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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

Breaking News

Minverva Journeys Partners with Startup America

News in Review

Surprise checks on accredited hospitals soon

Panama offers free medical insurance to tourists to boost tourism

Tourists leave WA hospitals to foot the bill

Challenges from 'health tourism' going unrecognized

Domestic Medical Tourism-A Prescription for Savings?


Dr. Kevin Petersen, No Insurance Surgery


Helen "Kate" Liebelt, Global Medical Links

Industry News

Med Travel Gets Voice in Obama's Tourism Strategy

Is Medical Tourism Recession-Proof? Study Says YES

Patients Beyond Borders®: Monterrey, Mexico Edition™ launches in Monterrey and San Antonio

Israeli Trip to Improve Medical Tourism

Save On Medical Reaches Florida Patient Population Through New Contracts

Upcoming Events

Israeli Trip to Improve Medical Tourism

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

Vancouver scores a hat trick in Medical Congress bid wins

The 3rd Annual International Medical Travel Conference

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

EMTC 2012 Slated for April 25-27, 2012

Hotels Bridging Healthcare Conference Announced


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Global Health Voyager

Volume 6, Issue 4

by Amanda Haar, Editor


Over the past ten years consumer-driven healthcare has been one of the major concepts shaping the delivery of healthcare in the United States and the medical travel industry as a whole. But it now seems there may be a new concept taking hold: physician-driven healthcare.

Case in point: No Insurance Surgery. Featured in our SPOTLIGHT section, No Insurance Surgery is the brainchild of Dr. Kevin Petersen of Las Vegas. By taking the reins on how he delivers care - where it's delivered, with whom, how much it costs, and how it's paid for - Petersen is shaping a new delivery model that works for both provider and patient.

Plus, we have many tales of success in the industry from all corners of the globe, as well as several new events to consider attending in the months ahead.

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


Amanda Haar, Editor

Breaking News

Minverva Journeys Partners with Startup America: Offers Cost-Effective, Quality Medical Travel Options to Promising New Companies

Costa Rica - Minerva Journeys, providers of world-class medical travel concierge services, assisting individuals and businesses to access cost-effective, high-quality health and dental care, announced today that it has partnered with Startup America Partnership, the national organization dedicated to helping young companies grow in order to spur job creation across the country. The partnership will give cost-conscious start-up firms the opportunity to provide their employees affordable, quality medical procedures through accredited hospitals and dental clinics in Costa Rica and other destinations around the world.

"Minerva Journeys is pleased to partner with Startup America, which continues to provide entrepreneurs access to critical services at reduced costs," says Farah Walsh, President of Minerva Journeys. "By being part of this organization, we will be able to offer Start-ups, Mid and Large size companies an opportunity to integrate Medical Travel into their Employee Benefits Package. This will provide their workforces medical procedures that might not otherwise be accessible or affordable at home with the higher co-pays, limitations on coverage, and longer waits sometimes up to 3 years for a knee replacement today. We look forward to providing greater access through our partnership with well-established, accredited Hospitals, local offices and Medical Travel Experts in leading Medical Travel destinations, as well as the highest quality customer support."

Minerva Journeys advantages include:

  • Access to medical experts in dentistry, stem cell therapy, plastic surgery, orthopedic surgeries, weight loss, gastric bypass, lap band surgery, diagnostic testing, wellness and adventure tours
  • Pricing transparency, patient safety and confidentiality
  • 24-7 customer support
  • Access to VIP accommodations, plane tickets, hotels and tours.
  • Every package is customized to meet the patient's budget, medical needs and recovery in a well planned & integrated vacation, tourism included

Startup America was founded to provide valuable resources and connections to help young companies grow, support regional startup ecosystems throughout the country, and recognize startups as key drivers of the U.S. economy.

"At a time when more businesses are looking for ways to attract new talent, we are pleased to partner with Minerva Journeys to provide alternative healthcare options that can also help mitigate costs," Danielle Forsyte, director of Startup Engagement for Startup America. "As we continue to create collaborations that empower entrepreneurs and spur innovation, we anticipate thatthis partnership will generate greater awareness of the advantages of medical travel and enable our member firms to make smart choices about their health benefit plans."

