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© 2011 Medical Travel Today

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

Publisher, Laura Carabello

Table of Contents

From the Editor

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

News in Review

Medical tourism to hurt healthcare

Las Vegas faces uphill battle in becoming medical tourism destination

Stem cell banking: The newest lure in medical tourism

Surgery Milestone Opens Door For Medical Tourism

Local hospitals struggle with larger out-of-town competition

Medical Tourism in Jordan Hit by Arab Spring

Spotlight

Patients Beyond Borders and Medeguide Form Strategic Alliance

Spotlight

Dr. Neilesh Patel, HealthSouk, Part Two

Industry News

Forbes reports on "New Medical Tourism Hub Being Built in Abu Dhabi"

South Korea Logs First Surplus in Health Tourism Account

Bogota to Construct Massive Medical Tourism Center

Global Health Voyager Announces Development of Medical Tourism Smartphone App

Health Travel Technologies Signs Patient Referral and Management Licensing Partnership with Orbicare Latin American Health Care Network

MyHealthGuide Examines "Medical Travel: International, Domestic and AMA Policy"

Jeju Healthcare Town project moving smoothly

IHT World Launches Dental Tourism Services

New Glossary Helps Employers Take the First Steps to a Healthier Workforce

Upcoming Events

Costa Rican Medical Tourism Conference in San Jose, Costa Rica April 22-26

Vancouver scores a hat trick in Medical Congress bid wins

3rd International Forum "Healthy Nation 2012" Ukraine Slated for February 15-17, 2012, in Kiev

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

WELL-BEING TRAVEL CONFERENCE
2012 OPENS REGISTRATION

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Global Health Voyager

THIS WEEK IN MEDICAL TRAVEL TODAY
Volume 6, Issue 3

by Amanda Haar, Editor

Greetings,

For the first-time ever, both of our SPOTLIGHT stories deal with organizations focused on using the internet to provide consumers with a concise yet robust resource of options for their specific healthcare needs. While one is specialty-driven and currently US-based, the other is global and all-encompassing in terms of type of care and location options. Despite the differences in approach, it appears both will be extremely effective at serving the needs of consumers and providers (i.e. win-win).

And as a reminder, we are in the process of compiling a story on the changing roles of medical travel facilitators. (see box below this letter for more information.) If you are interested in being featured please get in touch.
As always, we welcome your comments, story ideas and press releases.

Cheers,

Amanda Haar, Editor
ahaar@cpronline.com 

Attention Medical Travel Facilitators

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

To be considered, please send an email with ‘Facilitator' Story in the subject line to: editor@medicaltraveltoday.com

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 onto www.medicaltraveltoday.com

Spotlight

Patients Beyond Borders and Medeguide Form Strategic Alliance

Ruben Toral
Josef Woodman

Editor's Note: The recent news of the strategic alliance between Patients Beyond Borders®, the world's leading source of consumer and industry information about international health travel, and Medeguide™, caught my interest. A seemingly great marketing tool for providers and facilities and a much-needed resource for consumers considering medical travel, I thought the partnership worthy of a little more exploration and understanding. Thankfully both Josef Woodman and Ruben Toral were available and willing to share some additional insight into this unique alliance.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): What brought Patients Beyond Borders and Medeguide together?

Josef Woodman (JW): Aside from market opportunity, our companies have worked with each other for many years, with shared clients and parallel projects. We possess the trust and shared experience essential to any successful strategic relationship.

MTT:  Why is it important to have the best hospitals and the best doctors on one searchable site?

JW:  As consumer demand increases for quality, affordable options in healthcare, along with the rising volume of international medical treatment alternatives, so does the number of start-up third parties, poorly managed information portals and so on.  Patients Beyond Borders and Medeguide formed this alliance to provide a one-stop shop for branded, trusted, vetted information on top doctors and leading international hospitals around the world, searchable by facility, practitioner, specialty, procedure and destination.

MTT: How will patients access this information?

Ruben Toral (RT): Healthcare consumers will be able to access the international doctor directory, as well as information on destinations and procedures, view doctor profiles, request appointments and read real patient stories through both the existing Medeguide and Patients Beyond Borders websites. Access via mobile and light devices will follow. Patients accessing either site will seamlessly navigate through the easily searchable pages where they will have access to a rich offering of content and data required to make important, often life changing, medical decisions.  

MTT: You've said the market is currently underserved. Can you elaborate?

RT: There's a huge need to connect the rapid rise in quality healthcare with the "affluence boom," particularly in North, South and Southeast Asia, where two billion people will rise into the Middle Class over the next few years. Online applications that originated in the US-such as eTrade, TripAdvisor, Facebook-quickly migrated around the world. The very robust healthcare ecosystem outside the US will soon adopt online and mobile applications as well, where models already exist in the US in the form of Healthgrades, ZocDoc, WebMD. We have a jump on a market where barriers to entry are formidable.

