their call or email is sent in the middle of the night for you. And while that may seem unreasonable...the patient doesn't care. If you respond first, you have dramatically increased your chances of earning their business.

Listening is the Next Hurdle

One of the most common mistakes in replying to an inquiry is to offer too much information while ignoring the questions being asked. Too many providers respond with a "canned" email response that tells the patient everything about their company. What it really tells the patient is that you aren't paying attention. If you want to earn more patients, you need to start listening and responding more accurately to your patient leads. For example, if a potential patient asks for a procedure price, your reply should address pricing (although you may need to ask a few questions to make certain you are giving an appropriate response).

Don't write a sermon on the benefits of working with you. They emailed you. They are already interested. Your website or another referral has already succeeded in getting them interested in your hospital or practice. When you respond quickly, answer patient questions precisely and establish a level or rapport through your responsiveness and professionalism, you will transform many more patient leads into actual patients.

Remember, the best marketing in the world can only make the phone ring or generate an email lead in your inbox. To transform this lead into an actual patient, you will need to respond to this patient quickly...no matter when it arrives. Response time is the first step in the international patient protocol.

To learn more about proven strategies to attract international patients, contact the medical tourism marketing strategy leaders at The Goodness Company.

The Goodness Company can help you achieve the highest levels of timely response with staff training, cultural training, bi-lingual patient coordination services, 24-hour call answering services, online chats, etc.

About The Goodness Company:

The Goodness Company provides medical tourism strategy services for:

  • National and State Governments
  • Hospitals and Medical Centers
  • Accreditation Companies
  • Public Policy Organizations
  • Doctors and Dentists
  • Self-Insured Employers
  • Insurance Companies
  • Medical Tourism Facilitators

The Goodness Company also provides specialized healthcare and medical tourism marketing services for:

  • Hospitals and Medical Centers
  • Dental Clinics
  • Cosmetic Surgery Centers
  • Orthopedic Surgery Centers
  • Bariatric Surgery Centers
  • Fertility Centers
  • Cancer Centers
  • Cardiology Centers

While most medical tourism strategy companies focus on "marketing theory," The Goodness Company goes beyond theory to practice. The Goodness Company has a proven track record of developing leading international healthcare brands that attract patients from around the globe, and continue to grow and thrive in the competitive global healthcare environment.

Meta Description: The best marketing in the world can only make the phone ring or generate an email lead in your inbox. To transform this lead into an actual patient, you will need to respond to this patient quickly...no matter when it arrives. Response time is the first step in the international patient protocol.

Industry News

Top 10 Medical Tourism Trends That Will Shape the Global Healthcare Landscape
by Patrick Goodness

The world as we know it is becoming smaller by the minute.

Remember back in the 1960's and 70's, when almost every American garage housed a Ford, Chrysler or Chevrolet? Now the American garage is filled with international brands like Toyota, Hyundai and Kia. Remember when Zenith was the brand of choice among American TV owners? Today, global brands like Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, LG and Philips are the market leaders.

It comes as no surprise that the majority of Americans purchase their healthcare services largely at home. If we need a surgery, we visit our local hospital or medical center to meet with a local specialist.

But the healthcare world as we know it is changing. Soon, these changes will bring the world of international healthcare solutions to our door, as we discover the savings, quality and ease of traveling for medical and dental care. Buckle up. Local healthcare is about to go global.
The medical tourism/medical travel industry is witnessing several transformative trends. Following are the Top 10 Medical Tourism Trends that will shape the global healthcare landscape.

1. The global medical tourism market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19.38 percent through 2019. (Source: Market Research Store) Chances are that in the next few years, you or someone you know will travel for a medical or dental procedure.

2. High healthcare costs in the U.S. are pushing patients to search for lower-cost treatments outside of our national borders. Patients may also travel for medical care to receive treatments that are not available in the U.S, such as HIFU, anti-aging treatments and alternative cancer treatments. Some patients travel for medical care for better quality care, shorter wait times and more personalized care.

3. The medical tourism market became recognized as a defined market segment in the early 2000s, yet remains in an early stage of development. The market is expected to gain momentum through 2020 as we see individuals, employers and insurers take a more competitive global market approach to procuring healthcare services, and as new market entrants like Italy, Puerto Rico, Guatemala and Nicaragua enter the field.

