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© 2012 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

Bahamas plans first stem cell procedure

Medical tourists to spend some $300 million in Costa Rica this year

Health Ministry urged to supervise medical tourism

Overseas tourism hits record

Renub Research Publishes Taiwan Medical Tourism Analysis and Forecast to 2015

Spotlight

Tom Emerick, Emerick Consulting

Industry News

Walmart Expands Health Benefits to Cover Heart and Spine Surgeries at No Cost to Associates

NCPA’s John Goodman on Wal-Mart and Other Employers Opting for Medical Tourism

AON Hewitt Survey: Consumer-Driven Health Plans Overtake HMOs



Mediclinic Lobbies UAE to Change Medical Liability Law

Mercury Advisory Group Awarded Contract in Nigeria

Eight Percent of Residents Seek Medical Advice Outside the UAE

What Obama's Affordable Care Act Means for the World's Hospitals

Health tourism: GP surgeries selling 'black market' access to NHS

Memorial-Hermann Texas Medical Center Certified by the Medical Travel Commission

Mercury Advisory Group Announces Arrangement to Build a Health Tourism Cluster and Cancer Hospital in Mexico

Ibn Al-Haytham Hospital is the first Temos-Certified hospital in Jordan

 

Upcoming Events

Patients Beyond Borders®CEOto Present at November Indian Medical Tourism Conference and Alliance in Hyderabad, India

“A Global Perspective of the Reinsurance Market & Building Trust Funds as a Financial Tool for Development” An International Conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Scheduled for October 24 -26, 2012

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Global Health Voyager

THIS WEEK IN MEDICAL TRAVEL TODAY
Volume 6, Issue 21

by Amanda Haar, Editor

Greetings,

Retail giant Walmart made big news last week with the introduction of a first-of-its-kind Centers of Excellence program (See INDUSTRY NEWS). Working with six prominent health systems across the country, the program provides Walmart covered associates and family members with no out-of-pocket cost for select surgeries. Beyond the opportunity to provide employees with quality healthcare options and money savings, the program will enable Walmart to compare various first-rate medical centers in terms of survival rates, infection rates, readmissions, and other measurements of quality.

The potential implications of the program could be enormous for Walmart and for the industry as a whole (See SPOTLIGHT). The opportunity to control costs AND provide quality care to employees will no doubt inspire employers of all sizes to consider the advantages of creating a domestic network of centers of excellence.

Cheers,

Amanda Haar, Editor
ahaar@cpronline.com 

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Spotlight

Tom Emerick, Emerick Consulting

Tom Emerick, President, Emerick Consulting

Editor’s Note: When news of the Walmart initiative broke we turned to someone we knew who had a unique perspective and insight into the company’s motivation and approach. Tom Emerick of Emerick Consulting managed Walmart’s program for 15 years until he went out on his own five years ago. As it turns out Tom is very familiar with the program having offered the benefits team with some technical advice throughout the exploration and implementation. Here’s what Tom had to share on this exciting development.

“First, I want to offer a hearty congratulations to the Walmart management team for implementing this program. The company truly has an excellent visionary benefits team that was able to appreciate how this program will dramatically improve care for Walmart associates while reducing out-of-pocket expenses.

What makes this program unique compared to what other companies have done and what I find most exciting about it is that they chose multiple centers of excellence around the country. Most companies that have taken a step in this direction have only chosen one - Lowe’s with Cleveland Clinic, Pepsi with Johns Hopkins...

With multiple centers they’re going to have the ability to truly compare outcomes, readmission rates, efficiencies, and so on with a large, like-to-like patient volume. No one’s ever had that opportunity before.

What I believe they’ll likely do if one clinic is performing better than others is share what they’re doing and how they are doing it better. This a huge accomplishment that will create an excellent productivity loop that not only Walmart associates will benefit from but all patients that visit those centers. This was a very visionary move by the Walmart leadership team.”

Medical Travel Today (MTT): If I’m correct, Walmart has some experience sending patients to centers of excellence, correct?