MTT: Is your alliance unique?

JW: Yes. While many online opportunities exist to connect patients with certified healthcare providers and top facilities in the US through the likes of US News & World Report's Best Hospitals, currently no enterprise offers a comprehensive, branded listing of medical facilities and doctors throughout Asia, Latin America, Europe and the US.  Merging our respective product lines creates a robust offering that allows patients everywhere to search hundreds of leading international hospitals and thousands of the world's best doctors without having to visit multiple websites or access multiple points of contact.

MTT:  Will this alliance change Patients Beyond Borders current model?

JW: No.  Patients Beyond Borders will continue to serve as international health travel's "neutral overseer" providing independent, trusted third party information and data to healthcare consumers and industry leaders. We will continue to publish books, eBooks, apps, videography and online information on medical and wellness travel. Likewise, Medeguide will continue to build on its enviable base of top, vetted doctors and surgeons worldwide.   

MTT:  How will this alliance be beneficial to the global healthcare sector?

RT:  By being the best game in town.  Providers, carriers and healthcare third parties alike are struggling in today's economy competing for their slice of the global healthcare pie while working with smaller budgets and a reduced work force.   By creating one entity, we focus our core efforts on helping healthcare providers deploy new, cost-efficient technologies, implement new communications and transactional tools, and cultivate patient relationships through social networking and mobile device applications.  At the same time, we will continue to provide consumers with the most trusted brands for healthcare search and purchase decision-making. 

MTT: When will patients have access to the benefits of your new alliance?
RT: Early summer of this year. Stay tuned.

About Josef Woodman
Josef Woodman, CEO and author of Patients Beyond Borders, has spent more than five years touring 150 medical facilities in 30 countries, researching medical tourism and global healthcare. Woodman's pioneering background in health, publishing, and web technology has allowed him to compile a wealth of information about global health travel, telemedicine, and consumer-directed healthcare demand. Woodman is an outspoken advocate of affordable, high-quality medical care for healthcare consumers worldwide.

About Ruben Toral
Ruben Toral,founder and CEO of Medeguide,is a recognized expert in healthcare marketing, medical tourism, and healthcare globalization. Toral, former group marketing director for Bumrungrad International Hospital and past president of the International Medical Travel Association, has more than 17 years of experience working with doctors and physician networks around the world.

Spotlight

Dr. Neilesh Patel, HealthSouk, Part Two

Dr. Neilesh Patel, Strategic Director, HealthSouk

 

Editor's Note: The founder of HealthCare Volunteer and HealthCare Tourism International (now-defunct), Neilesh Patel has a long-standing interest in global healthcare. He recently stepped firmly back into the medical industry with the launch of HealthSouk, an online marketplace for dental services.

Medical Travel Today had the opportunity to speak with him regarding his re-entry into the industry and his vision for HealthSouk.

This is Part Two of that conversation. Part One can be found in Issue 2 of Medical Travel Today or by clicking here.

 MTT: How do you go about recruiting dentists to participate, and how hard is the sell?

NP: It's not hard. There's absolutely no downside to signing up.

We currently have a provider relations team that contacts doctors directly. They explain HealthSouk, answer questions and do the basic training on how to create a profile and update pricing, and so on. In addition, doctors are going to the website, www.healthsouk.com, and signing themselves up. Again, it's pretty easy to get doctors interested in someone bringing them more patients at no cost. We've been signing up providers for the last four months and have a built a presence in ten targeted metro areas - Houston, Dallas, San Francisco, LA, New York… and a few others are in the works. And that's just in the first 90 days!

Again, it's not a hard sell. What dentist doesn't want more patients with no fees attached for recruiting them?

Plus they have complete control over their fees and personal profiles. Our system updates every sixty seconds so if they want to up their rates or take them down ten times a day, they can do that. We also send reminders to doctors to take a look at their fee schedule so that we and our patients are sure it's current.

MTT: So the obvious question then is how are you making money?

NP: There's a service charge for each booking or reservation made similar to Ticketmaster or other ticket booking services. It may become a percentage in the future, along the lines of Groupon or LivingSocial.

MTT: But isn't your service for one-off needs? A one-time booking fee doesn't sound like a way to make a lot of profit.

NP: We're not looking for one-off patients. We're looking to build a relationship with patients using the HealthSouk Dental Wellness Plan™. HealthSouk has a Wellness Plan that includes automated reminders to patients based on the procedure they have previously had, and suggests treatments and even new dental products that could benefit them. So, if a patient had a deep cleaning done, we'll send him or her three-, four-, or six-month reminders based on need. We will send automated suggestions on what to ask their doctor about. If a new dental procedure, service or even an oral hygiene product comes out, we'll contact the patient so that the patient can be proactive about their dental needs. The idea is that we won't book a patient just once, but will become their long-term partner and advisor.

