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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

Iran Popular with Omanis Seeking Medical Treatment

Nigeria Loses N80bn Annually To Medical Tourism

Medical tourism doesn't necessarily mean leaving the country to get treatment

From The Publisher

President Barack Obama Re-election: Impact on the Medical Travel Industry

Spotlight

John Conway, Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Perspectives

Medical Tourism and Workers' Compensation: What are the barriers?

Industry News

American Medical News: Wal-Mart gives major boost to domestic medical tourism movement

The Rise of Medical Tourism

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® to be Featured in Focus On™ Series

Upcoming Events

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

International Medical Travel Exhibition & Conference Slated for March 2013

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Global Health Voyager

THIS WEEK IN MEDICAL TRAVEL TODAY
Volume 6, Issue 23

by Amanda Haar, Editor

Greetings,

As millions of Americans eagerly awaited to hear who the leader of their country would be for the next four years, medical travel professionals awaited the news, but for different reasons. As explored in this issue's FROM THE PUBLISHER column, the re-election of President Barack Obama assures the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has the potential to create huge opportunities for the industry through new employer-offered medical travel options.

Also of interest to employers is the question of how medical travel could serve to keep workers' compensation costs down. Richard Krasner's PERSPECTIVES column explores both the opportunities and barriers to medical travel solutions.

Thanks to all those who expressed concern about our headquarters here in New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. Power has been restored to our area and, thankfully, we remained fully operational through it all. Our thoughts and hearts go out to all those not so fortunate.

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

Cheers,

Amanda Haar, Editor
ahaar@cpronline.com 

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From The Publisher

President Barack Obama Re-election: Impact on the Medical Travel Industry

by Laura Carabello, Executive Editor and Publisher, Medical Travel Today

With President Barack Obama reaffirmed for four more years, the medical travel community can expect an uptick of interest and support from American employers and consumers.

The fate of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now more secure. Since it is likely to remain in place, the projected volume of uninsured and underinsured Americans is expected to drop, precipitously. This opens opportunities for payers, insurers and health plans to offer some type of medical tourism benefit option that helps to achieve savings for all stakeholders.

US domestic medical travel is expected to grow, especially with the commitment of companies such as Wal-Mart, Lowe's and PepsiCo already setting the trend.

Look to the expansion of self-insurance, particularly among middle market employers who are seeking more value for their benefit plans. Medical travel programs - both domestic and international - are attractive options that offer effective solutions for cost control, particularly when combined with StopLoss insurance to alleviate the risks associated with catastrophic claims.

In this new healthcare paradigm, there is a greater focus around provider accountability, with a proliferation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) throughout the US that are directly contracting with employers. Physicians participating in ACOs that are independent of hospital ownership may be more willing to consider the suggestion of a medical travel option for patients as a means of generating cost savings that can then be shared among the providers.

The ACA is expected to compress access to primary care physicians (PCPs), evidenced by the experience in states such as Massachusetts where the average wait time for an appointment can be as long as two months. As a result, the practice of "Concierge Medicine" - also known as direct care where a patient pays an annual fee or retainer to the primary care physician - will expand as consumers seek better access to their PCPs. Concierge physicians do not necessarily have allegiance to a particular US hospital, and can opt to refer patients virtually anywhere in the world for surgery or other procedures. Estimates of US doctors now practicing concierge medicine range from fewer than <800 to 5,000+.

As the new landscape evolves, there will be a need to provide a seamless transition for workers moving from employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) to public- or private-insurance exchanges or other coverage options. Benefits payers must develop a better understanding of their customers and new capabilities to serve them, setting the stage for the introduction of medical travel programs that will enhance the product offering and provide a robust menu of quality, cost-saving options.

Healthcare reform will do little to control the problem of spiraling costs: Healthcare reform was initially conceived by the Obama team as a solution to the impending insolvency of the Medicare program in 2018 and as a means of expanding coverage to the uninsured. It has morphed into legislation primarily directed to expanding coverage for the uninsured, but is not expected to control costs. The true causes of our system's escalating healthcare costs have not been addressed directly by this legislation.

Conversely, the cost of care outside the US appears to remain stable, with savings of 50 to 80 percent on some procedures. The phenomenon of US domestic medical travel is gaining traction because US Centers of Excellence now see an opportunity to attract patients wherever they live.