“Yes, they’ve had a transplant program in place since the mid-90s. That program has been extremely successful. One of the most interesting aspects of it is that by incentivizing members to go to Mayo Clinic, they’re getting a more accurate and thorough diagnoses. The big surprise is that they often find that a transplant is contra-indicated for their case. And I’m not just talking one or two cases. At the Mayo they’re sometimes able to implement a more effective and much less expensive treatment plan that’s not nearly as dangerous as lifting out one’s heart or other organ. I imagine the program may have saved a number of lives.

As an example, there was a Walmart associate in Texas whose doctor wanted to do a heart transplant. The patient went to the Mayo where they found all he needed was a stent. He got it and went home. That story gets repeated hundreds and hundreds of times over the years.

This is why the expanded program is so exciting. It ensures that people who have not just heart problems but spine problems, etc. will get the right diagnosis and the right treatment. And Walmart’s waiving the co-pay for the associates so there are no losers in this arrangement.
I can’t say it enough. It’s truly a fabulous new option and Walmart deserves a lot of praise.”

MTT: How do you think other employers are going to respond to this initiative?

“I think a lot of companies know they need to do something like this. The truth is in benefits plans today in large companies 6-8 percent of the members are responsible for 80 percent of the dollars spent. Unfortunately employers tend to target the wrong group with their messages. They go for the masses and completely miss the real source of the problem.

The extreme growth in cost isn’t the 94 or so percent but the minority outliers. Companies need to micromanage that group.

The Walmart model offers an excellent way to do that. By getting better diagnoses and treatment plans you solve a multitude of problems.

And the truth is 10 - 20 percent of those outliers have simply been misdiagnosed. Specialists simply don’t coordinate care and they often, collectively, miss the underlying condition that’s causing all the other issues. Add to that you often have flawed or suboptimal treatment plans.

At centers of excellence they take a more thorough and coordinated approach to care. A consolidated diagnosis works to put an end to unnecessary and erroneous treatments, surgeries, and medications, They are about the best quality of care for members.

I truly believe this program could be the tipping point for a lot of companies in terms of managing the outliers.

I expect there will be a large surge in the number of companies adopting this approach in 2013 and -14.

Personally, I’d refer to this as a specialized centers of excellence program rather than a medical travel program. So much of medical travel, especially international, has been about receiving discounted care. That is NOT what this approach is about. The objective isn’t to get lower prices but to have more effective diagnoses and treatment plans for their sickest employees. Ultimately the best quality care is often the most cost-effective.

And not only that., there is the quality of life factor to consider. The fellow with the stent versus a heart transplant is a good example of that. If you can resolve your medical issue more effectively, less invasively, it’s just a complete win-win-win.

Back to your question about how and when other companies will respond, I really think we’re on the cusp of a huge surge.

I remember when the first PPO came out with Allied Signal. At that time four-hundred and ninety-nine members of the Fortune 500 said “we’d never tell employees which doctors to go to.” Five years later they were all doing it.

I think this will follow same track. You’ve got a few companies doing, others will start doing it in July of 2013, and in three to four years most companies will have it in place.”

MTT: So that’s how employers will respond. What do health systems and facilities need to be doing to be a part of this surge?

“I think most hospitals are keenly aware of what’s going on. They’re already losing patients to centers of excellence thanks to what Lowe’s, Pepsi, and Walmart have been doing. There will be winners and there will be losers. Typically heart surgeries count for 20 percent of the revenue and 40 percent of the profit at a hospital. The facilities that adapt will be winners and those that don’t will lose.

If they want to be involved they need to create constructs in their organization that mirror what the best centers - the Geisingers, Mayo, Scott & White, Mercy St John’s, and others - are doing. As the surge occurs, hospitals and clinics will need to convert to this model and that includes creating accountability on behalf of physicians to get make the right diagnosis and implement an appropriate and effective treatment plan.

That gets to another point. We really need a new definition of quality in our healthcare. The typical definition focuses first on whether or not the procedure is done to the gold standard. The approach we should be taking should first ask is ‘is this the right procedure’. Is it even needed?
I think the current definition ties to the prevailing ethic in U.S. healthcare which is ‘if it may help let’s do it’. That ethic needs to change to first address what’s the desired patient outcome and then it should look at what’s done focusing on using the least invasive and safest treatment to achieve the desired outcome.
If we did just that we could cut healthcare costs in the U.S. by $600 billion per year.