4. The aging baby boomer segment in the U.S. is expected to increase the number of people considering medical tourism. This generation is the largest, most affluent segment in U.S. history, and they are fueling global growth in cosmetic surgery, cosmetic dentistry, orthopedic surgery and anti-aging services.

5. Dental care is the most popular service sought by medical travelers. Procedures such as full mouth reconstructions, all-on 4, dental implants, dental crowns and veneers are among the most popular cosmetic dental treatments. Costa Rica and Mexico remain two of the leading dental tourism destinations in the world, due to their low prices and proximity to the U.S.

6. After dental care, elective cosmetic surgery is the second most popular service among medical travelers. Procedures such as facelifts, liposuction, breast augmentation, breast lifts and tummy tucks are among the top cosmetic surgery services. Mexico, India, Thailand and Costa Rica are leading destinations for medical travelers.

7. Cosmetic dermatology procedures like Botox, dermal fillers, laser skin resurfacing, and spider and varicose vein treatments are driving a new trend for aging men and women to seek more affordable dermatology care outside of U.S. borders. Popular destinations such as Mexico, Costa Rica and Puerto Rico offer low-cost skin care to this growing segment of minimally-invasive cosmetic service seekers.

8. Anti-aging services will soon command a larger percentage of medical travel expenditures as American baby boomers seek treatments that are difficult to procure or simply unavailable in the U.S. Services such as human growth hormone, bio-identical hormone replacement therapies, PRP facial rejuvenation and HCG weight loss programs are attracting increasing numbers of men and women ages 50+ to travel for these unique treatments.

9. Stem cell treatments, also known as regenerative medicine therapies, are on the verge of changing how we view the limitations of modern medicine. Today, stem cell researchers are reprogramming adult cells from the patient, into cells that can form any tissue in the body. Current stem cell treatments are in their infancy. Results of many stem cell treatments have been mixed. Clinics in Mexico, Europe, Thailand, Malaysia and India offer a range of cosmetic regenerative treatments. Patients are advised to conduct thorough research into the veracity of any claims or guarantees for results.

10. Fertility treatments are incredibly expensive in the U.S. The cost of one IVF cycle averages $24,000, with the cost of IVF with donor eggs averaging $38,000. Some couples undergo two, three or more cycles before successfully conceiving. For many couples the cost of these services is prohibitive. An increasing number of fertility-challenged or same sex couples are traveling abroad for fertility services. Lower-priced fertility service destinations include Barbados, Mexico, India, Spain and Poland. Patients are encouraged to research clinic success rates to compare with international standards.

The growth of medical tourism makes it increasingly clear that the globalization of medical care is at hand. Patients are no longer limited to local providers and high prices. Today's savvy patient can discover high quality medical and dental specialists in neighboring or far-flung nations at a fraction of the price of local care. Patients are encouraged to do their homework, seek referrals, speak with past patients and know the risks of medical travel. Traveling for medical care isn't for everyone. However, this trend promises to open new doors to affordable medical and dental care to millions of patients who would otherwise be unable to afford care at home.

Article by Patrick Goodness, CEO
The Goodness Company: Global Healthcare & Medical Tourism Marketing Specialists
Goodness is a leader in medical tourism strategy development, marketing strategy, referral development, website and social media marketing, healthcare relationship marketing, new patient acquisition strategies, accreditation consulting and more. While most medical tourism strategy companies focus on marketing theory, Goodness' work goes beyond theory to practice.

The Goodness Company, with offices in the U.S. and Latin America, has a proven track record of developing leading international healthcare brands that attract patients from around the globe, and continue to grow and thrive in the competitive global healthcare environment.

Goodness consults on healthcare and medical tourism-related strategy with governments, hospital and clinic executives, accreditation companies, public policy and legislative committees, doctors, dentists, employers, self-insured employers, insurers, medical tourism facilitators and industry think tanks.

