Printable Version

© 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

Researchers, Ahoy! Should Futurist Science Move...Offshore?

Uninsured turn to daily deal sites for healthcare

Large companies try domestic medical tourism

Shetty: New medical school opening

Make Me a Baby As Fast As You Can

China stops unapproved stem cell treatments


Nicole Serfontein, Towers Watson, Part Two


Oguz Engiz, Medicana International Ankara Hospital, Part Two

Industry News

Medical Travel is Poised to Gain Momentum in 2012

Kiplinger's Personal Finance Addresses "Healthcare Bargains Abroad"

Mercury Healthcare's Dr. Maria K. Todd Publishes Handbook of Medical Tourism Program Development

Global Medtracker Reports Strong Growth in Traffic

Kenyans Going Mobile to Stay Healthy

The Clinic Finder is now completely free

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 6, Issue 1

by Amanda Haar, Editor


TravelMarketReport.com, Kiplinger's, USA Today, ENT Today, and the Institute for Ethics& Emerging Technologies. Those are just a few of the media outlets and organizations that chose to begin the new year with a look at medical travel. Happily, the nature of the stories presented has evolved from a cautionary tale of a new fad to meaningful articulations of the upsides and opportunities for medical travel.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to again thank Joe Woodman of Patients Beyond Borders for providing copies of his books to use as prizes in the book drawing program we conducted to market Medical Travel Today's fifth year of publication. We're grateful to Joe and to all the readers who entered every issue.

Finally, Medical Travel Today is compiling a story on the changing roles of medical travel facilitators.If you and your colleagues are interested in being featured in this story, please be in touch!

We are looking for:
    - Innovative platforms to generate patient inquiry volume
    - New capabilities that distinguish your organization
    - Opportunities to interface with US-based businesses and employers
    - Ways to partner with international medical travel companies

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


Amanda Haar, Editor

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


Nicole Serfontein, Towers Watson, Part Two

Editor's Note:Nicole Serfontein is a senior consultant in Towers Watson's International Practice in Washington, D.C. What follows is part two of a conversation between Serfontein and Laura Carabello, publisher of Medical Travel Today. Part One of the interview can be accessed here.

MTT: Are you familiar with health savings accounts - and do you see medical travel as an option that would benefit both HSA account holders as well as employers?

NS: South Africa was the first country to come out with individual health savings accounts within the private sector, and the US followed. Singapore, South Africa and the US now offer this option, and while there are some advantages to HSAs, there are broader policy issues that have to be considered when implementing these accounts because of the funding and tax implications around them.

One purpose of the HSA is that it's a cost management tool and supports shared accountability of an employee's health with the employer. It is not however, intended by employers to provide comprehensive health coverage to employees outside of the US.

An employee cannot anticipate the extent and cost of health services they may require after relocating. In some cases the medical condition may be severe or catastrophic. A HSA is not a sufficient coverage for these types of treatments. Local providers or hospitals overseas want to be assured that an individual has sufficient coverage for reimbursement.

MTT: Do you see that medical travel would be growing in popularity for US-based companies that have an international footprint?

NS: I'm not aware of statistics or publications that clearly point to the growth of employer interest in medical travel outside of the US. For those employers that support medical tourism, it will be important to reassure employees that the provider in another country offers quality services. The question remains, "How do you determine quality?"

Another consideration is how to compensate the individual if he or she needs to remain in the hospital for an extended stay. There are other complex issues that tap into this discussion, including travel expenses and any required follow-up visits which fall beyond the duration of the individual's initial stay.

MTT: If you were confronted with an end-of-life disease or condition and you could get treatment outside the country that wasn't FDA-approved - such as certain stem cell treatments or new treatments for multiple sclerosis -- would you take advantage of this personally? Is that something you think employers should even be aware of?

NS: Again, I think from an employer's standpoint, they need to evaluate why a particular product or service cannot be accessed here in the US. Partly, that comes down to company policy decisions and, of course, what services providers are willing to provide and the associated costs.

