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© 2011 Medical Travel Today
Medical Travel Today is a publication of CPR Strategic Marketing Communications, a public relations firm based near New York City that specializes in healthcare and life sciences, with an international clientele. CPR, its Partners, and clients are at the nexus of where medical travel is today, and where it will be tomorrow.

Publisher, Laura Carabello

Table of Contents

From the Editor

From the Editor: This week in Medical Travel Today, Amanda Haar

News in Review

Superbug Scare Aimed to Hit Medical Tourism in India

Discount dental tourism: a great deal or a dangerous risk?

Medical Tourism in Korea Has Huge Room to Grow

Health Reform Uncertainty: A Barrier to Med Travel Growth?


Rajesh Rao, IndUShealth
Part Two

Professor Felice Eugenio Agro, Part Two
Industry News

Johns Hopkins Medicine to Offer PepsiCo Employees New Travel Surgery Benefit

U.S. Insurance Firm Offers Coverage for Service at Four Taiwan Hospitals

Cigna Appoints Phil Austin to Lead Individual Cinga Global Health Options

Medical Travel Guide App Aims to Bolster Tourism

South Korea Signs Accord with Abu Dhabi Health Authority on Hospital Service Agreement

The Clinic Finder Goes Global

Upcoming Events

The 3rd Annual International Medical Travel Conference

2012 Global Healthcare and Medical Tourism Conference: ‘Global Connected Care & 3rd MediTour Expo’ Slated for May 6-8, 2012

EMTC 2012 Slated for April 25-27, 2012

Hotels Bridging Healthcare Conference Announced


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Global Health Voyager

Volume 5, Issue 25

by Amanda Haar, Editor


As the year winds down, it's natural to assume that business will, too. But nothing could be further from the truth in medical travel.

Just last week, Pepsi Co. - the world's second largest food and beverage company - announced a new partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine that extends medical travel benefits to nearly 250,000 people domestically.

There's no doubt that other businesses and benefit managers will take note and visit, or revisit as the case may be, the money-saving potential of medical travel.

And this is just one of the recently encouraging tales from the industry.

It's clear that right up to the cusp of 2012, new partnerships will be formed, new benefit programs implemented, and never-before considered models for how to conduct business will take shape across many sectors of the industry.

We look forward to reporting on all of them soon.

As always, we welcome your comments, story ideas, and press releases.


Amanda Haar, Editor


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

You can also follow Medical Travel Today on Twitter. For more information log ontowww.medicaltraveltoday.com


Rajesh Rao, IndUShealth, Part Two

Editor's Note: Based in Raleigh, NC, IndUShealth recently released a patient experience study. Using data gathered over the past five years, the study highlights key aspects of the care experience and the motivations of American retail and corporate
patients that the company has coordinated care for at a network of hospitals in India.

Company founder and CEO Rajesh Rao spoke to us about the study, as well as how the nature of IndUShealth's business has evolved over the past five years.

Part One of this conversation can be viewed here

MTT: Given that 95 percent of the patients you work with need first-time passports, you're clearing a lot of hurdles to get someone to commit to, first, surgery, and then surgery on the other side of the world. What are the key motivators for these individuals?

RR: From what we've observed, the principal motivator is that people go because of dire circumstance. They're physically impaired by their condition, and they don't have the money at hand to pay the deductible. As you might expect, people just put off getting care. Their condition worsens and the cost of care keeps going up.

Now when a company does their research and offers coverage that includes the ability to travel without deductible, provides first-dollar care, and offers the chance to travel with a companion, well, then the chance to get care outweighs any apprehension about travel.

Now that's just the people we ultimately end up talking or working with. I'm not sure how the conversation goes with those we don't see. But clearly, we see more people saying they're nervous but willing to give it a try. In fact, utilization is higher than we initially predicted. The way it usually works is a company makes the offering and we see a few people step up and take it. The first patients then come back with a superior medical outcome than they could have received at home and talk about their positive experience. That gives other employees comfort to see that medical travel offers the quality of care they want and, of course, the savings.

MTT: I'm curious, do you have any sense of how your American patient data compares to non-American patients traveling to same facilities for care?

RR: I haven't had the need or opportunity to look at any data related to patients from other countries so I don't know the answer to that, though I suspect it may be similar. It would also be interesting to see similar statistical data from other providers to determine the extent of the value-add provided by our carefully crafted vetting and risk management process.