The second concept is the patients go for an exam and X-ray. Maybe they like that doctor - great - but maybe not. People are willing to jump around. The third concept is if patients purchases on our system, we give them automated reminders - customized to their personal dental needs - something most dentists often don't have time to send themselves other than for basic appointment reminders. We also send reminders for deep cleaning. We are effectively putting dental care back into the patient's hands using the HealthSouk Dental Wellness Plan. The Plan works great when you purchase your treatment on HealthSouk, so many patients who want to see their dental costs actually decrease each year will use HealthSouk for every dental need so that their purchases integrate well with our dental wellness plan.

MTT: How are you attracting patients?

NP: They seem to be finding us. We've had over 10,000 patients sign up already. There are a 110 million people in the United States without dental insurance. Consumers are looking for ways to save money and, consequently, they're finding us. There are over 200 million people who could benefit from our service by dropping their dental insurance and using HealthSouk instead.

MTT: What are you plans for expansion?

NP: We are currently building our base in California, Nevada and Texas, and our next step will be assisting patients across the entire country. Concurrently, we plan to expand our operations into Brazil, Dubai and India.

We started serious discussions with two venture capital groups last week so I expect things will move along rather quickly.

About Neilesh Patel

Dr. Neilesh Patel is the Founder of HealthSouk, a software engineer and a U.S.-based practicing dentist. At age 17, he founded StudentsHelp.org Consulting, the world's largest student-run volunteer computer consulting organization, which ultimately served millions of people and non-profits worldwide. From 1997 - 2002, Mr. Patel worked at over a dozen technology companies such as Netscape (acquired by AOL Time Warner) and OnePage (acquired by Sybase). From 2002 - 2004, Mr. Patel worked in regulatory affairs at Medtronic Inc. He currently has several medical device patents pending with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). He has been featured on CNN and in several dozen print publications, including Financial Times, New York Times, S.F. Examiner and The Columbus Dispatch.

Industry News

Forbes reports on "New Medical Tourism Hub Being Built in Abu Dhabi"

Text Box: Editor's Note: forbes.com released a story last week on the Cleveland Clinic's new medical center in Abu Dhabi and surrounding hospitality facilities. Medical Travel Today will feature an interview with a representative of the new Clinic in an upcoming issue.

To read the forbes.com story click here.

Industry News

South Korea Logs First Surplus in Health Tourism Account

Yonhapnews.co.kr - South Korea posted the first surplus in its medical travel account in 2011 thanks to increased spending by overseas travelers seeking healthcare and medical services in the country, the central bank said Tuesday.

According to the Bank of Korea (BOK), South Korea's income from medical tourism stood at US$116 million in 2011, the highest since data started being kept in 2006.

The income outpaced local residents' overseas spending on medical travel in the same year for the first time, which amounted to $109 million.

To continue reading, please click here.

Industry News

Bogota to Construct Massive Medical Tourism Center

colombiareports.com -Bogota will construct a medical tourism center at a cost of $19 million, reported economic paper Portfolio Monday.

The construction of the Bosque Beauty Garden Hotel & Medical Center in Bogota aims to boost the country's health and beauty tourism, the builder told Portfolio.

Cosmetic surgery will be a major part of services offered, with five-star accommodation for visitors alongside shops, green space and conference rooms.

The project is expected to begin next March and is the result of a partnership between the spa company Altos de Bosque and construction company Ricam. The health center and adjacent hotel will cover 52,000 square feet.

The complex with be the first of its kind in Colombia and aims to satisfy the reportedly growing demand for health and beauty tourism. According to the Medellin-based cluster group of Medicine and Dentistry and the Cali Chamber of Commerce, 18,000 people sought out health tourism in 2010. Ten thousand of those people were foreigners, mainly from Curacao, Aruba, Suriname, the United States and Spain.

According to Colombia's Trade Ministry, the most popular treatments sought by visitors are heart surgery (41%), general surgery (13%), gastric band surgery (10%), plastic surgery (10%), cancer treatment (6%), orthopedic treatment (4%), dental care (2%) and eye care (1%).

 

Industry News

Global Health Voyager Announces Development of Medical Tourism Smartphone App

MARKETWIRE via COMTEX - Global Health Voyager, Inc. (GLHV -18.37%), a publicly-traded, full-service, international medical tourism company, today announced that it has begun development of a medical tourism-related smart phone application (the "App").

The App is being designed to allow potential patients to select a procedure that they may need in the near future, ranging from minor cosmetic surgery to major procedures such as hip replacement. The App will then offer the patient comparisons of the average cost of the procedure domestically compared to several overseas destinations at accredited hospitals. The patient will have the option to learn more about specific hospitals and other related accommodations through rich content, including medical specialties and videos. If the patient chooses, he will be assigned a case manager to take him through the process of reviewing options and ultimately booking the procedure, along with travel and accommodations, all through Global Health Voyager.