The US is progressive with developing new products and services and bringing them into the market, which is in part responsible for the high cost of healthcare in the country.

We see early adoption of technologies and drugs by providers and patients within the US. In particular, we see patients coming to the US to receive specialized care and treatment because of the knowledge and expertise that has been developed, relatively quick access to the treatment, and leading edge technology.

For those rare instances when a treatment is not available here in the US - from an employer's standpoint - they need to evaluate why they'd want to make an exception for an employee to go to a country to receive treatment. Employers should evaluate the reasons to allow the access to treatment that is not yet FDA-approved and weigh that overall philosophy against their response to all employees to provide medical coverage in a consistent and uniform way.

MTT: That's an interesting point, and probably worthy of a whole other conversation at a future time. But for the purpose of this discussion, let's consider the uninsured or underinsured - whether or not health reforms survive - what is your prediction on the role of medical travel?

NS: Employers will need to evaluate their options as provisions of the Health Care Reform Act are implemented, as well as the changing market dynamics, and base their decisions on the advantages of treating their employees within the US in comparison to the viability of sending certain employees, most likely in rare and limited circumstances, outside the US for treatment.

That's not necessarily a simple decision but, from the employer standpoint, when taking into account crucial components such as improved productivity, lower absenteeism, higher engagement and so on , providing access to some form of medical coverage within the US can provide advantages to their businesses and profitability.

In terms of policy and evaluating options over the next several years, the general sentiment is that healthcare reform will survive in some form, requiring employers to re-evaluate current practices towards their underinsured or uninsured employees. Based on our client portfolio within the International Consulting Group, which is the multinational organization with large workforce populations, there is either insured or self-insured insurance coverage in place.

MTT: For employers sending an employee to Africa or Europe or anywhere, do they identify the providers for them, or do they just let them choose who they want?

NS: One way we assist employers is to identify credible insurance carriers and their capabilities and services. We carry out an in-depth analysis and review a variety of aspects relating to the carrier's general capabilities in a particular country or countries, and examine how they negotiate agreements with providers, the credentialing process, the range and quality of health services available,administrative services, and the cost implications. The selection of the providers or carrier also considers the unique requirements and needs of employers. One important goal for employers is to better equip employees with an understanding of the local health environment and assist them in navigating the system.

MTT: This is something that employers are continuing to evaluate?

NS: Yes. Some employers carry out a regular assessment of their carriers to ensure that their capabilities still match their business objectives and health requirements.

MTT: How about the US hospitals that have connectivity and reputable programs outside the US-like Johns Hopkins or a few others that have built satellite hospitals all over the world. Does that give you an increased sense of confidence?

NS:The presence of some US hospitals and clinics, like Johns Hopkins, in other countries supports clinical research and development, but employers will have to consider issues that impact their workforce when travelling outside the US and ensure there are no medical gaps in coverage in the host locations. If employees travel to several countries, they will need to visit different providers in each location, and there may not be US facilities such as Johns Hopkins.

About Nicole Serfontein

Nicole Serfontein has worked in New York, London and South Africa, where she was a practicing attorney in the commercial and financial services industry. Currently, she is a senior consultant in Towers Watson's International Practice in Washington, D.C. Nicole is tasked with co-leading the global health initiative for North America and has consulted on health insurance and related matters for many multinational companies, government and plan trustees.

In 2003, she was appointed by the Minister of Finance in South Africa to the South African Financial Services Board to draft and comment on regulations to the Financial Services Advisory Act.

