Volume 3, Issue 6: Industry News

MEDICAL TRAVEL COMPANIONS: THE UNSUNG CAREGIVERS

By: Laura Carabello

Wphealthcarenews.com – Among those who travel across the country or around the world to seek affordable, quality healthcare, 83 percent travel with a companion. Whether undergoing treatments or recovery, the physical and moral support that these caregiver/companions bring to medical travel patients is critical.

In fact, research consistently shows that companion participation in care is associated with positive patient and physician experiences. Informal healthcare providers include friends, family, and some volunteers who provide essential unpaid care without formal training.

At home, caregivers administer medications, manage wounds and assist with rehabilitation. In hospital settings, they perform tasks that augment care provided by nurses and physicians, such as monitoring symptoms and articulating patients’ preferences to healthcare professionals.

The support of a companion/caregiver is important in any healthcare setting, but it is especially critical in the context of medical travel where patients may face additional challenges, such as travel, an unfamiliar physical environment, a different culture and potential language barriers.

They also help to retain and transfer the patient’s medical information at a medical facility, advocate on behalf of the patient to ensure all their needs are being met, and provide a safe and positive medical travel experience.

Many of the medical travel caregiver roles are similar to those of conventional caregivers — making decisions on behalf of the patient, liaising with formal providers, coordinating appointment scheduling, offering hands-on care, providing emotional and spiritual support, and taking responsibility for managing care-related finances.

In medical travel, family members, especially spouses, are the most common caregiver, and perform their caregiving roles as knowledge broker, companion and advocate almost continuously while traveling domestically or abroad for care.

Knowledge Brokers and Companions

Medical travel caregivers play the important role of conveying travel and medical/health information between the facility staff and patient. For instance, they may ask questions about travel logistics or prescriptions or care options, and make sure the patient understands the information. In some cases, the caregiver may be more familiar with the local language and will serve as an interpreter or translator for the patient. Frequently, they are aware of the patient’s allergies, carry a list of the patient’s medications, ask questions and take notes during discussions with healthcare providers.

Ideally, companions put the patient’s needs ahead of their own and assist and support the patient during the pre-op, treatment and post-op process. At times, this may mean making sure the patient gets to different tests or appointments, watching over the patient after surgery or simply offering emotional support. Caregivers also learn about the patient’s condition, the procedure or treatment, and details surrounding the patient’s convalescence and recovery.

At the same time, companion/caregivers should look for opportunities to spend some time to enjoy the local culture and attractions, if possible, as long as it doesn’t compromise their primary job of supporting the patient’s well-being.

Keep in mind that serving as a medical traveler companion/caregiver is not for everyone. A competent caregiver can improve the patient’s health, but one who is less prepared or more focused on sightseeing than assisting the patient, can undermine the care provided. That’s why it’s important for healthcare providers to educate patients and companions about the role of companion/caregiver during a medical trip.

Unseen Pillars of the Care Community

Companion/caregivers ensure the patient’s health and well-being and shoulder a large part of the responsibilities that might otherwise fall to the patient. In this way, caregivers serve to complement the care provided at the hospital facility and buffer medical tourists from the common stresses associated with travel and being in a new environment.

Given the integral roles that caregivers serve, clearly the medical travel industry is highly dependent on this unpaid service. Just as many of the nation’s caregivers are overlooked, so too are the “shadow workers” in medical travel unpaid, untrained, and largely unrecognized for the substantial benefits they provide.

For the original article click, here.

UNSUNG HEROES: CAREGIVERS PLAY VITAL ROLE FOR MEDICAL TRAVELERS

By: Laura Carabello

HealthNewsDigest.com – Medical tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry that is expected to grow up to 25 percent every year for the next ten years. As more companies and consumers recognize the socio-economic advantages of combining the benefits of traveling for treatment – low cost, high quality, less waiting and more options – with the enjoyment of travel, demand will grow exponentially. This is true whether the destination is in the U.S. or around the world.