"In today's healthcare environment, patients are taking greater control over their medical decisions. They are aware of available domestic and international options. In many cases it benefits the patient to have a procedure done elsewhere, after weighing the cost, recovery time and quality of service," said Ali Moussavi, CEO of Global Health Voyager.

Global Health Voyager continues to add state-of-the-art medical facilities to its network, providing patients with a comprehensive list of institutions worldwide where they can seek high quality medical care. The primary variable is the level of care followed by the cost associated with the trip and the procedure. An added benefit of medical travel is the fact that the patient and his/her companion(s) will be able to take advantage of luxurious accommodations for recuperation, as well as attractive opportunities for sightseeing and relaxation.

 

Industry News

Health Travel Technologies Signs Patient Referral and Management Licensing Partnership with Orbicare Latin American Health Care Network

PRWEB - Few would argue that the US healthcare system is sick, and physician-founded Orbicare of Miami is betting that Silicon Valley's Health Travel Technologies (HTT) has the cure with its global patient referral application.

The partnership between Orbicare and Health Travel Technologies connects US patients with international doctors like never before, saving thousands on the cost of necessary and cosmetic medical, dental and surgical care.

HTT is the creator of Inpatra™, the world's most comprehensive global patient referral and management application. HTT has signed a licensing agreement with Orbicare, a leader in international patient referral, to host its comprehensive portfolio of medical services.

The partnership will provide English- and Spanish-speaking US patients and employers with high quality healthcare alternatives across Latin America and Europe, including medical and dental travel programs in Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Spain and Turkey.

"HTT helps international healthcare networks work directly with US patients and employers to provide much needed access to affordable healthcare," said Health Travel Technologies CEO Herb Stephens.

"In addition to high quality, high value medical care, an added bonus for American patients and employers is the proximity and safety of the Orbicare healthcare network," said Stephens.

"Orbicare searched for the right partner for more than a year," says Teresa Arenas, Chief Operations Officer for Orbicare. "We chose HTT for its comprehensive technology, unmatched experience and dedicated people.
"The Inpatra™ international patient referral and management application provides Orbicare with the hosted business processes we need, so that we can focus our resources on our strengths: providing personalized, quality medical services to US patients and employer benefits plans, especially during this time of rapid expansion."

HTT is the largest technology and services company in the health information technology space, processing more than one million international travelers representing more than $500 million in financial transactions per year, with health travel representing double digit year-over-year growth.

Industry News

MyHealthGuide Examines "Medical Travel: International, Domestic and AMA Policy"

Editor's Note: MyHealthGuide is an online newsletter for the self-funded community that "promotes and advances healthcare management, financing and compliance for the self-funded community." To subscribe to MyHealthGuide at no cost, visit myhealthguide.com

Medical tourism provides Americans international access to medical procedures at a fraction of the cost when the procedure is performed stateside. This article excerpts and comments on recent articles reviewing the pros and cons of international and domestic medical facilities along with excerpts from the American Medical Association policy on international care.

"Recent SIIA conferences have presented international medical travel," says Allison Repke, Director of Operations for Global Medical Conexions, an International Select Provider Organization that facilitates medical travel for the group health market. "The interest level in medical travel continues to increase as US health cost rises.

"A group can analyze experience data to understand which high-dollar claims have the greatest impact on the plan. While it is not advisable to travel for all major medical procedures, there are some high-cost procedures that could be outsourced to an international provider for a fraction of the US retail cost."

Repke recommends the following procedures as medical travel candidates:

  • Orthopedic
  • Gastrointestinal (such as Bariatric surgery)
  • Cardiovascular
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Hearing
  • Cosmetic surgery

Medical travel features:

  • Lower stop-loss premiums and aggregate factors can be significant
  • No waiting times or referrals required
  • Access to desired care that might otherwise require a long wait time
  • One of the fastest growing emerging markets

5 Most Critical Considerations for Medical Travel

In his white paper, "Increase Profitability by Offering a Medical Travel Benefit", Jeff Carter, CEO, HealthGlobe International, LLC, provides the five most critical considerations for implementing a medical travel benefit.

  1. Use a Medical Travel Facilitator: Medical travel facilitators have established working relationships with many hospitals. They can help narrow the choice of hospitals and locations in order to create the most compelling benefit, as well as which procedures to cover.
  2. Offer Accredited Hospitals: There are many hospital accreditation programs in use around the world. All stakeholders should be involved in this discussion to be sure the plan hospitals are accredited by a respected accreditation organization.
  3. Optimize Plan Design: Take the extra time to make sure the medical travel benefit is well-designed. Offer procedures that will create substantial cost savings and provide members with equal or better outcomes than they get at home. Analyzing utilization history can help target the best procedure categories to cover.
  4. Incentivize Utilization: Utilization of a medical travel benefit is highly dependent on incentive programs. The most successful plans have crafted innovative incentives that strongly encourage members to consider the medical travel option, not just on the basis of cost but also on the basis of educating themselves on their provider choices and seeking out the best result.
  5. Educate Members: Even more important than utilization is a well-articulated educational program to make members aware of the medical travel benefit. Experience clearly shows that when a thorough educational component is included in a medical travel benefit, utilization rates increase dramatically.