The interesting thing is that ethic is common in the commonwealth nations. The U.S. stands alone in often using the most risky and invasive approaches simply because they’re the most profitable.

However, this Walmart program puts at least one significant group of people on the path to receiving a better quality of care here in the U.S. Keep your eye on it. It’s going to be something to watch.

About Tom Emerick

Thomas G. Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting, LLC, a firm engaged in providing consulting services to a broad spectrum of clients.

Emerick's years with Walmart Stores, Inc., Burger King Corporation, British Petroleum, and American Fidelity Assurance Company have provided an excellent blend of experience and contacts. As a consultant he offers technical advice to employers as well as works with hospitals to establish them as medical destinations.

Tom has served on a variety of employer coalitions and associations, including being on the board of the influential National Business Group on Health, the U. S. Chamber of Commerce Benefit Committee, and many others.

He can be reached at tom.emerick@emerickconsulting.com

Industry News

Walmart Expands Health Benefits to Cover Heart and Spine Surgeries at No Cost to Associates

BENTONVILLE, Ark., Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- As health care costs continue to rise, Walmart is introducing a first-of-its-kind Centers of Excellence program that will offer its associates quality health care with no out-of-pocket cost for heart, spine, and transplant surgeries at six of the leading hospital and health systems in the U.S.  

The six designated health care organizations include the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio; Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa.; Mayo Clinic sites in Rochester, Minn., Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz., and Jacksonville, Fla.; Mercy Hospital Springfield in Springfield, Mo; Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas; and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Wash. These organizations will give Walmart associates the opportunity to receive care at hospitals and medical centers geographically located across the country that specialize in heart, spine and transplant care.

"We devoted extensive time developing Centers of Excellence in order to improve the quality of care our associates' receive," said Sally Welborn, senior vice president of global benefits at Walmart. "We have identified six renowned health care systems that meet the highest quality standards for heart, spine and transplant surgery. Through these hospital systems, our associates will have no out-of-pocket expenses and a greater peace of mind knowing they are receiving exceptional care from a facility that specializes in the procedure they require.  This is the first time a retailer has offered a comprehensive, nationwide program for heart, spine and transplant surgery."

The new Centers of Excellence program is being expanded from covering transplants, which began with the Mayo Clinic in 1996, to include treatment for certain heart and spine surgeries. Walmart's associates and their dependents who are enrolled in the company's medical plans will receive consultations and care covered at 100 percent without deductible or coinsurance, plus travel, lodging and food for the patient and a caregiver.

Patients must be healthy enough to travel for the surgeries.  Four of the designated health care systems -- Cleveland Clinic, Geisinger Medical Center, Scott & White Memorial Hospital and Virginia Mason Medical Center, will offer specific procedures for cardiac surgery that include open heart surgery for coronary artery bypass grafting, heart valve replacement/repair, closures of heart defects, thoracic and aortic aneurysm repair and other complex cardiac surgeries. 

Three of the health care systems -- Mercy Hospital Springfield, Scott & White Memorial Hospital and Virginia Mason Medical Center will perform spine procedures that will include cervical and lumbar spinal fusion, total disk arthroplasty, spine surgery revisions and other complex spine surgeries. Transplants will continue to be provided by the Mayo Clinic.

In providing this service at no cost to its enrolled associates, Walmart has worked with these Centers of Excellence health systems to provide exclusive and unique bundled pricing arrangements for these types of procedures.  Through Centers of Excellence, Walmart is working with all the health care organizations to collectively share best practices that will allow collaboration around best measures of service and new industry findings in comparison to industry practices.

For more on this story click here.