Two for the Road

Among those who travel for affordable, quality healthcare, either domestically or abroad, 83 percent do so with a companion. Whether undergoing treatments or recovery, the physical and moral support that these caregiver/companions bring to medical travel patients is crucial for a full recovery.

In fact, research demonstrates that companion participation in care is associated with positive patient and physician experiences. Informal healthcare providers include friends, family, and some volunteers who provide essential unpaid care without formal training.

At home, caregivers administer medications, manage wounds and assist with rehabilitation. In hospital settings, they perform tasks that augment care provided by nurses and physicians, such as monitoring symptoms and articulating patients’ preferences to healthcare professionals.

No matter what the setting or location, a companion/caregiver is particularly critical with medical travel because patients may face challenges related to travel, being in an unfamiliar physical environment, and grappling with a different culture and potential language barriers. You maybe wanting to find a car transport company to ensure you get there in a reliable fashion.

Companions play a key role in retaining and transferring the patient’s medical information at a medical facility. They also serve as advocates on behalf of the patient to ensure all their needs are being met and provide a safe and positive medical travel experience.

Many of the medical travel caregiver roles are similar to those of conventional caregivers. They make decisions on behalf of the patient, liaise with formal providers, coordinate appointment scheduling, offer hands-on care, provide emotional and spiritual support, and take responsibility for managing care-related finances.

When it comes to medical travel, family members, especially spouses, are the most common caregivers. They perform their caregiving roles as knowledge brokers, companions and advocates on a continuous basis during the entire trip, as well as back home.

Being the Best Companion/Caregiver

Medical travel caregivers play the essential task of delivering travel and medical/health information between the facility staff and patient. For example, they may ask questions about travel logistics or prescriptions or care options, and ensure the patient understands the information. In some cases, the companion/caregiver may be more familiar with the local language and will serve as an interpreter or translator for the patient. Frequently, they are aware of the patient’s allergies, carry a list of the patient’s medications, ask questions and take notes during discussions with healthcare providers.

The best, most effective, companion/caregivers put the patient’s needs ahead of their own and assist and support the patient during the pre-op, treatment and post-op process. At times, this means ensuring the patient gets to different tests or appointments, watching over the patient after surgery or simply offering emotional support. Caregivers also learn about the patient’s condition, the procedure or treatment, and details surrounding the patient’s convalescence and recovery.

During this time, companion/caregivers should look for opportunities to spend some time to enjoy the local culture and attractions, if possible, as long as it doesn’t compromise their primary job of supporting the patient’s well-being.

It’s important, however, to understand that being a medical traveler companion/caregiver can be a challenging job. A competent caregiver can improve the patient’s health, but one who is less prepared or more focused on sightseeing than assisting the patient, can undermine the care provided. That’s why healthcare providers should do what they can to educate patients and companions about the role of companion/caregiver during a medical trip.

Ensuring Health and Well-Being Around the Globe

Companion/caregivers make sure the patient’s health and well-being is a priority and take on the responsibilities that might otherwise fall to the patient. In this way, caregivers serve to complement the care provided at the hospital facility and buffer medical tourists from the common stresses associated with travel and being in a new environment.

Clearly the medical travel industry is highly dependent on this unpaid service. Just as many of the nation’s caregivers are overlooked, so too are these unsung heroes going unpaid, untrained, and largely unrecognized for the substantial benefits they provide.

For the original article click, here.