Nicole provides strategic consulting advice to multinational employers regarding global health programs, and consults to vendors to develop their global products. She has over 13 years of experience in the commercial financial services and healthcare sectors. The nature and scope of her assignments include:

  • Market assessments and analysis of healthcare systems in key geographies for US vendors to develop global products and services relating to expatriate health plans and wellness programs for local workforces
  • Designing global health and wellness strategies, governance frameworks and engagement/communication plans (including development of the Corporate business case to senior leaders, review of country data and cost and funding mechanisms, vendor procurement and negotiation and multi-country program implementation) for predominantly European and US Multinationals
  • Regional assessment of HIV/AIDS provision and delivery in African continents, with deep expertise in South African legislation, delivery and financing
  • Retiree Health Plan market assessment for the largest Indonesian private sector employer
  • Design and implementation of expatriate health plans for European and US Headquarters

Nicole is an admitted attorney in South Africa and completed her Master in Laws in International Trade at Stellenbosch University (South Africa) and also her second Master in Laws in Global Health Law and Policy at Georgetown University Law Centre (USA).She taught the global health session on behalf of the  - International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP; www.ifebp.org/) for its course in International Benefits.

Towers Watson
901 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA, 22203 T +1 703 258 8286 M +1 703 975 6697 F +1 703 258 8093


Oguz Engiz, Medicana International Ankara Hospital, Part Two

Oguz Engiz, CEO, Medicana International Ankara Hospital

Editor's Note: What follows is Part Two of a conversation with Oguz Engiz of Medicana International Ankara Hospital in Turkey. Part One of the conversation can be viewed by clicking here.

MTT: I noticed you provide "medical travel packages." What prompted you to develop these and what exactly is in a package?

OE: We provide packages to cover all medical services, travel and accommodation for the patient and a companion. We also arrange sightseeing trips to local attractions. For most, that means taking a ride or hot air balloon ride, exploring the geology of Cappadocia, and enjoying belly dancing or fine dining.

MTT: Do packages mean you don't work with facilitators?

OE: No, we work with about 15 different facilitators and give them commissions based on the amount of service or revenue they create. At this point, we need them.

We work with three or four in Iraq, a few in Azerbaijan. We also have the advantage of having 140 or so embassies here in Ankara. They have their own counselors who we deal with to set up care. They, in turn, help build a bridge between the countries. If they are happy with the service and outcome provided, you're in a good position to see more patients from that country in general.

Right now, 60 percent of our international patient cases are arranged through facilitators, all of which are geographically near Turkey.

In that way we're sort of like Thailand. What I observed there is that many of their patients are either from the area or ex-pats who don't want to go home. Like us, Thailand is a sort of removed part of the world, but the care level is so high that people are willing to stay or travel the relatively short distance to get it.

India, on the other hand, doesn't try to attract patients from nearby areas . It gets people to come from the US, England, Afghanistan, even Russia. Theirs is a different power of attraction. What they have is a central government that actively works to recruit patients from afar. They really get tremendous help from the government. Essentially the government works like their agents, and they are very successful. In fact, every day six planes full of patients fly from Afghanistan to New Delhi for care. No visas are needed, and they are treated like ambassadors. It's really something.

MTT: If you're willing, can you share your strategy for growth in the year ahead?

OE: Yes, in 2012 we'd like to do something new, something we didn't have the courage to do at the outset. We want to open contact offices in the countries we serve, starting with Georgia and Albania, then maybe Libya and Algeria, depending on how things go. We want to try and institutionalize our services and the relationship by investing in the country and establishing a presence, or entity, if you will. We also want to work locally to do more advertising and open regular communication with the doctors in those areas to familiarize them with our services. We think there would be an advantage to building some close ties with them.

MTT: Are you thinking this would be in the confines of a hospital or existing practice?

OE: This would be a free-standing office that includes a travel agency . People have to feel confident that the staff understands everything -- the medical terminology, the facilities of the hospital they're considering, the travel requirements, post-care requirements -- and can make all the necessary arrangements. The goal is to make it as inclusive and one-step as possible.

About Oguz Engiz
Oguz Engiz was instrumental in several key World Bank health projects between 1992-1996. Since 1996,he has been an executive in the private hospital sector at facilities, including Bayındır Medical Center and Mesa Hospital, and now serves as CEO at Medicana International Ankara Hospital, Ankara's largest private hospital.