"Our goal is to identify the highest quality medical care worldwide and make that care available to individuals and businesses in the United States, at globally-competitive rates," says Carter. "Our policies and procedures are centered on patient advocacy and quality outcomes, and our practices are driven by Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that ensure a consistent and positive patient experience for each of our individual clients."

Domestic Medical Travel

Leading healthcare providers in the US have responded to growth in international medical travel by positioning themselves as viable domestic travel destinations. In her article, "Domestic Medical Tourism", American Medical News, Victoria Stagg Elliott argues that international medical travel "never took off." As a result, "Some employers are looking closer to home as a means of controlling health care costs and improving outcomes.

"Although there is no exact recorded number of patients traveling elsewhere for care, the percentage of employees doing so appears to be very small," says Elliott.

Out of $2.5 trillion spent annually on healthcare, only $600 million is spent on medical travel.

Lowe's had 38 medical travel participants out of 234,000 employees. (That's less than two per 10,000.)

"In 2011, self-funded 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," says Elliott.

Lowe's and PepsiCo Introduce Domestic Tourism Options

Lowe's has 234,000 employees and many more dependents covered by its self-funded health insurance plan, according to the 2010 annual report. The company announced Feb. 16, 2010, that heart surgeries at Cleveland Clinic will be an employee benefit. PepsiCo's US employees will have the option of traveling to Johns Hopkins for cardiac and joint-replacement surgeries. The program covers about 250,000 employees and dependents. Both companies may expand their domestic medical tourism programs to cover other procedures.

"We want people to have choices," said Kyle Wendt, Lowe's Director of Benefits. "That's really what the goal of this program is."

Lowe's considered hospitals in Mexico, but went for Cleveland Clinic when it became clear that domestic travel would get more buy-in from workers. "A lot of our employees live in rural areas," Wendt said. "Going to Cleveland is a big decision for them, but much more compelling."

Bruce Monte, Senior Director of PepsiCo's Health and Welfare Benefits, said: "In providing access to surgical excellence, we expect the best outcomes in terms of care and recovery. For employees, we want to make what can be a challenging experience go as well as possible. The arrangement also offers predictability of cost for PepsiCo as procedures are part of a bundled rate -- an all-inclusive rate for hospital and physician charges and certain preoperative testing. We're not intently focused on cost savings, but rather clinical outcomes."

"Everybody thinks their physician is above average, but they are not," said Terry White, President of BridgeHealth Medical, a healthcare tourism company based in Denver. "We're going to have a lot more emphasis on quality. Before, patients went where their referring doctor said they should go. Now, you have companies cutting these kinds of deals. Companies want to save money, and there's a recognition that some places are consistently doing better than others."

AMA Policy on International Medical Service

American Medical Association policy was presented in its June 2008 report from the AMA Council on Medical Service. Policy excerpt:

"That our AMA advocates that employers, insurance companies, and other entities that facilitate or incentivize medical care outside the US adhere to the following principles:

(a) Medical care outside of the US must be voluntary.

(b) Financial incentives to travel outside the US for medical care should not inappropriately limit the diagnostic and therapeutic alternatives that are offered to patients, or restrict treatment or referral options.

(c) Patients should only be referred for medical care to institutions that have been accredited by recognized international accrediting bodies (e.g., the Joint Commission International or 36 the International Society for Quality in Health Care).

(d) Prior to travel, local follow-up care should be coordinated and financing should be arranged to ensure continuity of care when patients return from medical care outside the US.

(e) Coverage for travel outside the US for medical care must include the costs of necessary follow-up care upon return to the US.

(f) Patients should be informed of their rights and legal recourse prior to agreeing to travel outside the US for medical care.

(g) Access to physician licensing and outcome data, as well as facility accreditation and outcomes data, should be arranged for patients seeking medical care outside the US.

(h) The transfer of patient medical records to and from facilities outside the US should be consistent with HIPAA guidelines.

(i) Patients choosing to travel outside the US for medical care should be provided with information about the potential risks of combining surgical procedures with long flights and vacation activities.