PREES RELEASE: UNITEDHEALTHCARE LAUNCHES EXPANSION OF DIRECT-TO-CONSUMER PHARMACY DISCOUNTS TO MILLIONS OF AMERICANS

  • Approach will lower out-of-pocket costs for eligible plan participants when filling a prescription
  • Program to help make prescriptions more affordable at the point of sale and improve the health care experience

MINNETONKA, Minn. March 6,2018 – UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, will expand pharmacy discounts to millions of its plan participants when they fill prescriptions through retail pharmacies or home delivery. The new program will apply to over 7 million people enrolled in UnitedHealthcare fully insured commercial group benefit plans, lowering out-of-pocket costs by directly providing consumers with savings from pharmacy manufacturer rebates at the time of purchase.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, and on plan renewal thereafter, people enrolled in fully insured group health benefit plans will have discounts applied to their medication cost at the point of sale. The savings will apply to plan participants who are filling a prescription for a drug where the manufacturer provides a rebate. UnitedHealthcare will apply savings from rebates upfront, at the time of sale, to ensure people are paying the lowest amount possible under their plan. Rebates are currently used to keep premiums lower for the benefit of all members and customers, rather than distributed to individual consumers.

Before going to the pharmacy or placing an order for home delivery, plan participants can log in to myuhc.com or use the UHC mobile app to see the discounted cost of their drug, which will include the savings from the rebate.

The move is part of UnitedHealth Group’s broader effort to simplify pharmacy benefits, deliver savings directly to its customers and improve their health care experience. Expanding access to discounts builds on a history of introducing innovative approaches, products and services that are designed to improve personal health and enable consumers to directly benefit from the full value of their pharmacy benefits.

“UnitedHealthcare is uniquely positioned to deliver new value and clarity to health care, and pharmacy benefits in particular,” said Dan Schumacher, president and chief operating officer, UnitedHealthcare. “Our differentiated pharmacy model, powered by OptumRx, is delivering solutions that lead to better health outcomes and make prescription drugs more affordable.”

Providing direct savings from rebates is the latest step in UnitedHealthcare and OptumRx’s combined efforts to deliver better costs and a better experience. For example, the recently launched PreCheck MyScript tool enables doctors to see how much their patients would have to pay for a medication if they went to their preferred pharmacy at that very moment to pick it up.

The system enables doctors to provide their patients with lower-cost alternatives for higher-cost medications in order to save patients money.

“People use their pharmacy benefit more frequently than any other type of benefit, which means pharmacy provides the greatest opportunity for us to understand and meet their needs,” said Schumacher. “We believe our efforts to enhance value for our customers will not only benefit our members, but the health care system as a whole.”

In addition to expanding discounts to all fully insured group plan participants, UnitedHealthcare currently supports self-insured customers who choose to implement similar expanded discounts for their employees. OptumRx’s stand-alone point of sale solution is also currently available to clients who do not receive their pharmacy benefits through UnitedHealthcare.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.

About OptumRx

OptumRx is a pharmacy care services company helping clients and more than 65 million members achieve better health outcomes and lower overall costs through innovative prescription drug benefit services, including network claims processing, clinical programs, formulary management and specialty pharmacy care. Through expertise, flexible technology and a network of over 67,000 community pharmacies and state-of-the-art home delivery pharmacies, OptumRx is putting patients at the center of the pharmacy experience and making health care more connected and less fragmented — ensuring patients get the right medication at the right time at the best cost. OptumRx is part of Optum®, a leading information and technology-enabled health services business dedicated to making the health system work better for everyone. For more information, visit optum.com/optumrx.

PRESS RELEASE: FLIGHTMEDX TO EXPAND DOMESTIC MEDICAL FLIGHTS IN THE US IN A BID TO ENHANCE SAFE AND RELIABLE MEDICAL RELOCATION

Carlsbad, CA — (SBWIRE) — FlightMedx has announced that it will expand domestic medical flights in the US. The company hopes that this move will be critical in promoting access to its high-quality and safe medical relocation service across all cities in the country.

FlightMedx is a leading medical flight company. For the last few years, FlightMedx has enhanced patients mobility from one hospital to another by offering chartered air ambulance services across the US and internationally. However, demand for such services has been on the rise and FlightMedx feels that an expansion is the ideal way to meet patients’ needs at the moment.