Industry News

NCPA’s John Goodman on Wal-Mart and Other Employers Opting for Medical Tourism

 
In Priceless, I hazarded a guess that employers could cut the cost of hospital care in half by engaging in medical tourism. It’s a variation on what is sometimes called “value-based purchasing” or “reference pricing.” In its pure form, the employer picks a low-cost, high quality facility and covers all costs there. If the employee chooses another hospital, the employee must pay the full extra cost of the more expensive choice. In Priceless, I argued that to take full advantage of the opportunities available, the patients must be willing to travel.
Several large companies are already trying the idea out. As Jim Landers explains:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation’s largest employer, will jump into medical tourism next year by offering insured employees no-cost heart and spine surgeries at Scott & White Memorial [in Temple, Texas] and seven other hospitals across the country…By using a hospital in the new narrow network, patients could save as much as $5,000 or more…
The hospitals in Wal-Mart’s network — including the Cleveland Clinic and Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pa. — have gained national reputations for both quality and value. Physicians and surgeons work under financial incentives rewarding improved patient outcomes.
To continue reading click here.

 

Industry News

AON Hewitt Survey: Consumer-Driven Health Plans Overtake HMOs



MyHealthGuide - Consumer-driven health plans (CDHP) took a leap forward last year when, for the first time, more companies offered such plans than offer HMOs, according to a survey of nearly 2,000 companies by Aon Hewitt.

Survey findings:

CDHP Plans

  • 58% of the companies surveyed offered some type of consumer-driven health plan (CDHP) last year, up from 41% the previous year
  • 34% of companies offer a CDHP with a health savings account (HSA),
  • 18% provide a CDHP with a health reimbursement account (HRA), and
  • 6% offer a CDHP without a company-sponsored savings account.
  • 38% offered an HMO, down from 41%.

PPOs

  • Preferred provider organizations (PPOs) are still more common than either CDHPs or HMOS and were offered by 79% of employers.

Exchanges

  • 2% of the companies surveyed currently provide employees with access to an exchange,
  • 26% say they are considering doing so within the next three to five years.

Maureen Fay, senior vice president and head of Aon Hewitt's CDHP working group, says the change in part reflects employers' paring back the number of their HMO offerings. "Over the past several years, employers have been doing a lot of consolidation of their HMOs," she says, citing companies that have gone from offering 50 to 100 local HMOs down to just two national carriers.

Industry News

Mercury Advisory Group Awarded Contract in Nigeria

DENVER —Mercury Advisory Group (mercuryadvisorygroup.com) says it has been awarded a contract to build a 200-hospital in Awka, Nigeria.  The first phase will include a fact-finding mission to visit the proposed building site and begin research and interviews to conduct a feasibility study and develop the concept document and a business plan for the project.  Mercury CEO, Maria Todd, says that Nigerian and American physician investors and government and tribal officials are working with side by side on plans for a private hospital to be developed in the capital city of the Ananada State.

Mercury’s role is to act as a advisors to the investors and complete the initial feasibility study, site plan concept, and business plan. Mercury Advisory Group will also assist with locating funding for the project. The hospital will be designed with the intention to quickly achieve international quality and safety accreditation and as the first private hospital in Awka. The region is plagued by more than 1000 newly diagnosed cases of HIV per day, and has many public health challenges that can be solved by a new hospital facility allowing patients to access care without traveling long distances. Awka is often seen as the state capital with the worst infrastructure in Nigeria (a country which itself is a notorious example of bad infrastructure) with less than 10% of its roads paved, inadequate storm drainage, poor public water supply, garbage dumped on the sides of roads and a nonexistent sewage system.

Three consultants from Mercury’s team of 65 consultants including Maria Todd, MHA PhD (global health expert) Arney Benson MBA (health financing expert), and Chad Reishl, MURP, LEED-AP (healthcare architect and urban & regional planning expert) will lead the first fact-finding mission to Nigeria in late November 2012. The investors hope that the new hospital will mitigate the need for emergency health travel to other countries by developing more advanced technology and clinically integrated health delivery in Nigeria. The vision includes integrated care delivery, research and medical education will be available in one center.

Officials aren't disclosing the financial terms of the deal

Industry News

Mediclinic Lobbies UAE to Change Medical Liability Law

bdlive.co.za - Private hospital group Mediclinic International is lobbying the United Arab Emirates (UAE) federal government to change its medical liability laws to reduce the risk of doctors facing criminal charges from dissatisfied patients, saying the current system is putting a damper on Dubai’s plans to become a medical tourism destination.