Journalists are welcome to send queries or interview requests and healthcare, and medical tourism conference organizers are invited to send speaking invitations to info@goodnesscompany.com

Industry News

Flywire Announces New Payment Solution for Medical Tourism
Offering extends company's international payment solution to growing market for medical treatment abroad

Flywire (formerly peerTransfer), the leading provider of global payment solutions for the education industry, today announced the launch of a new cross-border payment solution for patients traveling overseas for medical care. The offering is targeted at health care institutions serving the growing market of patients seeking medical care abroad - estimated at up to $40 billion annually and growing at a rate of 15-25% per year. The announcement was made at Money20/20 taking place this week in Las Vegas.

Approximately 11 million patients seek health care outside of their home country every year according to Patients Beyond Borders, an organization specializing in medical tourism. The primary reasons range from the availability of specialized treatments, long wait times for care in their home country, desire to recover away from friends and colleagues, and the high cost of care at home.  

Flywire is focusing initially on health care facilities in the United States serving the estimated 1.2 million international patients who opt for treatment here each year. Flywire enjoys a strong position in the higher education market today, providing an easy-to-use, cost-effective and secure way for international students to pay their tuition and other expenses at educational institutions located on six continents. Healthcare institutions can now offer these same advantages to international patients seeking medical care, providing a stress-free, localized payment experience while streamlining payment collection and reconciliation efforts in the back office.

"The payment challenges faced by hospitals and their international patients are similar to those faced by educational institutions and their international students," said Mike Massaro, CEO of Flywire.  "A significant percentage of international patients pay for care abroad themselves, without the involvement of insurance companies. It's a stressful time and patients want the peace of mind knowing that the payment side of their treatment is taken care of, so they can focus on getting better. On the hospital side, the reconciliation issues for international payments can be complex and time-consuming. The more efficiently the hospital can confirm payment, the better it is for everyone involved."

Flywire's cloud-based solution enables hospitals to offer international patients a variety of familiar online and offline payment options in multiple currencies. Patients can pay in their local currency, using a simple web experience that is customized by their country of residence. Flywire's discounted currency conversion rates can also offer significant savings when compared to rates offered by banks in the patients' home countries. Funds are transferred quickly and safely, and patients can track payment status online, via email or SMS.  Patients also receive 24/7 multilingual support via phone, chat and email.

Flywire recently changed its name from peerTransfer, in anticipation of expanding its solution beyond education, and setting its sights on becoming the global standard for important, large-sum payments that cross borders.

About Flywire
Flywire, formerly peerTransfer, is a leading provider of high-ticket cross-border payment solutions, connecting institutions on six continents with consumers from around the world. Introduced four years ago as a way for international students to pay their tuition for studies abroad, Flywire is now welcomed by more than 800 colleges, universities, and other educational institutions. The company processes payments on behalf of students from 200+ countries and territories, in more than 100 local currencies. Convenient, fast and secure, Flywire's scalable cross-border platform accepts bank transfers, online banking, and credit and debit cards − providing currency conversion at exchange rates that can offer significant savings when compared to home-market banks and credit card providers. Committed to a great end-to-end customer experience, the company offers multilingual servicing via phone, email, and chat, as well as 24/7 online payment tracking.

Flywire is headquartered in Boston, MA with international operations in London, Warrington (UK), Shanghai, China, and Valencia, Spain. For more information, visit www.Flywire.com.  

Media Contact:
Tim Walsh
For Flywire/formerly peerTransfer
+1 617-512-1641

Industry News

Education and Professional Formation of Dentists in Costa Rica
by Jaime Lopez

News.co.cr-As one of the leading medical tourism destinations in the world, Costa Rica attracts thousands of health travelers each year, and many of them arrive in our country seeking dental care. Dental tourism in Costa Rica is attractive because it is more affordable in comparison to North America and Europe. In fact, other Latin American destinations may offer cheaper services, but these are places where dentistry is not as advanced or specialized as it is in Costa Rica.

Most dental tourists come to Costa Rica in search of advanced dental procedures. They rarely come just for cleanings, fillings or tooth extractions. Dental tourists usually seek procedures such as full mouth restorations, oral surgery, dental implants, crowns, bridges, veneers, and treatments related to endodontia. In other words, dental tourists come to Costa Rica in search of dental professionals with comprehensive education credentials, as well as specialized training and experience.

In Latin America, Costa Rica stands out as a nation of quality dental care, and this can be attributed to the education of dentists. The first dental school in Costa Rica dates back to 1906, and it started off with great difficulty. Of the three enrolled students, two dropped out. The embattled young dental school was able to obtain a scholarship to send its sole graduate to England for specialty training. Alas, the British school unexpectedly closed.