Medical flights are seen in the medical world as life-saving transport solutions for patients in critical care. Air travel is faster and more reliable and it can often be the difference between life and death. FlightMedx has strived to provide such flights, and so far, the company has saved many lives. FlightMedx says that it’s this noble cause that has always inspired its operations. Besides, bringing smiles and hope to families with sick loved ones is the number one reason why air ambulance companies in California offer these services in the first place.

FlightMedx feels that expanding its medical flight services across the country would go a long way in touching the hearts of many more Americans. The medical flight service provider says that it will expand its fleet of available medical planes and will hire additional personnel in order to serve its customers better. Ultimately, FlightMedx wants to cement its place as one of the leading medicinal flight companies in the US. So far, things are looking good. For more details, you should get in touch with FlightMedx.

About FlightMedx
FlightMedx is an air ambulance company that provides safe air ambulance services in the US. The company has been involved in the medical relocation of patients in critical conditions for quite some time now. Its service is designed to provide a safe, fast, and reliable transport option for patients in urgent need of medical attention.

Based in California, the FlightMedx team comprises of a highly skilled flight crew, an experienced medical team, and an administrative support staff that delivers a seamless medical relocation experience for all company’s clients.

For more information, feel free to visit the company on its official website: flightmedx.com.

Marijuana Clinic Opens in Islamorada

By: Kevin Wadlow

KeyNews.com – When Florida called for wider use of medical marijuana in a November 2016 referendum landslide, Florida Keys voters stood in the advocacy vanguard.

More than 80 percent of the Monroe County voters — 33,798 people — cast ballots favoring Amendment 2 to the Florida Constitution. Statewide, the medical-marijuana amendment passed with 71 percent of the vote.

Sixteen months later, effects of that vote are becoming more visible in the Keys.

The Iona Cannabis Clinic, a branch of a Fort Myers facility, recently opened in an Islamorada plaza at mile marker 81 to schedule advance appointments with Dr. Gregory Sonn, a physician with state authority to enter patients into the medical-marijuana registry so they can obtain the drug.

“This is not a dispensary,” Tracy Timura, the clinic’s local director, said. “We are not selling marijuana. Dispensaries and medical facilities are completely separate.” In fact, the marijuana dispensary business is such a quickly growing industry that there are companies that specialise in cannabis seo which will help dispensaries to grow their business through an increased audience to help them become the biggest in their area.

Keys residents with approval to purchase medical marijuana now can travel to a mainland dispensary, or have it delivered directly by courier. If you are interested in learning more about medical marijuana dispensaries then you could check out how a state like Florida does it by looking at these florida medical marijuana dispensaries.

Physicians who attend medical-marijuana educational courses are certified by the Florida Department of Health to register patients with specific diseases or conditions for marijuana use. Those conditions include cancer, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, post-traumatic stress disorder and more.

The current list of 1,269 certified physicians posted by the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use shows five Key West doctors and three Key Largo doctors have been certified to write marijuana recommendations for patients. Other local physicians may be listed separately under their medical specialties with no address posted.

In Monroe County and most Keys municipalities, elected officials imposed temporary moratoriums on opening medical-marijuana dispensaries following the 2016 vote, citing the need to establish regulations and proper zoning for dispensaries.

Monroe County’s dispensary moratorium adopted in February 2017 remains in effect until October, unless the county commission “extends it or cuts it short,” County Attorney Bob Shillinger said in an email.

The Marathon City Council last October approved, on a 4-1 vote, an ordinance that would allow a medical-marijuana dispensary to apply for a commercial permit in mixed-use zoning, with rules specifying that it must be at least 500 feet from any school. Information on whether any applications have been submitted was not available at press time.

Islamorada Village Manager Seth Lawless said that municipality’s moratorium on dispensaries remains in effect.

The Iona Cannabis Clinic holds its grand-opening event on April 20, a “420” date recognized by many supporters of loosening marijuana rules.