MyHealthGuide Sources:

Allison Repke, Director of Operations, Global Medical Conexions, "How International Medical Travel Can Work for You", January 2012, The Self-Insurer Article, 1/2012

Jeff Carter, CEO, HealthGlobe International, LLC, White Paper

Victoria Stagg Elliott, "Domestic Medical Tourism", American Medical News, 1/9/2012, AMN Article

Industry News

Jeju Healthcare Town project moving smoothly

Ten years have passed since the ‘Jeju Special Act' to make Jeju a free international city was implemented. The Jeju Free International City Development Center (JDC) was founded the following year. Since then JDC has designed six projects to build a foundation for Jeju Free International City, including the Jeju Healthcare Town project.

According to Korean medical tourism industry sources, 60,201 overseas travelers visited Korea for medical purposes in 2009, pumping up profits by KRW54.7 billion. The number increased by 36% to 81,789 in 2010.

In November 2011, the Ministry of Health and Welfare signed an agreement with the Abu Dhabi Health Authority to help Korea's four medical institutions entice patients. Abu Dhabi provides public funds to 3,000 patients annually to seek appropriate treatment overseas. The agreement is expected to fuel a boom in Korea's top-quality medical services in the Middle East.

To build on this momentum, JDC has stepped up efforts to make Jeju, home to more than one million overseas visitors in 2011, a global hub for medical tourism based on its Jeju Healthcare Town project.

JDC is a state-owned company established under the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs to turn Jeju into a free international city, like Hong Kong and Singapore. It is developing six projects - Jeju Global Education City, Jeju Healthcare Town, Jeju Science Park, Resort-type Residential Complex, Myths and History Theme Park and Seogwipo Tourism Port - to achieve this goal.

Recently, several Chinese real estate firms expressed their intention to join the Jeju Healthcare Town project, helping it proceed smoothly. This brightens the future of Jeju as the Asian hub for medical tourism.

JDC selected ‘Seowoo-Zhong Da Real Estate  (Seowoo) consortium' as the preferred bidder for the Jeju Healthcare Town project on December 7. The Seowoo consortium, which consists of Neulproon Medical Foundation (Bobath Memorial Hospital), Seowoo Co., Ltd., Zhong Da Real Estate and ADI Health Care Co., Ltd., plans to invest KRW467 billion in the project having a site area of 449,490 square meters. Major facilities to be located in the Town include a medical check-up center and clinic, rehabilitation center, sanatorium, health community, international resort and other commercial facilities to make the Town a world-class healthcare resort by integrating the concepts of medical service, health, resort and tourism, and by providing differentiated services.

Zhong Da Real Estate, a real estate firm in Kunshan, Jiangsu, China, will be responsible for overseas marketing, while Neulproon Medical Foundation will become the main operator of healthcare facilities to be set up at the resort complex. ADI Health Care Co., Ltd., a total healthcare company, will provide solutions necessary for building and operating healthcare facilities.

Following the meeting, JDC will facilitate negotiations with the Seowoo consortium to produce positive results for the project within the shortest time. Specifically, it plans to reach a short form agreement (SFA) within the next three months and an official agreement within the next six months with the aim of establishing a joint corporation this year.

JDC signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Greenland Group, based in Shanghai, China, on December 23, 2011. The MOU states that Greenland Group will exclusively build facilities at the Wellness Park and R&D Park within Jeju Healthcare Town, while JDC will provide administrative, PR and marketing support in moving the project forward.

The MOU signing was followed by a kick-off meeting on January 9, 2012, to flesh out a plan to build recreational and commercial facilities linked to medical services at Jeju Healthcare Town. Business delegations from the two parties participated in the meeting, in addition to staff from related agencies, including Jeju Special Self-Governing Province and KOTRA, to get to know each other better. This has led to a foundation for related parties to implement tasks continuously and efficiently after negotiations and an official contract is concluded.

Meanwhile, as a part of JDC's efforts to make Jeju Healthcare Town into a hub for medical tourism, JDC signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Hospital for SickChildren on January 16, 2012, in Toronto, Canada. Through the agreement, JDC and Hospital for SickChidren will work closely together on exchanges, and JDC will adapt the hospital's operating system and know-how with respect to pediatric hospitals.

"We will work to attract leading domestic and overseas medical institutions to Jeju and create a special medical zone on the island as part of our efforts to establish an advanced healthcare infrastructure befitting an international free city," JDC Chairman Byon Jong-il said while announcing JDC's 2012 business plans in celebration of its 10th anniversary.

Meanwhile, Jeju Healthcare Town, one of JDC's core projects, will be built in Donghong-dong and Topyeong-dong, Seogwipo City, Jeju, with a total investment of KRW784.5 billion. This resort and medical service complex will consist of a Medical Park, Wellness Park and R&D Park to provide a wide range of healthcare services.

Industry News

IHT World Launches Dental Tourism Services

PRWeb - Dental Tourism services are now available as an option that gives Americans the opportunity to have expensive dental services completed outside the United States, at a much lower cost.

Americans can potentially save thousands of dollars, yet enjoy the same high quality dental treatment they would receive in the US.