Mediclinic has increasingly turned to markets outside South Africa for growth, and has invested in businesses in Switzerland and Dubai, which is a popular destination for South African medical professionals.

Unlike South Africa, where medical malpractice cases are civil matters, in the UAE patients can lay criminal charges against doctors. This means doctors may be arrested and imprisoned while awaiting trial, and if convicted face jail terms and hefty fines.

The issue has come under international media scrutiny following the arrest last month of Cape Town pediatric oncologist Cyril Karabus for the alleged manslaughter of a child he treated while working as a locum in Abu Dhabi in 2002.

Without his knowledge, he was tried and convicted in absentia, without an opportunity to defend himself, sentenced to a three-and-a-half-year jail term and ordered to pay “blood money” to the child’s family. He was arrested while in transit in Dubai airport, and is currently being held in an Abu Dhabi prison infirmary awaiting retrial.

Mediclinic’s Middle East CEO, David Hadley, declined to comment on the specifics of Karabus’s case. However, he noted that the legal system in Dubai allowed patients to lay charges against doctors at their local police station, and the public prosecutor then decided whether the matter should be pursued in a criminal or civil court.  “We feel that the process is the wrong way round. The medical professionals should make the first judgment, and if criminality is proven during this process it should then be taken to the public prosecutor,” Mr. Hadley said.

“We have lobbied, and HH Princess Haya has also lobbied with the federal policy makers ... which has given the debate much credence. To date, policy makers have acknowledged the need for change, but it is still a work in progress,” he said in a telephone interview from Dubai.
Princess Haya chairs the Dubai Healthcare City, an economic free zone promoting itself as a medical tourism hub.

Hadley said 30 medical malpractice claims had been brought against Mediclinic since it opened its doors there in 2006, three of which had been taken to the police, but none had resulted in a jail term for staff.

Mediclinic advised doctors of the risks they faced when they were recruited, Hadley said, adding, “It’s discussed quite exhaustively so the message gets across. It’s not fine print, that’s for sure.”

However, South African Medical Association deputy chairman Mark Sonderup said that South African doctors were generally unaware of the medical liability risks they faced working in the UAE.

Melissa Kostler, a recruitment agent based in the region, said doctors should “spend an hour with a medical malpractice lawyer” to acquaint themselves with the potential pitfalls in the local legal system.
The Karabus family’s lawyer, Michael Bagraim, said that doctors employed by large hospitals would be protected by the institutions’ medical liability insurance, but those working on short-term locums were often not afforded this protection.

Karabus’s case is expected to be back in court on Wednesday.

Industry News

Eight Percent of Residents Seek Medical Advice Outside the UAE

gulfnews.com - Dubai: The lack of medical skills and a long waiting period are a couple of the top reasons why residents travel abroad instead of seeking treatment within the UAE, according to the latest survey conducted by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Dubai Statics Centre.

The findings, released on Tuesday, are a concern for authorities who are striving to reinforce the emirate’s status as a destination for medical tourism.

Various measures will be considered to encourage residents to seek treatment in the country, said Dr. Eldaw Sulaiman, head of Research and Performance Management, Health Policy and Strategy Department at the DHA, speaking to Gulf News.

“We will use various media channels to share information about the available services, specialties, and existing capacity of doctors, nurses and technical staff. In addition, we are currently developing a healthcare service navigator - an online tool to help anyone search for a doctor by specialty, experience and reputation. This tool will be a reality in the next few years. There are also continued efforts to increase the trust people have in our healthcare ability, and achieve excellence in healthcare service delivery through quality service programs,” he said.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

What Obama's Affordable Care Act Means for the World's Hospitals

globalpost.com - Sitting in blue scrubs in a hospital room, plastic surgeon Christian Rivera ponders a potential sea change for this Central American country’s private hospitals, triggered by healthcare reform in the US.

That’s because his profession thrives on uninsured US citizens looking for cheaper care abroad. So what happens to medical tourism when US President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act grants almost all US citizens health insurance by 2014? Rivera hopes he has a positive answer.