Medical travel will continue to present less expensive options for quality care, and the re-election of Obama may well provide the impetus for jump-starting the process.

Spotlight

John Conway, Senior Vice President New Market and Business Development

John Conway, Cancer Treatment Centers of America


Medical Travel Today (MTT): When we spoke with Steve Bonner last year, he indicated that the average Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) patient travels 514 miles one way to reach you for care.  Is that distance about the same or are you seeing patients from even further afield?

John Conway (JC): That number isn't updated regularly but I can tell you this: it's both more and less.

I'll explain. In the middle of August this year we opened our fifth full-service hospital in Georgia. As a result, patients in the southeast US now travel significantly less to access our care. We're now two months into operating that facility, and the patient demand is about double what we anticipated. It's really pushed us -- but fortunately, as we mature as an organization, we get better and better at opening facilities and adjusting as needed.

This is a bit off the question but I want to mention that we have an internal commitment to having no less than 30 percent of the stakeholders - our term for employees - at any new facility come from our existing organization. This helps to ensure that we consistently fulfill the CTCA brand promise. Patients coming to any facility, new or established, are assured they'll get our full complement of services, experience the true and full CTCA culture, and so forth.

We're now two months into full operation in Atlanta, at two times the planned level of demand, and thrilled about it. So are our patients. Anyone in the Southeast who might have previously gone to Philadelphia or Tulsa for example, can now make a much shorter journey to Atlanta and get the same quality of care. So in that way, the distance some people are traveling to see us is definitely less.

However, at the same time we're also seeing an increasing interest in our services from patients outside the US. And the areas we're pulling from vary dramatically. We have a strong interest from western Canada for our Phoenix facility. We also have an interesting pipeline of Alaskans seeking care in Tulsa.

Our Caribbean outreach has also increased…from all the islands…many of those folks are also going to Tulsa.

So, yes, patients continue to come from great distances but the distance being traveled is less owing to new facilities.

MTT: I'm curious. What's attracting the Alaskan and Caribbean patients to Tulsa versus your other locations?

JC: Word of mouth. In the Caribbean, it started with one patient from the Bahamas who had a very positive experience in Tulsa. That led to our being introduced to an insurance network there. That then led to us attending various medical conferences and getting introduced to other insurance networks. That one patient gave us the regional presence and awareness we needed.

The story is largely the same in Alaska. We treated an individual who returned home with a positive outcome. As it turns out, benefit plans are actually quite strong in Alaska. That patient had a good outcome. The word spread, we hit the radar, and then ended up at the top of the list for care options.

Cancer patients can be huge drivers of advocacy. Many patients recover and then work within their local cancer communities - support groups and such - and spread the word.

Now, I make this next point with the maximum amount of respect. There are a number of major national cancer centers that we all know of but are sometimes difficult for a patient to get into. Our speed to care is a huge differentiator. A lot of patients with advanced disease simply can't wait. In addition, at those centers many advanced patients are frequently only considered if they do or don't fit a clinical trial. If they don't fit, they're essentially told to seek other options.

That's where we're different. We don't consider a patient based on trial fit, but on our ability to treat their cancer and help in any way we can.

I personally get a lot of queries from both facilitators and physicians seeking options outside traditional big name centers for those reasons. Our speed to care and model of care work…they make a difference.

MTT: Beyond patient referrals and word of mouth, are there other things you're doing to attract international patients?

JC: As we've matured as an organization we've extended our reach so the interest is definitely growing. I also believe that access to information on the Web is putting people in touch with more options.

In addition, we are doing some very specific outreach. Our western operation in Arizona has really strengthened the outreach in western Canada. Much of the effort is aimed at the various communities - patient groups, benefits communities, physicians, etc.

We're also making a concerted effort in Mexico with media presence and outreach in the business and patient communities. In addition, we're making a significant internal effort to make sure that we are ready to serve the population in their language and in a way that aligns with their culture and ways that they access care.

We've also entered into a number of formal partnerships in Mexico. We have just recently hosted an oncology summit in Guadalajara. Things like that raise awareness, expand our network, and typically lead to more patients learning of our services.

MTT: Those efforts all relate to bring patients to the US. Are you looking at establishing points of care outside the US?

JC:  We're currently engaged in a review of the needs for cancer care in Asia. We're very early in the effort, but Asia's need for care and population represents an opportunity to expand and serve many more patients who need options.