There is no question that a multitude of Americans cannot afford the high cost of major dental services. That's why IHT World is adding customized dental tourism services that will help reduce treatment costs, without compromising quality.

For example, the average cost for a dental implant in the US is around $2,800. If you need four implants, the total price will be approximately $11,200.

Using the dental tourism option, the cost is reduced to an average of $1,000 per implant. If you add in the cost of airline tickets for two and hotel cost for four days, the total cost is approximately $5,700. This produces an estimated savings of more than $5,000 from what it would cost in the U.S.

Due to the growing popularity of dental tourism, IHT World expects many Americans who have inadequate dental insurance to take advantage of this cost saving opportunity.

For additional details go to http://www.ihtworld.com/dental_tourism.html

Industry News

New Glossary Helps Employers Take the First Steps to a Healthier Workforce

Brookfield, Wisconsin-Many employers agree that creating healthier employees is key to their organizations' success, but taking the first steps can be daunting. The newly published Value-Based Health Care Glossary of Terms helps employers understand the fundamental terms and concepts of value-based health care (VBHC) so they can lay a path toward healthier organizations.

The glossary provides practical explanations of more than 500 terms covering the full scope of VBHC, an outcome-driven, consumer-centered approach that focuses not on the dollars being spent, but on how the dollars being spent will improve employees' health. The glossary defines terms covering all areas of VBHC and managed care, including:

  • Plan design features
  • Health insurance
  • Health management strategies
  • Care providers
  • Quality assessment
  • Cost sharing
  • Claims administration
  • Government legislation 

Value-Based Health Care Glossary of Terms includes commonly used acronyms and cross-reference terms to help users get the full picture of the complex and rapidly changing health care arena. The glossary also identifies many health-related organizations that could be invaluable resources for plan sponsors.

The glossary is part of an ongoing, multistep initiative to provide practical ways for multiemployer and public employer plans to integrate VBHC strategies. The initiative is funded in part by a grant from Pfizer Inc. For more information, visit www.ifebp.org/vbhc.

Value-Based Health Care Glossary of Terms is available in print or as an e-book and can be purchased for $13 (International Foundation members $10). Visit www.ifebp.org/books.asp?7112.

 

Upcoming Events

Costa Rican Medical Tourism Conference in San Jose, Costa Rica April 22-26

PROMED, the Council for the International Promotion of Costa Rica Medicine is once again hosting the 3rd Annual Medical Travel Conference in Costa Rican on April 22-26. PROMED is a private not-for-profit organization, which coordinates the quality control and international promotion efforts of the medical tourism industry. Its goal is to ensure the quality of services provided by the private health industry in Costa Rica as the country becomes a major center for global medicine and medical tourism.

The purpose of this conference is to give insurance company executives, employee benefit managers, health underwriters, insurance agents, third-party administrators and other interested parties the opportunity to experience first- hand what the hospitals and physicians of Costa Rica and other Latin American countries have to offer. This conference will generate more than 750 business meetings, and the organizers expect more than 400 participants and 75 exhibitors from throughout Latin America. Top-level healthcare industry speakers, many from the US, will address topics related to the medical tourism industry and healthcare. 

It is an ideal time for employee benefit providers, insurance companies, TPAs, health insurance agents and anyone who is concerned about the rising cost of healthcare to learn about the benefits of medical tourism, especially in nearby Latin America. One of the main ways to bring down healthcare costs in the US is for employers to offer a medical and dental tourism option.

Healthcare costs in the US have exploded in recent years, and costs will continue to grow as more health and dental benefits are cut and the number of doctor's drop out of the system. However, these same procedures are very affordable in Costa Rica. People are saving up to 70% on dental and medical procedures using internationally accredited providers in Costa Rica. Many people and/or employers who have to pay out of pocket do not realize they have other options like medical tourism, which can keep them healthy and save money at the same time. Working with the finest private hospitals and physicians in Costa Rica will help people save hundreds if not thousands of dollars on certain dental and medical care procedures.

"If you're considering medical tourism for your company or for your clients, the Medical Travel Summit in Costa Rica is the only medical tourism conference you need to attend," said Tim Morales of Costa Rican Medical Care. "With many of the providers being centrally located, you will visit as part of the Summit many of the hospitals and dental clinics. You'll have the chance to meet the dentists, doctors and their staffs. You'll really get a feel of the quality of the providers, and you'll be able to interact and ask questions. Many past attendees will be returning for their third trip."

If you would like more information on attending this conference in Costa Rican, please visit their website http://www.costaricanmedicaltourism.com or call 262-834-8199


Vancouver scores a hat trick in Medical Congress bid wins

Tourism Vancouver and the Vancouver Convention Centre have announced that Vancouver has been selected as the host city for three prestigious medical conferences taking place in 2015. 
All three conventions resulted from the leadership and dedication demonstrated by influential Vancouverites who worked with Tourism Vancouver's Be A Host program to bring their associations' meetings to the city. 