In 1915, a legal decree mandated the creation of a formal dental school financed by the state, which was fully realized in 1940 with the opening of the University of Costa Rica (UCR). From the start, the dental faculty at UCR sought to establish a tradition of excellence, which entailed hiring educators in several disciplines, including: English language training, microbiology, physiology, and oral surgery.

By the 1980s, dental education in Costa Rica had attained prestige thanks to academic and research agreements with other nations such as Chile, Spain, Mexico, the United Kingdom, the United States, and a few others. Millions of dollars were dedicated to funding scholarships, and a significant focus was given to specialization in orthodontics, endodontics, periodontics, and implantology.

By the 1990s, admission to dental schools at UCR and other state institutions was reserved to students with excellent academic records and exceptional abilities. Demand for quality dental education increased, which prompted the opening of private dental schools affiliated with foreign institutions in the U.S.

The extensive professional formation of dentists in Costa Rica is evident at the New Smile Dental Center in San Jose, a clinic dedicated to dental tourism. The specialists at New Smile have studied and practiced in Costa Rica and abroad, and their continuing education record is impressive. A couple of them have academic experience teaching dentistry, and others have been invited as lecturers at international dental symposiums.

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

U.S. Outspends Other Nations on Healthcare, Has Worse Outcomes

Source: California Healthline / iHealthBeat, October 9, 2015 - Compared with 12 other developed nations, the U.S. spends the most on healthcare but has worse health outcomes, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report reports (Mozes, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 10/8).

Report Details

For the report, the Commonwealth Fund used 2013 data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to compare 13 high-income countries. The data compared healthcare spending, prices, supply and utilization, as well as health outcomes, among:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • U.S.

The report used data that predates the Affordable Care Act (Commonwealth Fund report, 10/9).

Report Findings

According to the report, the U.S. spent the most on healthcare, at $9,086 per person, while Switzerland spent the second-most, at $6,325 per person. The U.S. also spent the greatest share of its gross domestic product on healthcare, at 17.1 percent, while France spent the second-most, at 11.6 percent.

The U.S. had the lowest life expectancy, at 78.8 years, and the highest percentage of people 65 or older with two or more chronic conditions, at 68 percent (Sullivan, The Hill, 10/8).

Further, the U.S. fared poorly on infant mortality and obesity. U.S. adults used diagnostic services far more frequently than residents of any other country and were the second-largest consumers of prescription drugs.


Commonwealth Fund president David Blumenthal said in a statement, "Time and again, we see evidence that the amount of money we spend on healthcare in this country is not gaining us comparable health benefits. We have to look at the root causes of this disconnect and invest our healthcare dollars in ways that will allow us to live longer while enjoying better health and greater productivity" (HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 10/8).

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

Medical Tourism Ripe for Growth
Added by Marlon Madden

Barbadostoday.bb-Aspects of the medical tourism industry in Barbados are ripe for expansion, says Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

Noting that the Ministries of Health and Tourism were advocates of medical tourism, Stuart said the government considered the industry to be lucrative with several advantages for the international business sector.

The Prime Minister made the comments today at the opening of the International Business Week 2015 conference.
He said a 2012 study, "An Overview of Barbados' Medical Tourism Industry," had identified a number of successful medical tourism facilities in Barbados, including the Barbados Fertility Center.

"Another related area ripe for investment is that of biotechnology, a rapidly emerging global industry," said Stuart, while highlighting Lenstec Inc, a successful locally based global manufacturer of intraocular lenses for cataract and refractive surgery.
"In 1995, this U.S.-owned company opened its first manufacturing facility here. Now a 30,000 sq. ft. plant, the company employs approximately 200 persons, several of whom were trained right here at the University of the West Indies, graduating with degrees in science and other disciplines. Lenstec is now one of our leading exporters, with Japan and China as primary markets," said Stuart.

He said another niche that was suitable for expansion was medical schools, hailing the American University of Barbados as a success stories.