He is a frequent lecturer on Strategic Hospital Management at universities and has participated in national and international conferences on hospital management.

In addition, he serves as Chair on Health Volunteers (Turkey) and as publisher of hospital manager journal.

Engiz can be reached at oengiz@medicana.com.tr

Industry News

Medical Travel is Poised to Gain Momentum in 2012

Travelmarketreport.com-by Nick Verrastro

Will 2012 be the year that medical travel takes off?

With PepsiCo's announcement last month that it will cover certain medical travel costs for its 250,000 domestic employees, medical travel experts say it could well be.

They also say agents have an important role to play in this emerging travel niche, but only if they get the specialized training it requires. 

And while the future of medical travel looks bright, the experts also say much is dependent on global economic and safety issues. 

PepsiCo move will spur interest
PepsiCo's decision to provide medical travel benefits reflects growing interest by the corporate world in the potential cost savings of medical travel. Previous milestones included a partnership by Lowes, the home improvement chain, with the Cleveland Clinic, and Hannaford supermarkets' medical travel health insurance benefit.

The PepsiCo announcement will raise awareness and generate momentum for other companies to offer medical travel benefits, experts said.


Laura Carabello

"Look for the employer market to begin generating acceptance [of medical travel]," said Laura Carabello, publisher of Medical Travel Today newsletter, pointing to one opportunity in medical travel for 2012.

"The key will be to provide education on a variety of destinations so that employees feel comfortable and safe in traveling to a specific country."

Will insurance-paid med travel get off the ground?
Indeed, the "big question" for 2012 is "whether corporate or insurer paid medical travel will get off the ground," said Keith Pollard, managing director of the UK's Treatment Abroad, writing in the International Medical Travel Journal

"Will employers and insurers see medical travel as a realistic and credible option to reduce healthcare costs? And will their client and subscriber base actually ‘buy in' to the medical travel option if it is offered to them?"

An expanding role for agents
Assuming the answer is yes, travel agents can position themselves to provide the specialized medical travel logistics that are usually ignored in partnerships between the corporations and the healthcare providers, said Maria K. Todd, a former travel agent who is CEO of Mercury Healthcare International.


Josef Woodman

The fact that medical facilities increasingly offer "all-in-one" medical travel packages will make it easier for agents to develop this niche, said Josef Woodman, editor and publisher of the Patients Beyond Borders medical travel guides.

American medical travelers, Woodman added, have increasingly more choices because JCI, the US-based accreditation agency for international hospitals, has now accredited nearly 500 facilities worldwide.

Specialized training required
Acquiring and maintaining the know-how to manage the complexity of patients' travel needs will continue to be the major challenge for travel agents in 2012, agreed Woodman, Carabello and Todd.

"Specialized training is still required for all but the simplest of medical travel," said Woodman.

Education and training on the specialized needs of medical travelers is the best way for travel agents to prepare themselves to serve this market, according to the experts. 

"Education and a long-term commitment are necessary," said Kiki Bright, co-owner of Thailand Medical Travel and Tourism, a San Diego-based division of International Travel Services, based in Lihue, Hawaii. 

Well-Being Conference provides agent training
A major step toward providing agents with that training will come in June with the 2012 Well-Being Travel Conference, scheduled for June 19 to 21 in Scottsdale, Ariz. (See sidebar.)

It will be the first-ever conference on medial travel focused specifically on travel agent education, said Anne Marie Moebes, executive vice president of Well-Being Travel, a co-sponsor of the event with Travel Market Report.

Med travel fams for agents
Agents in 2012 will have more opportunities to acquire firsthand experience in medical travel destinations via familiarization trips offered by governments seeking to develop medical travel, often as part of their tourism strategies, said Bright, who recommends that travel sellers specialize in a specific destination or healthcare service.

Safety, the economy loom as challenges
Among challenges in the year ahead for medical travel will be worries about safety, noted Carabello. "It is a real concern, especially with headlines about drug traffickers and others preying on Americans."