MTT: What's your process for providing feedback to hospitals?

RR: We most definitely circle back with them on each experience and discuss any problem areas.

What's interesting is how the nature of the problems has changed over the years. Early on, problems tended to be around more circumstances where a facility may have had a third shift nurse that didn't quite respond in the same way as other nurses had. That's changed. There's an expected level of consistency across all fronts that is apparent. Other issues arise as the nature of procedures change. For example, the nature of the need of a bariatric patient is quite different than, say, a patient getting a hip replaced. As unique issues emerge, we make sure to respond so that all patient experiences are as positive as possible. All of the hospitals are very interested in working with us to ensure that.

What's also interesting is that patient expectations have changed along with our patient demographics. Retail patients tend to do their homework and know what to expect. Especially the early adopters...they understand they can get good outcomes, but also that there are some obstacles to navigate. Plus, they seem to have a different expectation of travel abroad. They know that it isn't always clockwork.

Now, patients from the corporate side have more of a 'we don't know any better just make it work approach.' They're far less tolerant of small issues because they are not equipped to be more tolerant for the most part they're not experienced world travelers.
This typically emerges in the outside-the-hospital experiences. For example, if a couple is to take a sightseeing tour and their guide is running late, they're not very tolerant. It's not the idealized American Disney experience. They seem to focus more on what the experience is not, rather than what it truly is.

But the good news is that their excellent medical treatment and outcomes tend to be the memorable highlight of their experience, and they come back to their workplace as powerful advocates and brand ambassadors.

About Rajesh Rao

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Professor Felice Eugenio Agro, Chief of Health Strategy & Business Development, The University Hospital Campus Bio – Medico of Rome

Professor Felice Eugenio Agro, Part Two

Professor Felice Eugenio Agro is the Chief of Health Strategy & Business Development at The University Hospital Campus Bio – Medico of Rome. Agro is committed to growing the hospital's international patient base. He was kind enough to share his vision and thoughts on how that might be accomplished.

Part One of this conversation can be viewed here

Medical Travel Today (MTT): What are the challenges to growing your medical travel business?

FA: The main challenge is anticipating what new, high quality services people will be interested in and foreseeing new patterns of access. In this business you also have to continually improve and strengthen your international network of hospitals, universities, medical tourism providers and so on. Establishing and maintaining an efficient flow of information between the various players is also critical and time-consuming.

MTT: What organizations do you belong to and what events do you attend related to medical travel?

FA: I belong to several organizations covering my various fields of interest (anaesthesia and analgesia, intensive care medicine, pain management, airway management, emergency, medical directorate, healthcare management, etc.). In addition, I am a member of the Italian Medical Council S.I.A.A.R.T.I. (Anaesthesia Analgesia Resuscitation Intensive Care Italian Society), E.S.A. (European Society of Anaesthesiology), S.A.M. ( Society of Airway Management), A.S.A. (American Society of Anaesthesiology).

While it's always a pleasure to attend international meetings, unfortunately, as chief of HS&BDD of the University Hospital Campus Bio-Medico, it's quite difficult to attend to each meeting due to the amount of commitments.


About Professor Felice Eugenio Agro
Professor Agro is Chairman of Postgraduate School of Anesthesia and Intensive Care and Chief of the Health Strategy and Business Development Department at the University School of Medicine Campus Bio-Medico of Rome. Professor Agro has traveled abroad to visit numerous institutions actively engaged in medical travel and is working to apply the best practices to his organization.  He is eager to explore cooperative and beneficial relationships with others engaged in providing quality medical travel experiences to consumers. He can be reached through his Assistant Dr. Alessia Pellegrino at a.pellegrino@unicampus.it

Industry News

Johns Hopkins Medicine to Offer PepsiCo Employees New Travel Surgery Benefit

Program gives PepsiCo employees access to top surgeons specializing in cardiac and joint replacement operations

Johns Hopkins announced today that PepsiCo, the world's second-largest food and beverage business, will offer its employees the option to travel to Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore for cardiac and complex joint replacement surgeries.

The travel surgery benefit will be extended to PepsiCo's domestic employees and their dependents - almost 250,000 people - making the finest in medical care available regardless of geography.