"It is an institution that is changing the thinking of future healthcare providers, all from Barbados," he said. "Let us accept and embrace the linkage of international business and tourism; international business and health; international business and education; international business and the cultural industries, and the list goes on for the areas in which we have a competitive advantage. The forward and backward linkages are inextricable," Stuart told the room of international business officials.

The theme of the two-day conference, at which participants will discuss a range of matters, including health-related issues, is The Changing Dynamics: Driving Innovation, Prosperity and Health.

Sector officials are also expected to share ideas while networking and discussing new opportunities.

Giving policymakers, facilitators, practitioners and all stakeholders credit for the success of the international business and financial services sector, Stuart told the conference participants that while they have been doing "a relatively commendable job so far," they should keep striving for excellence.

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

Turkish Airlines Offers Discounts to Medical Tourists

TradeArabia.com-Turkish Airlines, the national carrier of Turkey, is taking an active role in global health tourism by offering a 50 percent transportation rebate for foreign travelers coming to Turkey for their treatment.

The airline will provide support to Turkey's public and private sector organizations that provide important components in the health tourism sector, which has shown significant growth and will become a significant contributor to the nation's gross domestic product (GDP).

With one of the most comprehensive route networks, Turkish Airlines has the ability to bring passengers from numerous points around the world to Turkey for medical and health reasons in order to support the promotion of health tourism in Turkey.

Under the program, guests who choose Turkey for health tourism purposes will have the opportunity to benefit from not only the internationally accredited medical facilities and staff, but also a discounted fare following submission of required documents to the local Turkish Airlines Office in their city of origin.

To view the original article click here.

Industry News

IMTJ Academic Conference: ‘Medical tourism: Time for a check-up?'

25-26 May 2016
Madrid, Spain

Call for papers

Much research on ‘medical tourism,' ‘international medical travel,' ‘cross-border healthcare' and ‘transnational patient mobility' to date has focused on the hopes, motivations and experiences of mobile patients as well as on the desires, plans and expectations of the national destinations that attract and host them. By contrast, scant scholarly work has examined the concrete effects of this growing phenomenon on the diverse range of places, peoples, health and social systems, and industries in the areas where these patients habitually reside and, for medical travel destinations, in the particular local areas where these patients' (physical, symbolic and economic) presence can most be felt.

As a result, while more and more governmental and private-sector bodies in destinations are investing in the development of medical tourism, scant evidence is available to support, refute or complicate:

  • Popularized notions about who is actually traveling for what kinds of medical attention and treatment
  • Claims that medical tourism can serve as an engine for economic development in destinations or hinder/harm mobile patients' home and host health systems
  • Arguments about who benefits and who does not from medical tourism and transnational patient mobility strategies that are shifting and evolving in line with emerging and changing market, social and political situations both within and beyond national borders.

This two-day conference therefore aims to bring together scholars from academic and research institutions from around the globe in order to critically examine and discuss existing and emerging national, sub-national, transnational and cross-sectoral strategies for the following:

  • Promoting and dissuading ‘medical tourism' and ‘transnational patient mobility' in and between source and destination sites, in order to draw attention to the diversity of stakeholders, interests and scales involved;
  • Evaluating and managing the range of real and expected impacts of (diverse stakeholders' investments in) ‘medical tourism' and ‘transnational patient mobility' in and between source and destination sites, in order to move beyond an unproductive circulation of often poorly grounded claims and counter-claims; and
  • Identifying and assessing the real-life needs, desires, expectations and practices of a broader range of foreign healthcare-users and -consumers, in order to recognize not only the great diversity of mobile patients (e.g., geographical origins, socio-economic and political status, etc.) but also other resident ‘foreigners' (e.g., expatriates, lifestyle migrants, foreign students, etc.) who make use of ‘medical tourism' resources.

We invite scholars to submit papers that critically engage with the above-mentioned issues. Papers focused on multi-scalar and cross-sectoral governance of ‘medical tourism' and ‘transnational patient mobility' initiatives, partnerships and networks, as well as those examining how ‘medical tourism' and ‘transnational patient mobility' fit within broader development objectives (e.g., transition towards the creative economy, biotech development, regional and city place-branding, etc.) are especially welcome.