MTT: Asia's a pretty big nut to crack. Are there specific countries or regions you're looking at?

JC: We actually just narrowed our list down to four potential countries, and we have people in each of those countries doing research. The next thing we'll do is evaluate how people access care and examine what they're not getting and how we might fill that need.

MTT: Does that mean by building a facility or taking on a partner?

JC: We're not sure yet. Again, we're at the very beginning of a long due diligence process. If it's determined a facility is the right solution, we'll pursue it.

As for partners, we would prefer to be our own entity. Our experience to date shows that we work better, more efficiently when we work independently doing what we know.

About John Conway

John Conway joined Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) in 2007 with initial responsibility for strategic relationships with audiences, including insurance, employer, industry influencer, governmental and regulatory organizations and individuals. Consistent with the mission of CTCA, Mr. Conway helps create access to treatment for individuals through the expansion of existing, and the creation of new, relationships. Since that time Mr. Conway has expanded his role to include leadership of the Business Development and Growth Strategy functions. In 2010, he assumed an interim role as the chief marketing officer of the organization.

Prior to joining CTCA, Mr. Conway's experience was focused in the insurance industry over 26 years spent at AON Corporation and Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), the parent organization of several Blue Cross Blue Shield plans. At AON, John began as a management trainee at Combined Insurance company and progressed through many roles, primarily leading operational entities and ultimately leading all US and Canadian operations for an AON subsidiary.

Mr. Conway joined HCSC in 1997 to lead a subsidiary company, Hallmark Services Corporation, through a turn-around period. Hallmark provides full service operational support for the individual health businesses of certain Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans. He added an HCSC role in 2005 when the Senior Market Operations came under his responsibility, creating an operational portfolio approaching $2 billion in annual business. Immediately prior to joining CTCA, Mr. Conway was also leading the BCBS-IL Consumer Markets division on an interim basis.

Perspectives

Medical Tourism and Workers' Compensation: What are the barriers?

By Richard Krasner

Over the past 20 years, the average medical costs associated with lost-time workers' compensation claims have gone up dramatically. As of last year, the average medical claim cost per lost-time claim is $28,000. This figure does not take into account workers' compensation policies with high deductibles, nor does it give us any detail about what sort of medical care was provided, or whether any surgery was performed, and if so, what each surgery cost employers and their insurers.

As shown in Figure 1, the past 20 years saw a steady climb in medical claim costs for workers compensation. In 2008, medical losses represented 58 percent of all total losses. The annual percentage change per lost-time claim from 1991 - 1993 was +1.9 percent; from 1994 - 2001, it was +8.9 percent; and from 2002 - 2010, it was +6.0 percent. Despite attempts to bring them down costs, costs are now closer to $30,000 per lost-time claim, and may continue to rise in the very near future.

Given these facts, it appears that the US workers' compensation system is in need of some outside influence on costs that will provide both employers and insurers of high quality medical care at lower cost for workers who sustain injuries on the job. Much of what the workers' compensation industry is already doing to bring down costs only treats symptoms, and not the disease or the cause of the disease itself.

Implementing safety procedures and insuring the proper use of safety equipment, implementing return-to-work programs and better case management, eliminating the re-packaging of drugs by physicians and cracking down on the use of opioids, such as Percocet and Vicodin, may be beneficial in the short-term, but these measures have not made a dent in the overall rise in medical costs for lost-time claims.

Figure 1



2011: Preliminary data as of 12/31/2011
Source: National Council on Compensation Insurance, 2012

Medical tourism presents an opportunity to bring down claim costs by offering high quality healthcare at lower cost, and to open the system to competition. Both the employer and insurer will need to be pro-active in order to realize savings for their workers' compensation claims. Medical tourism could also provide an opportunity for foreign-born employees to get treatment in their home country, and in familiar surroundings, since many American workers today have emigrated to the US, mainly from Central and Latin America, as well as allow those workers not born abroad to see a part of the world they would not otherwise see.

While many of the prominent medical tourism destinations are in Asia, "rising stars" in Central and Latin America and the Caribbean, are areas that would satisfy the workers' compensation industry because of its proximity to the US mainland, and because the climate is more temperate in most of these countries compared with those in Asia. Medical tourism would not be a panacea for everyone, and would not be needed in every case, but in the long run it can be an option that employers and insurance companies can utilize in order to benefit all parties.