In June, the US Supreme Court declared the core of the reform constitutional. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, if elected, has vowed to repeal it. At the same time, overseas medical tourism representatives are searching for ways to benefit under the new law, often called “Obamacare.”

That name started out as a favorite pejorative for critics who deride what they see as a central pillar of Obama’s agenda for big government control. But now the law’s supporters have adopted the word for legislation they believe brings Americans closer than ever to universal healthcare.

But other changes could be under way. Some experts predict a doctor shortage and longer hospital waits in the US. They also foresee insurance companies extending coverage for Americans’ international medical bills. If all this is true, medical tourism will have a healthy future.

US patients obtain healthcare treatment in foreign countries well below US rates. Treatments include dental implants, hip and knee replacements or bariatric surgeries. Americans also go abroad for more complicated procedures such as heart operations and cancer treatment, or alternative therapies such as stem cell treatment unavailable at home.

Estimates vary on the size of the medical tourism industry. In December 2010, consulting firm Frost & Sullivan put the industry’s global worth at $78.5 billion. Patients Beyond Borders, a consultancy for consumer information on the sector, put it at $15 billion, counting 5 million patients worldwide in 2011.
Estimates for how many of the patients were American vary, as well, from 550,000 to 1.6 million.

In the developing world, many doctors now work like Rivera. Physicians and surgeons train at top US medical schools, return to their homeland - whether in Mexico, Central or South America, or Asia - and provide nimble treatment to anyone who can afford their care.

The economic benefits extend far beyond the doctor’s office. In Costa Rica, patients fly in to fill hospital beds, hotel rooms and spots in tour groups all on the same trip. They tend to stay longer and spend six times as much money than the average tourist, according to Promed, a Costa Rican nonprofit association representing the private health sector. American patients often bring the family, and spend their recovery at a beach resort or in a lodge in the rainforest.

In 2010, Costa Rica attracted 36,000 medical tourists - primarily US and Canadian citizens - who spent $295 million in the country, according to Promed.

To continue reading click here.

 

Industry News

Health tourism: GP surgeries selling 'black market' access to NHS

telegraph.co.uk - Surgery practice managers and ‘fixers’ have been secretly filmed selling access to doctors, enabling foreign nationals who have no legal right to free hospital treatment to be seen without paying.

Although hospitals should check if foreign patients are entitled to free National Health Service (NHS) hospital care, Panorama found many did not.

The film, Britain’s Secret Health Tourists, finds the system of checks is riddled with holes.

It shows one NHS practice manage selling patient registrations at a health center to an undercover reporter for up to £800 a time.

The reporter went on to obtain an MRI scan to which she was not legally entitled, which would have cost her £800 privately.

To continue reading click here.

 

Industry News

Memorial-Hermann Texas Medical Center Certified by the Medical Travel Commission

The Medical Travel Commission™ (MTC) has announced that Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical Center is MTC 2012 Certified, and meets the Commission's International Patient Program criteria for 2012. The International Patient Program Certification is designed to recognize organizations that provide extraordinary, best-in-class service to patients traveling across international borders for care. The Commission is an independent organization dedicated to setting standards for service excellence to international patients, and elevating the level of service quality by safeguarding patient experiences in the following areas: Communication, Customer Service, Provider Interaction, Quality Care and Medical Information Exchange.

As a MTC 2012 Certified organization, Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical Center completed an inspection process that included interviews, examination of documents and evaluation of policies and programs, and passed inspection of 100 percent of the 2012 criteria. 

"The thorough inspection process ensures that certified organizations have demonstrated their ability to deliver a positive patient experience through exceptional customer service and quality care," said Jim Tate, president of the Commission. "I'd like to congratulate Memorial Hermann - Texas Medical Center which now represents the leading edge in best-in-class service to their international patients."

The MTC Certified mark - a "seal of approval" for hospitals treating international patients - provides the benchmark for optimal patient service experiences. By looking to organizations with the MTC Certified seal, patients, embassies, medical travel facilitators and providers can reduce their risk in selecting a suitable hospital for the delivery of needed medical care.