The economy also looms as a challenge. People are postponing cosmetic procedures, a major segment of the medical travel market from the U.S, Bright said. 

But the sluggish economy may actually boost "destinations that offer quality care at a much lower price tag, as they will be even more attractive" options for medical travelers from the U S , Carabello said.

Pollard noted that consumers "will dig deep for services such as infertility treatment, stem cell treatment, and for surgery which is essential, life-saving or life changing."

Travel Market Report is an online business publication for professional travel sellers.
For a free subscription, click here.

Industry News

Kiplinger's Personal Finance Addresses "Healthcare Bargains Abroad"

Editor's Note: This month's issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance introduces readers to some of the savings to be had by traveling abroad for care, as well as offering guidance on how to find care.
To read the complete story, click here.

Industry News

Fitness tourism could be new niche in market, says minister

bermudasun.bm - Fitness tourism could be a new niche market for Bermuda, Tourism Minister Wayne Furbert said yesterday.

Furbert added: "There are a lot of things we are talking about - we have had a meeting with people who want to bring fitness tourism here, and that's promising.
We have also been talking about medical tourism, and we're also talking about bringing arbitration business to Bermuda - making the island a center for arbitration meetings."

Furbert revealed the new niche areas as he announced that Spanish-based consultants Travel and Leisure Advisory Services had won the contract to develop the National Tourism Plan.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

Matthew Hunt Appointed Managing Director, Health Services, Aetna International

Appointment underscores Aetna's commitment to improve health outcomes and reduce overall cost in the global markets in which Aetna operates

BUSINESS WIRE--Aetna (NYSE: AET), a leading global diversified healthcare benefits company, announced today that Matthew Hunt has been appointed managing director, Health Services, of Aetna International. In this role, Hunt will focus on further expanding Aetna's Health Management Services business, which uses clinical analytics and wellness programs to help improve healthcare quality and outcomes for governments and corporate employers around the globe. Hunt's responsibilities will include the existing UK health management business that delivers healthcare management solutions and commissioning support services for the NHS.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

Mercury Healthcare's Dr. Maria K. Todd Publishes Handbook of Medical Tourism Program Development

ToddMedTourismHandbook.jpg From initial concept to outcomes measurement, Maria Todd's "Handbook of Medical Tourism Program Development" covers intricacies involved in building framework, infrastructure, policies and procedures to develop successful medical tourism programs in the US and abroad.  The book's target audience includes hospital administrators, health ministries, hoteliers, and government tourism and trade promotion boards.

Denver, Colorado USA –Published in early December, Dr. Todd's Handbook of Medical Tourism Program Development:Developing Globally Integrated Health Systems offers government ministries, hoteliers, spa owners and medical tourism provider networks with tips and techniques for succeeding in the industry.

Todd invites readers to learn more about the techniques of globally integrated healthcare delivery, ways to improve provider skill sets, technology, infrastructure, communications, quality, safety and get new marketing ideas. She also shares her personal stories from more than 30 years in the business. She quickly goes over the philosophy behind medical tourism and its opportunities and fallacies before launching into a set of projects for her readers. The projects not only include instructions, but also some information that governments and hospital administrators might not know, such as facts, how to negotiate, why they should care about third-party reimbursement, and how the business may (or may not) involve group health and employer-sponsored health insurance programs going forward as the nascent market matures.

Other recently released titles by Mercury Healthcare Advisory Group Colleagues
available on amazon.com include:

  • Performance-based Medicine: Creating the High-Performance Network to Optimize Managed Care Relationships , by William J.DeMarco, MA, CMC (ISBN: 978-1-4398-1288-4)
  • Managed HealthCare in the New Millennium: Innovative Financial Modeling for the 21st Century, by David I. Samuels, MPA,  FHFMA (ISBN 978-1-4398-4030-6), and
  • The Medical Services Professional Career Guidebook: Charting a Development Plan for Success, by Donna Goestenkors, CPMSM, (ISBN:978-1-4398-4478-6), which covers practices, procedures and requirements of medical staff credentialing and privileging professional development.
  • Todd's other recent medical tourism title, The Medical Tourism Facilitator's Handbook, (ISBN-978-1-4398-1283-9) also just released by Productivity Press, was written for independent medical tourism facilitators, travel agents, and hospital-employed facilitator audiences.