The Academic Conference (25-26 May 2016) will overlap with the International Medical Travel Journal's (IMTJ) Medical Travel Summit (24-25 May 2016), which brings together governmental and industry representatives from around the world who are involved in the development of medical tourism. This will provide a unique opportunity for conference participants to attend parts of the IMTJ Summit and actively foster and engage in much-needed cross-sectoral knowledge exchange and dialogue.

To submit a paper proposal, please send an email with a 250-word abstract and a 100-word bio via http://summit.imtj.com/academic-application/ before Dec. 11 2015. Scholars and researchers in any stage of their career (e.g., PhD students, etc.) are encouraged to share their studies. Successful applicants will be contacted by Jan. 8, 2016, and will be expected to register for the conference by Feb. 12, 2016, to secure their place in the May 2016 conference program. For further information about the call for papers, please contact a member of the Academic Advisory Board:

Conference Logistics

Conference registration and fees

Information about conference registration can be found at http://summit.imtj.com/delegates. Academic rates are only available to attendees who are affiliated with an academic or research institution.

1-day access to the Academic Conference

EUR 200

2-day access to the Academic Conference

EUR 275

2-day access to the Academic Conference + 2-day access to the IMTJ Summit

EUR 400

Conference location

The Academic Conference and the IMTJ Summit will be held at Hotel Meliá Avenida América in Madrid, Spain. Information about the venue can be found at http://summit.imtj.com/venue/

Additional information

For further queries about conference logistics, please refer to http://summit.imtj.com/academic-overview/ or contact the Event Director, Sarah Ward, sarahward@imtj.com.


Industry News

International Wellness & Spa Tourism Monitor 2014-2015
by Puczkó László

The 3rd International Wellness and Spa Tourism Monitor (2014/2015) has been released and Medical Travel Today is pleased to share a copy with our readers.

This global benchmark articulates the role of international and domestic wellness and spa in terms of service, average spend, popular products and facilities, and growth areas.

To view the report click here.


Industry News

How the Global Healthcare Economy Will Impact U.S. Providers: Five Key Trends
by Laura Dyrda
Becker's Spine Review is the original producer of this content.

Beckersspine.com-The healthcare economy is turning into a global economy and providers in the United States are already competing with facilities in countries like India and Thailand for patients.

To view the original article 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

9th Annual 2015 Global Spa & Wellness Summit

November 13-15, 2015 - Mexico City, Mexico
To learn more or to register click here.

6th International TEMOS Conference

November 15-17, 2015 - Mövenpick Hotel Berlin, Berlin, Germany
To learn more or to register click here.

6th HTI Health Tourism Industry Conference

March 03-04, 2016 - Vienna, Austria
To learn more or to register click here.

Medical Fair India

March 11-13, 2016 - Bombay Convention & Exhibition Center, Mumbai, India
To learn more or to register click here.

ELAJ - International Health & Medical Treatment Expo

March 13-15, 2016 - Oman International Exhibition Center, Muscat, Oman
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.

4th Global Health and Medical Tourism Congress

April 14-20, 2016 - TBA
To learn more or to register click here.

IMTJ Medical Travel Summit

May 24-25, 2016 - Madrid, Spain
To learn more or to register click here.

IMTJ Academic Conference on Medical Travel and Cross Border Healthcare

May 25-26, 2016 - Madrid, Spain
To learn more or to register click here.

EHMA Annual Conference 2016

June 14-16, 2016 - Istanbul, Turkey
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

'Sky is the Limit' for Health Providers Who Use Social Media

Fiercehealthfinance.com-Social media can be a minefield, but platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter can also provide physicians and other healthcare professionals with an array of previously unheard-of advantages and the ability to confer with other professionals--no matter where they are in the world, according to an article at HealthCareDive.

India Emerging as Major Destination for Quality Healthcare

Timesofindia.indiatimes.com- Government is focusing on several areas including quality standards and easy visa processes to make India a global destination for healthcare services, commerce secretary Rita Teaotia on Monday said.

Exclusive - Transatlantic Divide: How U.S. Pays Three Times More for Drugs

Reuters.com-U.S. prices for the world's 20 top-selling medicines are, on average, three times higher than in Britain, according to an analysis carried out for Reuters.

U.S. Healthcare System May Be On Track For A Crash

Fiercehealthfinance.com- Is the U.S. healthcare system on a course destined to suffer a "fatal accident"?


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.