PepsiCo, which sponsors its own self-funded medical plans, will waive deductibles and coinsurance for those who elect to have their surgery at Johns Hopkins. The company will also cover the travel and lodging expenses to Baltimore for the patient and a companion. The payment methodology for these procedures is a bundled rate, an all-inclusive rate for hospital and physician charges and certain preoperative testing. This innovative reimbursement model provides payment for all the patient care over the course of a clinical episode instead of paying for each service on a fee-for-service basis.

"We're excited about the opportunity to work with an innovative company like PepsiCo that is committed to ensuring cost-effective, higher-quality care as part of its employee health benefits," says Patricia M.C. Brown, president of Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC, the managed care arm of Johns Hopkins Medicine. "We're offering their employees some of the best health care available, which should mean fewer complications and should result in employees being able to return to work sooner. At the same time, we're offering PepsiCo predictability regarding cost."

Brown adds that Hopkins is open to similar arrangements with other large companies.
"We are pleased to work with Johns Hopkins to offer PepsiCo employees and their families access to this outstanding health care institution," says Bruce Monte, senior director, PepsiCo Health & Welfare Benefits. "This is a great example of the distinctive programs we provide on top of our already strong healthcare benefits. These programs are designed to help our employees and their families live healthier lives and ensure a high level of workforce support, which, in turn, helps PepsiCo to be a successful company."

To be eligible for the new program, the patient must be approved for surgery in advance and be healthy enough to travel. Other types of surgery may be made part of the program in the future.

Industry News

U.S. Insurance Firm Offers Coverage for Service at Four Taiwan Hospitals

Focustaiwan.tw - An American insurance company signed a groundbreaking agreement with four local hospitals Tuesday to provide coverage for U.S. policyholders who obtain medical treatment in Taiwan.

The agreement, the first of its kind, represents a cornerstone of Taiwan's medical tourism and will heighten the country's visibility in the U.S., said Hsu Ming-jen, a senior official of the Department of Health, at a press conference.

Although local hospitals have been making great efforts to develop medical tourism, the results have been quite limited, Hsu said.

The new cooperation model, however, is a sustainable one that will help bring more overseas patients, especially those of Asian descent, . to Taiwan to access its highly applauded medical service, he said.

To continue reading, click here.


Industry News

Cigna Appoints Phil Austin to Lead Individual Cinga Global Health Options

ipmimagazine.com-Cigna (NYSE:CI), a global leader in serving expatriates and other globally mobile individuals, has appointed Phil Austin to lead Cigna's international individual PMI business - Cigna Global Health Options. Reporting to Michael J. Ross, Senior Vice President of Individual Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) and Business Development for Cigna International, Mr. Austin will be responsible for developing and implementing the company's individual consumer strategy on an international scale and creating a world-class international individual business.

"We're very pleased to have Phil take on this important role for Cigna Global Health Options,” said Ross. “With Phil's wealth of experience in the healthcare industry, his proven leadership and track record in achieving results, I have no doubt that he'll be successful in this new role and will help Cigna International better serve individual expatriates and local citizens around the globe."

Mr. Austin will be responsible for building the business segment and driving profitable growth, targeting high net worth and globally mobile individuals through various channels such as the internet, bancassurance and intermediaries in key global markets.

"I am excited to assume this role. This is an excellent opportunity to strengthen Cigna's position as the premier provider of products and solutions that support the health, well-being and sense of security of consumers in the global individual marke." said Austin.

Mr. Austin brings over 20 years of experience in global sales, marketing, product strategy and general management to the CGHO team. He returns to Cigna after serving as Vice President of the European Group A&H (Accident and Health) Business for Chartis.

To continue reading, click here.

Industry News

Medical Travel Guide App Aims to Bolster Tourism

Taipeitimes.com-Taiwan has recently launched a new app service for medical travel that provides handy information on tourist attractions and healthcare facilities around the country, a move expected to expand its medical tourism market.

The app, designed by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), is available in English, as well as in traditional and simplified Chinese.

Taking advantage of the vibrant development of smart mobility, the initiative will further promote Taiwan's high-quality international medical services to the world, TAITRA president and chief executive Chao Yuen-chuan said at a news conference to introduce the service.

The app, which is free, covers information ranging from health checkups to cosmetic medicine, Chao said, adding that a map service for each listed facility is available.

Through the service, users can also access information on the 31 medical and healthcare facilities under the department's international medical program, Department of Health Deputy Minister Lin Tzou-yien said.
"This provides clear introductions to the strengths of each medical facility." Lin said.