“Dr. Sonn has been treating chronically ill patients for more than 20 years,” Timura said, “and has always been a proponent of treatment through natural medicine and lifestyle modification.

“He believes in being able to give the best available therapy,” she said, “especially if it allows patients to have the quality of life they would like while avoiding the major side effects that some pharmaceuticals can cause.”

Under Florida law, medical marijuana cannot be produced in a form that can be inhaled or smoked.

“These products look like medicine,” Timura said. “There’s no confusing it with the stuff people can buy in Colorado.”

For more information on Florida’s medical-marijuana laws, visit flhealth.gov/ommu.

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

Texas Association of Benefit Administrators Announces 2018 Spring Conference

MyHealthGuide Source: Texas Association of Benefit Administrators (TABA), 3/7/2018, www.tabatpa.org

Texas Association of Benefit Administrators (TABA) announces its 2018 Spring Conference scheduled April 17-18, 2018 at the Intercontinental Hotel Dallas in Addison, TX. TABA’s Account Managers Seminar at the Intercontinental Hotel Dallas in Addison, TX. Training, regulatory updates and networking for Account Managers.

Click here for more information and registration.

Urgent Care Insurance Claims Rise Sharply, Faster than ED

By: Gregory A. Freeman

HealthLeadersMedia.com – The average median billed charge for professional evaluation and management services (E&Ms) provided in a hospital setting increased 28% in five years, from an index value of 1.00 in May 2012 to 1.28 in May 2016, according to the FH Medical Price Index, the report says. “The index also shows that five-year growth for allowed amounts for professional E&Ms in a hospital setting—reflecting the maximum amount an insurer will pay for a service—was slightly lower: 26%, from 1.00 in May 2012 to 1.26 in May 2017.

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

It’s not Yosemite, it’s the surgery: the rise of medical tourism in Fresno

By: Bonhia Lee

Fresnobee.com – Fresno County has long been a destination for tourists who come for sporting events, to get a closer look at how food is grown or who stop here on the way to Yosemite and other nearby national parks.

But now tourists are coming here because they developed surgical complications while trying to lose weight.

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

New Jersey Providers Form Health Insurance Consortium

By: Alex Kacik

ModernHealthcare.com – A group of New Jersey-based health systems couldn’t make a significant dent in the rising cost curve to provide health insurance for its employees using accountable care organizations and other value-based initiatives. So it took matters into its own hands.

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

San Diego’s Big Hospitals Plan a Plush into Medical Tourism

By: Lori Weisberg

LATimes.com – Planning a visit to San Diego? Hit the beaches. Check. Spend a day at the zoo or a theme park. Check. Sample craft beer. Check. Book a stay at a local hospital for cutting-edge cardiac or cancer treatment?

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

Charter to FCC: We love your telehealth proposal, but just don’t regulate us on it

By: Daniel Frankel

FierceCable.com – Charter Communications filed comments to the FCC today to let the agency know that the cable company is a big fan—huge fan—of its proposal to promote telehealth services in rural communities.

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

Mosquitoes Spreading Zika Virus in Parts of U.S.: CDC

By: Robert Preidt

HealthDay.com – Zika infections are on the rise in parts of the United States where mosquitoes spread the virus, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reported 5,168 cases of Zika-related illness in 2016.

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

The Key Drivers Behind U.S. Healthcare Spending May Surprise You

By: Ron Shinkman, Ilene MacDonald

FierceHealthcare.com – The United States remains the leader in the free world—of per capita healthcare spending. But a new study that looks at the main drivers of healthcare costs finds that common explanations for healthcare spending may be wrong.

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

U.S. Deaths from Infectious Diseases Decline, But Not Everywhere

By: Steven Reinberg

HealthDayNews.com – Though fewer Americans are now dying from infectious diseases, great disparities persist across the country, a new study finds.

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

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