ENT Today Examines New Frontiers: Medical tourism brings potential for big business but poses big questions

Enttoday.org-More patients every year are traveling outside of the U S in search of lower health bills and treatments that might be unavailable to them at home.
The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions estimates that 750,000 Americans went to another country for treatment in 2007, and researchers there conclude that the industry could grow by 20 percent a year, with as many as 1.6 million U S residents taking these trips by 2012. Researchers caution that exact numbers are essentially unattainable, however, because estimates are largely based on self-reported figures that can't be verified.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

Global Medtracker Reports Strong Growth in Traffic

PRLog (Press Release) - Global Medtracker, a gateway portal to medical travel/tourism resources, announces its 2011 quarter on quarter growth rates*

Website hits:    
Apr  1 - June 30      -5%  
July 1 - Sept  30     +295%
Oct 1 - Dec 31        +142%

Unique Visitors :     
Apr 1 - June 30    - 12%  
July 1 - Sept 30     +54%
Oct 1 - Dec 31       + 97%

No. of Visits:            
Apr 1 - June 30      -16%  
July 1 - Sept 30   + 135%
Oct 1 - Dec 31     +40%

Pages Viewed:            
Apr 1 - June 30    -19%  
July 1 - Sept 30   + 338%
Oct 1 - Dec 31     +33%

Year on year,  Global Medtracker's  hits increased 560% from June 30, 2011, to December 31, 2011. Unique visitors increased 115% from June 30, 2011, to December 31, 2011. Number of visits increased 156% from June 30, 2011, to December 31, 2011. Pages viewed increased 356% from June 30, 2011, to December 31, 2011*

Global Medtracker was established in 2010, but initiated active development in July, 2011. Its formal launch was October, 2011. Growth in traffic has correlated with the development and promotion of the past half year, and indicates both an increasing number of new visitors and increased time viewing pages.  Page view increases have correlated with the expansion of pages from two to ten.

Visitor feedback indicates that during 2011, people accessed Global Medtracker from 64 different countries*and came to the site to learn more about medical travel/tourism, as well as to search for potential healthcare providers.

Global Medtracker was introduced in late 2010 with 50 listings in one category. It now has over 600 listings in eight categories.

Plans for 2012 include introducing interactive software for visitors, as well as enhanced reporting on the Supreme Court's adjudication of the Healthcare Reform Act of 2010 (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

Industry News

Kenyans Going Mobile to Stay Healthy

Editor's Note: The following excerpt is from a story that appeared on good.is, the website for GOOD. They describe themselves this way:"...We are the alternative model. We are the reasonable people who give a damn. No dogma. No party lines. No borders. We care about what works--what is sustainable, prosperous, productive, creative, and just--for all of us and each of us. This isn't easy, but we are not afraid to fail. We'll figure it out as we go."

I personally like their thinking and the creative solutions they share from a myriad of people trying to solve a myriad of problems globally. It's an approach I think we'd all be better served by embracing, and I encourage you to visit the site and sign up for the Daily GOOD.
That said, here's the excerpt and link to the full story and the GOOD site:

...More than 25 million Kenyans have mobile phones, making apps a logical way to disseminate essential information about health. MedAfrica, a new smartphone app, has positioned itself as the go-to service for wired Kenyans in search of reputable healthcare. The app operates like a mobile yellow pages for medical services, providing basic listings of professionals in the area. Additional features include a symptom checker for patients to compare their ailments with different diseases and make decisions about seeking medical attention.
The app, which has been downloaded as often as 1,000 times a day since its November launch, is a product of local app company Shimba Mobile, and is operating on $100,000 worth of funding from European venture capitalists.