The latest batch of successful bid proposals include:
1) World Congress of Dermatology. The world's largest international gathering of dermatologists will meet in Vancouver in June of 2015.
2) International Society for Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism (ISCBFM). In late June 2015, approximately 1,000 delegates will travel to Vancouver for the ISCBFM's 26th symposium.
3) International Federation of Gynaecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) World Congress. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada proposed a bid to host the FIGO World Congress in Vancouver during their 2006 meeting in the city.  


3rd International Forum "Healthy Nation 2012" Ukraine Slated for February 15-17, 2012, in Kiev

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The 3rd International Forum "Healthy Nation 2012" Ukraine will take place in Kiev February 15-17, 2012.

Designed to introduce and showcase state-of-the-art approaches to healthcare delivery, healthy living, longevity, nutrition and fitness, the Forum consists of specialized trade fairs, seminars and conferences, master classes, and presentations divided into three areas: "Line of Life," "Quality of Life" and "Tempo of Life," and features the following exhibitions:

"Line of Life" -- Medical equipment, supplies, drugs, dentistry, maternity, transfusion, prevention, rehabilitation, plastic surgery, cosmetology, and SPA technology and equipment
"Quality of Life" -- Organic foods and beverages, renewable energy, ecology, insurance, medical and wellness tourism
"Tempo of Life" -- Aquatics, sport and fitness

Also taking place at the event is the Global Congress"Dent Life" Ukraine which brings together respected specialists and speakers from Ukraine and around the world. The exhibition will feature recognized producers of dental materials and equipment. Master classes will also be offered.

Additional Congresses being offered include:
"Aesthetic Life" Ukraine 2012 Congress
 "Tour Life" Ukraine 2012 Congress

"Healthy Nation" Ukraine 2011 was attended by more than 10,000 visitors, including top managers of medical companies, distributors, representatives of profile Ministries and Associations, government authorities, doctors representing private and government clinics and hospitals, SPA specialists, private clinic owners, SPA clubs, resorts and hotels, fitness centers, scientific research institutes, travel agencies, and consumers interested in treatment and health improvement abroad.

If you are interested in developing and growing your business in Ukraine, The 3rd International Forum "Healthy Nation 2012" Ukraine provides an ideal starting point and networking opportunity. For more information visit our website www.treex.com.ua/en.


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.


WELL-BEING TRAVEL CONFERENCE 2012 OPENS REGISTRATION


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).




Just Give us a Like and You will be eligible to win a FREE Medical Travel Vacation!
Winner Will be announced March 9th, 2012

Travel and procedures are for 1 person additional parties at their own expense.

Travel dates are for the end of April 2012.

The promed Council is offering a free Medical Travel getaway, in order to begin spreading the word about Medical Travel to Costa Rica.

1. Round Trip Airfare
2. Transfers IN/OUT
3. 4 nights in San José
4. One complete medical check up
5. One dental cleaning
6. Two specialist visits (ophtalmology, dermatology)

Click Here to Signup



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

Medical tourism to hurt healthcare
Tapeitimes.com - A few days ago, the Department of Health (DOH) announced a preliminary list of hospitals that will be allowed to apply directly to the National Immigration Agency on behalf of medical tourists from China to make trips to Taiwan for health checks and medical cosmetology treatment.

Las Vegas faces uphill battle in becoming medical tourism destination Vegasinc.com - When it comes to medical tourism, Southern Nevada excels at the "tourism," but is weak on the "medical" part.

That was the conclusion panelists and observers reached at the Southern Nevada Medical Industry Coalition's inaugural medical tourism symposium Tuesday at Oscar's at the Plaza Las Vegas.

Stem cell banking: The newest lure in medical tourism
CNNGo.com- "We are the only facility in the world that incorporates Western medicine, Oriental medicine and alternative medicine," said Chaum's global marketing representative Yuna Lee, who works on Chaum's medical tourism with various international agencies.

Surgery Milestone Opens Door For Medical Tourism
Fptci.com - Macdonald Stubbs took several steps down the hallway of the Cheshire Hall Medical Center on Jan. 26 - a small achievement for the South Caicos native, but a big step towards sustainable medical tourism for the country.

Local hospitals struggle with larger out-of-town competition
Fiercehealthcare.com - Local hospitals in New York are facing steep competition from big-city, out-of-town hospitals that are opening up satellite facilities and forming partnerships with area providers, The Journal News reported.

Medical Tourism in Jordan Hit by Arab Spring
Continued political turmoil in North Africa has had an impact on tourism in the Middle East, particularly on medical tourism in Jordan.

According to the UNWTO world tourism barometer, Middle Eastern countries lost 5 million tourists in 2011. The main reason for this loss involved political uprising in North African countries.

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.