However, there are barriers to implementing medical tourism into the US workers' compensation system. Some of these barriers are minor issues that can be resolved by working around them, should an employer or insurance company wish to pursue medical tourism for their workers' compensation claims, as some are now doing on the group healthcare side. It is the purpose of this article to outline some of the most important barriers, and to offer some ideas as to how medical tourism can overcome these barriers, so that injured workers can receive the best medical care available, no matter where it is located.

Among the minor barriers that prevent medical tourism from being implemented are the laws about the distance between the claimant's home and the provider. This would not be a problem for medical tourism, as the best way it could be utilized would be on a secondary care level. If a treating physician recommended surgery to the injured employee, it would be up to his employer or the insurance company to have the patient go abroad for medical treatment, or if the employee so wished. The likelihood of this happening would be negligible because most injured workers would not be concerned about how much their treatment would cost, but his employer or their insurance company certainly would. Therefore, if given an option, they might suggest to the employee that this was the best course of action.

Another minor barrier is the result of entrenched interest groups, such as physicians, lawyers, pain management centers, and other parties in the workers' compensation industry that wish to avoid competition with low-cost providers. Outdated federal and state laws --intended to protect consumers but instead increasing costs and reducing convenience -- also impact medical tourism. These include: state and federal regulations that restrict public providers from outsourcing certain expensive medical procedures; federal laws that inhibit collaboration; and state licensing laws that prevent certain medical tasks from being performed by providers in other countries. Also, foreign physicians lack the authority to order tests, initiate therapies and prescribe drugs that pharmacies in the US are able to dispense.

Some laws, which should have been removed with the invention of the telephone, let alone the internet, make it illegal for a physician to consult with a patient online without an initial face-to-face meeting. It is illegal for a physician who is outside the state and who has examined the patient in person to continue treating via the internet after the patient goes home. Lastly, it is illegal in most states for a non-resident physician to consult by phone with the resident patient if the physician is not licensed to practice in that state.

This brings our discussion to the major barriers to implementing medical tourism into workers' compensation. In four of the largest workers' compensation states, California, Florida, New York and Texas, medical providers must be licensed by the state to practice medicine. Florida statutes contain a provision to allow certain foreign-trained physicians to practice in the state, but do not mention doing so outside of the state.

Washington state and Oregon have statutes or rules that allow workers to choose an attending doctor or physician in another country. Washington state's Department of Labor and Industries has a page on their website that allows workers to find an attending physician in the US, Canada, Mexico, as well as countries outside of North America such as England, Germany, Honduras, New Zealand, the Philippines, Spain, Thailand and Ukraine. Oregon's statutes recognize the right of the worker to choose an attending doctor in another country with the prior approval of the insurer or self-insured employer. For this to be realized in other states, insurance companies, employers, business groups, unions and even workers' rights organizations must get involved and lobby their state legislatures to change or amend their laws.

It would seem that medical tourism has already made some inroads into the US workers' compensation system. Issues of licensing and other barriers mentioned above are not insurmountable, and can be overcome with reasonable ease if medical tourism is conducted through medical tourism facilitators working in conjunction with employers and insurers. One more likely scenario would involve self-insured employers who may or may not be currently utilizing medical tourism for their group healthcare plan, and wish to realize savings for both their healthcare and workers' compensation costs.

The last major barrier to incorporating medical tourism into workers' compensation is the issue of employee vs. employer choice of treating physician. State Workers' Compensation laws recognize four different categories of choice of physicians: Employer Only, Employer/Insurer, Employee/Employer and Employee Only.

Employer Only is self-explanatory; Employer/Insurer means that either the employer or his insurance carrier can choose the treating physician for the claimant. Employee/Employer means that the employee has the choice to choose the treating physician, or failing to do so, gives that right to his employer. Employee Only means that the employee can choose his physician.

Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the majority of states allow some form of employer choice as described above, and as indicated in Figure 2. As seen in Table 1, choice of physician is marked by an ‘X' under each category, for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Figure 2

Table 1

The percentage of states for each category is shown below in Figure 3. The majority of states, 48 percent, recognize Employee choice, but if you add together the Employer Only, Employer/Insurer and Employee/Employer categories, the majority of states, 54 percent, would favor employer choice in whole or in part.