To read more click here.

Industry News

The Clinic Finder is now completely free.

Following The Clinic Finder’s global launch the site is now completely free. From 1 January 2012 they no longer charge introduction fees. Clinics are also listed in their medical tourism section absolutely free. They have also reduced the prices of their Enhanced Listings.
David Nicholls, Managing Director and one of the founders of The Clinic Finder, said:
“We are committed to bringing our clinics new patients in the most cost effective manner we can, especially in these testing times. Our growth is strongly linked to the number of clinics on the site, and we see this move as an important step in reducing any possible barriers to entry. Free sign up, no introduction fees and free medical tourism listing are powerful features. There really is no reason not to get listed. We recognize that 2012 will be at the very least a challenging time for healthcare professionals, and we hope this helps them.
"Don’t get us wrong, we haven’t turned into a charity, but understand that growth for all parties depends upon a solid base for our clinics, our searchers and us. The more clinics we have, the more chance there is that patients will find what they are looking for. That improves our reputation and encourages more clinics in. It's great news for everyone.
"We are attracting more and more clinics from all over the world and we will soon have our 750,000th search, which is phenomenal from a standing start in April.”
To find out more, go to: http://www.theclinicfinder.com

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

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

Researchers, Ahoy! Should Futurist Science Move...Offshore?

Ieet.org-What is the likelihood of seeing research vessels devoted to scientific research outside the bounds of national jurisdiction?

The idea of relocating for the sake of circumventing law, in particular the notion of establishing new nations in international waters, is an idea typically initiated with liberty in mind.

The Principality of Sealand, for instance, established in 1967, was founded with the intention of creating a space free from "oppressive laws and restrictions of existing nation states." Similarly, the start-up group,The Seasteading Institute, aims at creating platforms for experimentation with new forms of governance, which Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel suggests may include systems with no welfare and fewer building codes.

Uninsured turn to daily deal sites for healthcare

USAToday- The last time Mark Stella went to the dentist he didn't need an insurance card. Instead, he pulled out a Groupon.

Stella, a small business owner, canceled his health insurance planmore than three years ago when his premium rose to more than $400 a month. He considered himself healthy and decided that he was wasting money on something that he rarely used.

Large companies try domestic medical tourism
During the past year, Lowe's Companies paid for 38 employees or their dependents, including three children, to travel to Cleveland Clinic for heart surgery that was fully covered by health insurance with no co-pays or deductibles. PepsiCo announced on Dec. 8, 2011, that a similar arrangement will be available for their employees to travel to Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore for care.

Shetty: New medical school opening

Compasscayman.com-Cardiologist Dr. Devi Shetty announced plans to open his own medical school within an existing facility in Cayman this year.

Dr. Shetty and his team from India made a four-day visit to Grand Cayman last week and said they were expediting plans to create a medical school as part of the proposed medical tourism project by basing the school in another institution. Dr. Shetty did not disclose in which institution the medical school would be based. He said the team has received offers, but the deal had not been "tied down."

Make Me a Baby As Fast As You Can

Slate.com-The booming business in international surrogacy, whereby Westerners have begun hiring poor women in developing countries to carry their babies, has been the subject of plenty of media buzzing over the past few years. Much of the coverage regards the practice as a win-win for surrogates and those who hire them; couples receive the baby they have always wanted while surrogates from impoverished areas overseas earn more in one gestation than they would in many years of ordinary work. Heartening stories recount how infertile people, as well lesbian and gay couples who want to have children (and who often suffer the brunt of discriminatory adoption policies), have formed families by finding affordable surrogates abroad.

China stops unapproved stem cell treatments

(Reuters) - China has ordered a halt to all unapproved stem cell treatments and clinical trials, state media reported on Tuesday, as Beijing seeks to rein in the largely untested stem cell therapies now on offer across the country.



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.