For more information, call, 1888-843-7022, email reservations@minervajourneys.com

About Minerva Journeys
Minerva Journeys offers world-class medical travel concierge services to assist individuals and businesses to access high-quality health and dental care at lower, more affordable costs through a global partner network of accredited hospitals, stem cell centers, dental clinics, esthetic/plastic surgery centers, diagnostic/executive physicals, addiction recovery centers and more. This is an integrated medical approach, which coordinates follow-up care and includes well-planned medical vacations. For more information, call, 1888-843-7022, email reservations@minervajourneys.com or visit: www.minervajourneys.com.

About the Startup America Partnership
The Startup America Partnership was launched at the White House in response to President Obama's call to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. The Partnership is bringing together an alliance of major corporations, funders, service providers, mentors and advisors working to dramatically increase the prevalence and success of high-growth enterprises in the U.S. AOL co-founder Steve Case chairs the Partnership and the Kauffman and Case Foundations are founding partners. American Express OPEN, Dell Inc., Intuit Inc., and Microsoft are sponsors. The Partnership will identify, measure and report on the effectiveness of cross-sector collaboration in support of entrepreneurial ventures and its effect on job creation and growth. For more information on the Partnership, visit www.startupamericapartnership.org


Exclusive Offer

Announcing Special IHC Forum Discount Exclusively for Readers of Medical Travel Today

IHC FORUM, the only national event 100% dedicated to innovative health and benefit management, will be taking place on April 12-13 in Atlanta, Ga. Readers of Medical Travel Today are entitled to a $100 registration discount. To learn more about the event and how to receive your discount, click here.

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Dr. Kevin Petersen, No Insurance Surgery

Dr. Kevin Petersen, No Insurance Surgery

Editor's Note: We're all familiar with the concept and the benefits of the 'empowered patient'. But what about the 'empowered physician'? Here's an interesting tale of one surgeon taking charge of virtually every aspect of the care he delivers, including cost. The benefits to both he and his patients are quite clear.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): I understand the motivation for starting No Insurance Surgery, but I am curious as to how long it took from conception to actual launch, as well as how you determined milestones for success.

Dr. Kevin Petersen (KP): I started No Insurance Surgery five years ago when the idea first occurred to me, and I have forged my own path. My experience dealing with uninsured patients on a cash basis in my practice for many years made it easy for me to accept patients who were uninsured or unable to find the surgery they needed at a reasonable price.

For those patients, I quoted my normal fee and provided a 50 percent discount. I then gave them contact information for an anesthesiologist and facility, allowing them to make those additional arrangements and negotiate fees on their own.

In a period of about 20 years, I dealt with about 30 patients in this way. One day I discovered that the anesthesiologists and facilities I'd been recommending were charging exorbitant rates to the patients I had referred. This was unacceptable to me. I stepped in and attempted to negotiate better prices, but with little success. After some additional investigation, I learned that the facilities had contracts with insurance companies that included a 'favored nation' clause stating that they could not charge less than the insurance company's quoted fee. The same was true for the anesthesiologists, although to a lesser degree.

In 2005, I pondered the business model of plastic surgeons who were charging a package fee for surgery that included the facility and anesthesiologist. The doctors negotiated reasonable fees in advance, a strategy that resulted in a much better deal than what patients were able to negotiate on their own.

I spoke with representatives at a number of facilities, eventually identifying a handful of facilities that were willing to offer an equitable rate. In addition, I negotiated with an anesthesiology group with whom I had worked and trusted. They offered me the same price they charged plastic surgeons. From there, I was able to develop and market a cost-effective price - with great success.

MTT: How did you go about marketing the package?

KP: I found that traditional methods - trade venues, billboards, newspaper ads, radio and television - were unsuccessful. Online marketing turned out to be the most economical way to target potential patients.

MTT: How has the nature of the types of patients and procedures you see changed with the new model?

KP: Principally, I perform hernia and gall bladder surgery, which works well with this model. Both procedures can be performed safely on an outpatient basis, with minimal follow-up care. More complicated procedures that involve hospital stays and more intensive after-care don't work with this model.

MTT: Are your patients traveling far for your service?

KP: My patients come from all 50 states, including Massachusetts, which is interesting given that state's universal healthcare. I've also seen patients from as far away as Thailand, Vietnam, and Argentina.