Figure 3

What this all means for medical tourism is this: the best approach to take in implementing medical tourism into the US workers' compensation system is to get employers to choose it as an option for their injured employees who will need secondary treatment, i.e., surgery that would be more expensive in the US, but at a much lower and more reasonable cost and better quality in fully accredited hospitals in medical tourism destinations.

For self-funded employers, especially those already using medical tourism as an option for their employees' healthcare plan, doing the same with their workers' compensation claims will allow them to realize considerable savings in workers' compensation costs, as they are already realizing in their healthcare costs. Employers, who are getting coverage on healthcare for their employees through the commercial market, will want to approach their workers' compensation carriers to get them on board with a medical tourism option. Some commercial insurance companies that provide both healthcare coverage and workers' compensation coverage would be the best companies to work with in this regard.

If there is some resistance on the part of employers and their insurers because of state workers' compensation laws then a concerted effort to amend, remove or change these laws will need to be considered, not just by a few companies, but across the board in the business world. To do anything less would be to allow the status quo to continue and to see medical costs for workers' compensation claims to rise even higher when there is a viable and reasonable alternative available within a relatively short distance from the US mainland in Central and Latin America, and the Caribbean. Only time will tell if US employers and insurance companies will be open to implementing medical tourism into workers' compensation. Conservative solutions, already tried and not yielding much success in bringing down medical claim costs, will have to give way to more "radical" solutions such as medical tourism, which when thoughtfully considered, is not that radical after all.

To read Krasner's White Paper on "Implementing International Medical Providers into Medical Provider Networks for Workers' Compensation," go to the following link: https://www.box.com/s/77inqpo9pa91y6rxt133

 About Richard Krasner

Krasner earned a master's in Health Administration (MHA) from Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla., in December 2011, a Master of Arts (MA) from New York University, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) from SUNY Brockport.

He has worked in the insurance and risk management industry for more than 30 years in New York, Florida and Texas in the Claims and Risk Management spheres, primarily in Workers' Compensation Claims, Auto No-Fault and Property & Casualty Claims Administration and Claims Management. In addition, he has experience in Risk and Insurance Business Analysis, Risk Management Information Systems, and Insurance Data Processing and Data Management.

Krasner is available for speaking engagements and consulting.

Phone: 561-738-0458
Cell: 561-603-1685
Email: richard_krasner@hotmail.com
Skype: richardkrasner

Industry News

American Medical News: Wal-Mart gives major boost to domestic medical tourism movement

The retailer joins the ranks of companies sending employees to hospitals far from home in the name of less expensive and better care.

ama-assn.org - A small but growing number of US corporations are offering their insured employees the option of undergoing certain procedures at highly ranked health systems across America at almost no out-of-pocket cost to them - travel included.

The companies believe sending heart and spine patients elsewhere would result in improved care for patients and lower costs for employers. Although companies are just getting started in pushing what is often called domestic medical tourism, analysts say it's something doctors should keep an eye on. Physicians may find patients bypassing them on the way to health systems elsewhere. Others may be handling pre- and post-care for procedures performed hundreds or thousands of miles away.

"We're going to see a lot more of this," said Simon Hudson, Ph.D., director of the SC Center of Economic Excellence in Tourism and Economic Development at the University of South Carolina and an expert on medical tourism. "And if physicians cannot compete on price, then they are going to have to compete on quality and exceptional customer service if they are going to keep patients."

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

The Rise of Medical Tourism

Ethical, legal issues when people travel to other nations for healthcare

Harvard Gazette - Harvard Law School (HLS) assistant professor I. Glenn Cohen lay on a table in a South Korean hospital and tried to relax as a worker wearing a white shirt and black pants methodically drove his elbow into Cohen's back.

The massage-like form of chiropractic therapy was anything but relaxing, Cohen recalled. "It was the most rigorous massage I've ever had. There was no informed consent. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, my God, are they going to break my back?' "

Fortunately, Cohen, who recently visited the hospital while researching a new book and was a willing test subject, left with his back intact and with fresh insights about medical tourism. The hospital, one of many springing up worldwide to attract foreign clients, specializes in combining Eastern and Western approaches to medicine.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

Cancer Treatment Centers of America® to be Featured in Focus On™ Series

Leading US cancer treatment hospitals to be showcased in new, popular digital publication series focused on Mexico and Latin America

Chapel Hill, NC - November 13, 2012: Patients Beyond Borders® (PBB) is pleased to announce the official release of FOCUS ON: Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA), profiling one of the world’s leading cancer hospital networks dedicated to treating patients with complex and advanced-stage cancer.