Also present at the news conference was Vice Premier Sean Chen, who described the app as a "considerate" service that would also provide immediate assistance to foreign tourists who become sick during visits to Taiwan.

Now available for iPhone and iPad users, the app will be expanded to include Android users in the first quarter of next year, Chao said.

Following South Korea and Singapore, Taiwan is the third country in Asia to launch a government-sponsored app service for medical travel.


Industry News

South Korea Signs Accord with Abu Dhabi Health Authority on Hospital Service Agreement

SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- The Ministry of Health and Welfare and The Korean Health Industry Development Institute announced that the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi and four Korean hospitals, including Samsung Seoul Hospital, Seoul National University Hospital, Asian Medical Center and Seoul St. Mary's Hospital have signed an agreement to collaborate in a patient treatment-reference system in Abu Dhabi, on November 25.

This agreement represents the first of its kind to be made by the Korean government with a foreign country and paves the way for the full-scale referral of patients to Korean hospitals by the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi. Three officials from the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi visited South Korea on November 24-26 to sign this hospital service agreement. They included the Chairman of the Board of Directors Mohammed Sultan Al Hameli and CEO ZaidDaoud Al Siksek.

Under this hospital service agreement, the four Korean hospitals will send bills to the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi within six months of providing medical services to patients. The Health Authority-Abu Dhabi will pay all bills in Korean currency through the UAE Embassy in Seoul within 45 days of a request being submitted. The Health Authority-Abu Dhabi is now selecting the first group of patients to come to South Korea. It is expected to dispatch patients from Abu Dhabi to the four Korean hospitals, possibly beginning early next year.

The agreement with the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi is a visible outcome of the efforts of the Korean Government to expand international cooperation in the area of healthcare and medicine and to promote the nation's medical institutions. South Korea and the UAE are expected to expand their cooperation to include diverse fields, such as the export of medical institutions and advanced healthcare systems based on the IT technology, which is one of South Korea's strong points, and training program for international doctors.

The agreement is also expected to serve not only as a bridgehead for cooperation in medical tourism between South Korea and the UAE, but also as a new engine for the Korean medical and related industries to make inroads to the Middle Eastern market, the ministry said. It added that the agreement will also help South Korea to upgrade its reputation as a provider of medical services in the Middle East, which will help it emerge as a major partner in the area of healthcare and medicine in the region.

For more information, please contact Yang Ji-young of the Korea Health Industry Development Institute's International Medical Department on +82-43-713-8248 or sheepjy@khidi.or.kr.


Industry News

The Clinic Finder Goes Global

Following its successful UK launch, The Clinic Finder has now gone global. As well as launching locally into more than thirty countries it has also integrated a Medical Tourism option, which lets prospective patients find clinics overseas.

Adding the Medical Tourism section brings important benefits to patients looking for the widest choice of healthcare and clinics looking to attract patients from other countries.

It is estimated that the number of people taking advantage of Medical Tourism now exceeds five million people per year and is growing at a rate of 20-30% annually.

By 2012 revenue from Medical Tourism is expected to reach US$100 billion, up from US$40 billion in 2004.

David Nicholls, Managing Director and one of the founders of The Clinic Finder, said "We were amazed at the high level of interest from clinics in over thirty overseas countries when  we launched; so much so that we decided to bring forward our plans for reaching a global market and offering the Medical Tourism option as quickly as we could.
We originally hadn't planned to go global until well into 2012."

"We wanted to differentiate from our competitors by integrating the Medical Tourism search results right into the local search results as our research showed that many people don't automatically consider the idea of travelling abroad for treatment. This is partly because they don't know the facility exists and partly because they don't realize that the costs could be considerably lower for comparative facilities and expertise. We think we've got it right."

Upcoming Events

The 3rd Annual International Medical Travel Conference


The 3rd Annual International Medical Travel Conference will be held on April 23rd-25th 2012. This year’s host hotel will be the beautiful five-star Inter-Continental Hotel located in Escazu, just outside San Jose, Costa Rica.

This Medical Travel Conference in Costa Rica offers an excellent opportunity for insurance company executives, employee benefit managers, health underwriters, insurance agents, third-party administrators, and anyone interested in medical or dental travel to experience first hand what the hospitals, dental clinics and physicians of Costa Rica and other Latin American countries have to offer. The past conferences have developed many new business opportunities with foreign buyers searching for quality dental and medical care at affordable prices.