MTC's certification criteria and its design for a certification inspection process have been thoroughly researched and vetted, taking into account industry best practices and available standards, and comparing certification processes in other industries and other countries. The inspection process is designed to rigorously compare organization practices against the special needs of international patients, including their communication, cultural and clinical needs. 

Industry News

Mercury Advisory Group Announces Arrangement to Build a Health Tourism Cluster and Cancer Hospital in Mexico

Mercury Advisory Group has developed a five- to seven-year public-private partnership project in Cuidad Juarez, Mexico, according to company CEO Dr. Maria K. Todd. “We will call upon our 65 advisers over the next five to seven years to help bring this project to fruition. Other similar projects are on the horizon in other parts of Mexico, and in Europe and Africa.”

To learn more click here.

Industry News

Ibn Al-Haytham Hospital is the first Temos-Certified hospital in Jordan


As the first hospital in Jordan and the Middle East, Ibn Al-Haytham Hospital located in Amman received the Temos Certificates "Quality in International Patients' Care" and "Excellence in Medical Tourism" for its high-class medical, non-clinical and technical services offered for national and international patients.

The two experts of the Temos assessors' team from France and Germany visited the 80-bed hospital for three days and experienced a very supportive management and highly motivated and patient staff, as well as excellent facilities.

"We highly appreciate Temos' input and their recommendations for the betterment of ourselves and to improve medical care to our patients," said Dr. Ahmed Abu Khadijah, CEO of the hospital, after the onsite inspection of the Temos assessors' team.

Based on the experience of its Arabic Patient Center established in 2006, the hospital opened an International Patient Department in 2012. So far, regional offices are in Sudan, Libya and Algeria. Further offices are planned. As a tertiary care hospital Ibn Al-Haytham offers a large variety of medical disciplines supported by sophisticated technical equipment and internationally trained doctors and nurses.

For further information please visit the Temos Hospital Guide or the hospital website http://www.ibn-alhaytham-hospital.com/Default-ar.htm

Upcoming Events

Patients Beyond Borders® CEOto Present at November Indian Medical Tourism Conference and Alliance in Hyderabad, India

Event to focus on best medical practices and regional partnerships

Chapel Hill, N.C. - Josef Woodman, CEO of Patients Beyond Borders, will be one of several renowned speakers to present at the Indian Medical Tourism Conference and Alliance (IMTCA 2012), November 2 - 3, in Hyderabad, India. Organized by i-Transition Worldwide (I) P Limited in collaboration with One Healthcare™ Worldwide and the Center for Medical Tourism Research (CMTR), the event will be held at the Park Hotel in Hyderabad, and is expected to bring together key individuals from all sectors of the international healthcare and tourism industries.

In addition to healthcare providers, regional entrepreneurs, government, and non-government organizations (NGOs), the two-day conference will also include dignitaries from thehttp://www.ficci.com/ Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Indo-American Chambers of Commerce, as well as Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad, the Health and Family Welfare Ministry of India.

“We have organized this event to augment worldwide awareness of the Indian medical tourism industry, while bringing attention to the vibrant and growing Hyderabad healthcare community,” said Varsha Lafargue, founder/chair of IMTCA. “Amidst growing international competition, it is important that India raises its place as the value destination for the medical traveler.”

Hyderabad, India’s fourth largest city, is one of the subcontinent’s leading healthcare, information technology (IT), and healthcare IT hubs, bringing together an array of medical, pharmaceutical, research and academic enterprises. Dozens of leading international hospitals make Hyderabad a preferred medical travel destination within and beyond India’s borders.

Josef Woodman will present two plenary sessions at the conference. The first, entitled "Views about Indian Medical Tourism," is slated for 11 a.m., to be followed immediately by a brief Q&A period at 11:30 a.m. His second session, entitled "Best-Practices for Marketing to the International Patient," will offer advice to Tier I and Tier II facilities.