This FOCUS ON publication will provide international healthcare consumers in-depth information on the hospitals’ unique cancer treatment approach; top doctors and their specialties; quality and patient loyalty achievements as well as patient case studies and travel information.

Founded in 1988 by Richard J. Stephenson and grounded in its own patient-focused principles of the Mother Standard® of care, CTCA has grown from a single, comprehensive treatment center in suburban Chicago to a network of regional medical centers across the US, including Philadelphia, PA; Tulsa, OK; Goodyear, AZ; and, most recently, Newnan, GA.

The Southeastern Regional Medical Center (SRMC), located in metropolitan Atlanta, officially opened August 15, 2012. Like all CTCA centers, this 226,000-square-foot facility is a fully digital hospital focused on complex and advanced-stage cancer. Each Center offers options in comprehensive cancer care for patients and their families throughout Mexico, North, Central and South America.

“We are pleased to be part of the Patients Beyond Borders Focus On series,” said CTCA president and CEO Stephen Bonner. “Patients trust Patients Beyond Borders to inform them about high quality, U.S. based care. PBB’s partnership will allow us to offer our patient-centered, integrative treatment approach to individuals fighting cancer outside the US borders, and to our neighbors in Mexico and throughout Latin America.”

CTCA is accredited by leading organizations including The Joint Commission, American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, College of American Pathologists, and American College of Radiology. Its comprehensive and integrative approach to fighting cancer incorporates the most current versions of traditional methods such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. CTCA also includes comprehensive supportive therapies such as nutritional counseling, naturopathic medicine, mind-body medicine, oncology rehabilitation, pain management, and spiritual support to help patients manage side effects and improve quality of life.

Focus On: Cancer Treatment Centers of America will be available in both English and Spanish editions, and will be introduced as part of a global communication initiative to international cancer patients in Mexico, Canada, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Healthcare consumers will be able to access FOCUS ON: Cancer Treatment Centers of America from a variety of sources including the Patients Beyond Borders website, CTCA website, Kindle, GooglePlay, iBooks and other eBook readers, iPhone and other mobile devices, medical, business, and reference libraries worldwide, and all popular social networks.

“Expanding its program to the international patient is a natural progression of CTCA’s vision to offer a holistic approach to cancer care to everyone, everywhere,” says Josef Woodman, CEO of Patients Beyond Borders. “CTCA’s wide array of treatment offerings will particularly appeal to cultures outside the US that are well-acquainted with integrated strategies of care.”

Upcoming Events

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.


International Medical Travel Exhibition & Conference Slated for March 2013

The first truly global exhibition and conference dedicated to medical travel is slated for March 22-23, 2013, at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.

Designed to provide a unique opportunity to discuss the latest trends and developments in the medical travel world, IMTEC 2013 offers a combination of exclusive presentations, case studies and panel discussions. Delegates will be able to gain adoptable and sustainable models that can be implemented into an organization directly after the conference.

To learn more about exhibiting or attending visit IMTEC 2013.

To download the show brochure, please 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

Iran Popular with Omanis Seeking Medical Treatment

muscatdaily.com - The number of Omani nationals visiting Iran for medical tourism is on the rise with around 5,000 Omanis seeking treatment in the country every year, according to officials at the Iranian Embassy in Muscat.

Nigeria Loses N80bn Annually To Medical Tourism

osundefender.org - The Senate, yesterday, said that the N80bn spent annually by Nigerians seeking better medical treatment abroad was no longer acceptable. It also warned that the Presidency must match words with action in overhauling the health sector.

Medical tourism doesn't necessarily mean leaving the country to get treatment

washingtonpost.com - I assumed that palm trees or streets teeming with foreign humanity were in my future as I began a quest to find a hip replacement at a price I could afford.

Because my severe osteoarthritis was deemed a preexisting condition, my insurance carrier would not pay for the surgery, so money was definitely an object.

Yet, after exploring so-called medical tourism options in Thailand, India, Hungary and Dubai, I settled on nothing so exotic. With rates that rival overseas alternatives, Oklahoma City beckoned me. It seems it has become a medical tourism hot spot.

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.