The International Medical Travel Conference is sponsored by The Council for International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (PROMED) and the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT). Massimo Manzi, Executive Director of PROMED, stated, “Costa Rica is proud to host the 3rd International Medical Travel Conference, and this event has grown every year. We expect more than 500 people to attend this year and we have upgraded the location using the five star Inter-Continental Hotel.”

“If you’re considering Medical Tourism for yourself, your company or your clients, the Medical Travel Conference in Costa Rica is the only Medical Tourism conference you need to attend,” said Tim Morales of Costa Rican Medical Tourism. “After the short flight to Costa Rica, you will visit the hospitals and dental clinics and meet the dentists, doctors and their staffs. You need to see, feel and touch the quality of care Costa Rica offers for yourself. This is something you cannot experience in a convention hall in the states.”

There is special early bird pricing for the first 20 people who sign up for this event. This savings opportunity is limited, and early enrollment is encouraged.

2012 Global Healthcare and Medical Tourism Conference: ‘Global Connected Care & 3rd MediTour Expo’ Slated for May 6-8, 2012

MediTour Expo announced its 2012 Global Healthcare and Medical Tourism Conference: “Global Connected Care & 3rd MediTour Expo,” will be held May 6-8, 2012, at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

This two-day conference will feature specialized topics on the globalization of healthcare. Leading technology and healthcare professionals will come together to present and discuss new global healthcare strategies, the latest trends in telemedicine and technology applications as well as insurance and quality issues. The conference will showcase presentations by some of global healthcare’s most influential leaders including Dr. Jay Sanders, M.D., FACP, FACAAI, president and CEO of the Global Telemedicine Group, adjunct professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and founding board member and president emeritus of the American Telemedicine Association.  Expecting to draw delegates from all around the world, this event is a must for those looking to increase contacts in the international healthcare industry.

The conference will also offer exhibit halls, discussion panels and workshops and numerous networking opportunities throughout.

According to Ian Jacobs, CEO of MediTour Expo and Arlen Meyers, M.D., MBA, president of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, this conference will provide education, business opportunities and a networking forum for the global healthcare and medical tourism Industry while identifying and removing barriers to adoption and diffusion. 

Below are some of the event’s highlights:

  • Global Physician Referral Networks and Patient Care — How to Build a Global Practice 
  • Self-Funded Insurance Groups -- Providing Healthcare Travel Alternatives
  • M-health, Telemedicine and Electronic Healthcare Information Platforms
  • Business Processes and Advanced Global Healthcare Marketing Strategies  
  • Integrating Global Healthcare Technologies with Medical Travel   
  • Legal Issues in Global Care
  • Workshops in Global Practice Management, Insurance Reimbursement & Payment, Business Processes, and Legal & Regulatory issues in Global Care
  • Private meeting rooms for business meetings

For information and registration, visit http://meditourexpo.net. For sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities, email: Joanne@meditourexpo.net.

Hotels Bridging Healthcare Conference Announced

Registration is now open for June 2012 Hotels Bridging Healthcare conference

Registration is now open for Hotels Bridging Healthcare (H2H), a conference on hotel, wellness and medical tourism entrepreneurship designed to provide an overview of medical tourism today and the future and concept of H2H with wellness spas.

Organized by co-chairs Ali Poorani and Frederick DeMicco of the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Management at the University of Delaware, the conference will focus on the development, operation and branding of medical tourism services developed between hotels, resorts and medical facilities.

The conference will be held Saturday, June 16, through Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at the Grand Resort Bad Ragaz Wellbeing and Medical Health Center in Switzerland. Participants can register online using the conference website. 

Other agenda items include panel presentations and discussions on the operational model of Bad Ragaz, the branding of cities and towns for medical tourism, financial and investment issues, potential infrastructure and legal issues and the impact on doctor/patient communication.

Max Koppel, M.D., clinical associate professor at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, has collaborated with Poorani and DeMicco and will preside as the H2H conference medical advisor.

According to Koppel, “the conference will advance the international availability of the highest quality care with fewer bureaucratic barriers. The conference will also focus on patient dignity, safety and expanded freedom of choice through the hospitality concept,” said Koppel.

The conference is sponsored by Hospitality Associates for Research and Training (HART); the University of Delaware; the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics; the Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management; and the College of Health Sciences.