“A Global Perspective of the Reinsurance Market & Building Trust Funds as a Financial Tool for Development” An International Conference in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Scheduled for October 24 -26, 2012

The conference is scheduled for Wednesday, October 24 to Friday, October 26 in the Dominican Republic, and will focus on the education of insurance professionals, finance and regulatory officials on the insurance and reinsurance industry, as well as emerging banking and regulations on trusts and investments. Presentations will provide an overview of reinsurance including products, history, financial, technical and regulatory information. This will include discussions on underwriting, pricing, claims processing, captive insurance companies and product development. It will also include a global perspective on reinsurance discussing North American, European, Caribbean and other international reinsurance markets, including developments and emerging products/issues.

The event will also provide opportunities for insurance and finance professionals to network with businesses in the Dominican Republic and internationally. Expected attendees include executives of companies in insurance and reinsurance, pension fund managers and banks from the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean. Other anticipated attendees will include insurance regulators and organizations servicing the insurance/reinsurance industry, as well as financial and legal professionals with expertise in implementing and managing trusts for financial planning.

The event will have keynote speakers from Aquarius Capital, Benedetto Laskay LLC, Hannover Life Reinsurance Company of America, Langa & Abinader, WorldCare International, and other international organizations specializing in insurance, reinsurance and finance. “We are excited about the event and think that this will create a great opportunity for the Dominican Republic in the insurance industry,” said Jose Flores, senior partner of LICAS, which is a sponsoring organization for the event.

Event Sponsors
The event will be held in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic with the breakout of sessions at Iberoamerican University (Universidad Iberoamericana UNIBE) with details in the attached agenda. Sponsoring organizations include Mercado Media Network, Dominican Compania de Seguro, LICAS, UNIBE (Universidad Iberoamericana), University of Michigan, and many other organizations. For a complete list of sponsors, visit http://www.crc.do. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Contact floresj@licas.net for details.

Agenda and Accommodations
The agenda and speaker bios for the meeting can be found here.


The 5th International Health Tourism Congress
Ankara, Turkey, November 18-21, 2012

Organized by the Turkey Health Tourism board, The Fifth Annual International Health Tourism Congress will be held November 18-21, 2012, in Ankara.

Participants are expected to include representatives of health organizations from Turkey and the world, government representatives, and bureaucrats from Turkey Health, Culture and Tourism Ministry.

The Congress is expected to serve as an effective background for showcasing Turkey's potential to create new business and investment opportunities with partners from neighboring nations, the Middle East, Central Asia, Balkans, Europe, North Africa and the United States.

To learn more or to register click here.

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

Bahamas plans first stem cell procedure nasguard.com - Doctors Hospital will play host to a piece of Bahamian medical history this week.

Top Bahamian doctors will perform the country's first stem cell procedure at the private hospital, essentially opening the flood gates to a cutting-edge technique with serious medical tourism potential.

The operation will also be observed by doctors from the US for research purposes.

Medical tourists to spend some $300 million in Costa Rica this year
ticotimes.net - Data released this week by the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine (PROMED) indicate that 2012 will close with a figure of 45,000 foreign tourists who chose the country for some type of medical procedure.

Health Ministry urged to supervise medical tourism jpost.com - Although medical treatment for foreign tourists could come at the expense of local patients due to already inadequate manpower and facilities, the Health Ministry does not properly supervise its implementation and has not passed relevant legislation, according to a report the Knesset’s Research and Information Center issued.

Overseas tourism hits record
globaltimes.cn - A record number of Chinese tourists travelled overseas during the eight-day Golden Week holiday from September 30 to October 7, 2012, and greatly contributed to local consumption, but shopping and visiting places of interest are not their only reasons for travel any more.

Renub Research Publishes Taiwan Medical Tourism Analysis and Forecast to 2015
Renub Research report titled "Taiwan Medical Tourism Analysis and Forecast to 2015” provides the current status and outlook of Taiwan medical tourism market survey analysis, comparison of the overall market size in Asia, Taiwan Medical tourism market covering in detail various aspects such as foreign patients’ arrivals, revenue from foreign patients change projections and cost comparison of various types of surgery in the United States, UK and Taiwan. The report also entails major drivers and challenges of Malaysia Medical Tourism Industry.    

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.