Ground-Breaking Event Merges Health, Wellness and Medical Industries with Travel Sellers Around the Globe

Registration is now open for the ground-breaking “Well-Being Travel Conference 2012” which will take place on June 19-21, 2012, at The Phoenician luxury resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. (www.well-beingtravelconference.com). The three-day event is positioned to make a major impact on the global health, wellness and medical travel industries because, for the first time, medical and wellness representatives will be placed face-to-face with travel providers and travel sellers who have worldwide customer databases.

Participants from around the world are expected to attend, including key representatives from medical facilities, hospitals, dental facilities, spa/wellness facilities, insurance companies, tourist boards, travel agencies, and travel providers (including hotels and resorts, airlines, tour operators, cruise lines, car rental companies and ancillary travel services).

The co-sponsors of the event are Well-Being Travel (the go-to resource for medical and wellness travel) and Travel Market Report (an online travel trade publication that represents the voice of travel sellers worldwide).

"There are a variety of medical travel events being offered in the marketplace today, but none of them has yet provided a solution for a strong distribution system that effectively reaches consumers,” said Anne Marie Moebes, Executive Vice President of Well-Being Travel. "That system must include: travel sellers who are already booking all types of travel for their dedicated clients; destinations who want to promote their countries to medical travelers; hospitals and doctors who provide the procedures and pre/post medical care; wellness practitioners who administer alternative treatments; and travel industry suppliers who need to understand what products and services this special market segment needs. The Well-Being Travel Conference 2012 brings together all the key players for the greatest benefit of patient travelers."

The event will explore medical and wellness tourism opportunities and set a direction for the future of this specialty market. Speakers from the world's best health and travel organizations will educate and motivate on topics such as:

- Marketing and sales strategies to effectively reach consumers
- Setting global accreditation standards
- How Ministries of Health and Ministries of Tourism can work together to boost the economy
- Insights from actual patient travelers
- Future of wellness and medical travel product innovations
- Growth in preventive wellness treatments abroad
- Trends in employee health benefits programs

At the Well-Being Travel Conference 2012, resources will be provided so that participants from every segment of each industry involved in medical and wellness travel will depart from the event with an action plan to implement specialized travel offerings.

An early bird registration rate will be available through January 31, 2012. To find out more about attending the Well-Being Travel Conference 2012 or participating as a sponsor, visit www.well-beingtravelconference.com or contact Debbie Press (888-854-0339 or dpress@well-beingtravel.com).

Situations Wanted

Win a free copy of Patients Beyond Borders, Second Edition

In honor of our fifth year of publishing, Medical Travel Today will be giving away copies of Patients Beyond Borders, Second Edition, the best-selling consumer reference guide to international medical travel, with more than 100,000 copies in print, to all contributors and interviewees throughout the year. In addition, we'll be giving a copy to one lucky subscriber with each issue we publish. To earn your chance to win, email our editor with "book drawing" in the subject line.

Congrats to this
issue's winner:

Dr. Ahmed Karaja, The National Health Insurance Company, UAE

News in Review

Superbug Scare Aimed to Hit Medical Tourism in India

The Superbug scare is created to hit Medical tourism in India, says the director general of Indian Council of Medical Research. VM Katoch has accused some countries for creating Superbug hype to tarnish the image of medical tourism in India

Discount dental tourism: a great deal or a dangerous risk?

With winter fully upon us, many Americans - and even some San Diegans may find themselves daydreaming about the possibility of a tropical vacation. And in light of our still-troubled economy, the temptation to combine business with pleasure in the form of discounted dental tourism has already lured an increasing number of dental patients out of the country to Mexico, Thailand, India and beyond in the hopes of both cheaper procedures and an exciting travel opportunity

Medical Tourism in Korea Has Huge Room to Grow

The health authorities of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven United Arab Emirates, have signed an agreement with Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul St. Mary's Hospital, Seoul ASAN Medical Center and Seoul Samsung Medical Center to have patients treated in Korea. The oil-rich country sends 130,000 people overseas for medical treatment each year at its own expense

Health Reform Uncertainty: A Barrier to Med Travel Growth?

Travelmarketreport.com: Two factors cloud the outlook for medical tourism under President Obama's healthcare reform, he said the Supreme Court decisions on cases related to healthcare reform, expected early next year, and the 2012 elections.

"A considerable amount of uncertainly will persist as the provisions of ACA (the Affordable Care Act) are enacted, tested and refined. This uncertainty has a major impact on health insurance companies and their willingness to engage with the medical tourism sector." Stackpole said.

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.