The appeal for these patients goes beyond the no-insurance approach. They come first for hernia repair without mesh, and then they come because of the proximity to Las Vegas and all that it offers. Last month a patient won $10,000 in one hand of a card game. Also, flights to Las Vegas are reasonable from virtually anywhere in the world.

MTT: The cash-only advantage of your model is clear. What are some other advantages and disadvantages?

KP: At times I miss the old practice model and hospital work - the complicated ICU and big cases like gastric resections. Other than that, there are no disadvantages. Contrary to expectation, uninsured patients are not more litigious. In fact, they are easier to deal with.

If a patient experiences a complication from surgery, which is rare, I have them hospitalized. For that cost, I am not responsible, which I explain up front. That said, my patients receive 90 days of global care, which includes care for wound infection and other minor complications. But these kinds of occurrences are rare.

MTT: Are you aware of others adopting the model and/or are you fielding a lot of calls about its viability?

KP: So far, few are willing to take the extra steps to model their practice after mine, opting for the security of the status quo. Part of it is that such a transformation requires time and energy.

MTT: Are you working with or cultivating relationships with facilitators?

KP: In my case, I don't see the necessity. I've identified a particular niche and developed it, building up my reputation on the internet to support my practice. That said, I do think there's a need and market for their services. I'd like to see more domestic medical travel.
Currently, too many people go to India for knee and hip surgeries, while there are plenty of orthopedists in the US who, with a packaged price, could accept patients from anywhere.

About Dr. Petersen

Dr. Kevin Petersen was board certified by the American Board of Surgery in 1986 and then recertified in 1994. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Utah, Department of Physics, Dr. Petersen earned his medical degree, with high honors, at Tufts University, in Boston. Dr. Petersen received resident surgery training at the U.C.L.A. Medical Center, and completed a fellowship in Organ Transplant at Los Angeles County/USC Hospital. He served as chief resident while completing his surgery training at the Chicago Medical School. He has participated in the training of medical students and surgical residents as an assistant professor of Surgery at the Chicago Medical School, the Chicago School of Osteopathic Medicine, the Nevada School of Medicine and Touro University in Nevada. His career experience is over 10,000 major surgical procedures including 4,000 non-mesh hernia surgeries and 3,000 cancer operations and 4,000 other operations for treating a variety of life threatening conditions. Dr. Petersen has a particular interest in non-mesh hernia repair and treatment of hernia mesh complications.

In addition, Dr. Petersen is the founder of Helping Hands Surgical Care, a non-profit organization that helps fund and facilitate care for patients who don't qualify for Medicaid or Medicare, and do not have the necessary insurance or cash to cover the cost for surgery.

In November 2011, Helping Hands for Surgical Care hosted its inaugural Charity Surgery Day. With the support of local hospitals, surgeons, and anesthesiologists, the group performed ten surgeries in one day at no cost to the patients.

Helping Hands relies on the generous support of the community to provide care for others in need. To learn more, visit www.helpinghandssurgicalcare.com.


Helen "Kate" Liebelt, Global Medical Links

Editor's Note: In 2010 I had the pleasure of meeting Kate Liebelt on a familiarization tour to Korea. Kate's energy and enthusiasm for the potential of medical travel was absolutely infectious. In the months that followed we stayed in touch, and I kept tabs on her developing networking group, Global Medical Links (GML). In 2011, Katie Carow of Carow Consulting, Inc. joined Kate as co-founder of the GML consulting consortium. Based in Chicago, GML provides healthcare professionals and others interested in medical travel the opportunity to gather and discuss various aspects of the industry while cultivating valuable relationships.

Helen "Kate" Liebelt

It was a pleasure to catch up with Kate and learn what GML has on the agenda for 2012.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): Let's start with Global Medal Links. Give me your elevator pitch for the organization.

Kate Liebelt (KL): Sure. Global Medical Links (GML) is an international healthcare consulting consortium. We focus on five key service offerings: feasibility studies, business development, strategic planning, technology assessment, and accreditation. Originally, GML was founded as a network of subject matter experts who gathered to discuss medical travel industry trends. When Katie Carow joined GML in 2011, we began identifying ways to help existing clients and colleagues develop new international partnerships or enhance existing relationships. We still design and coordinate educational networking sessions because people benefit from the dialogue. Through the network we're able to tap into the core expertise of longstanding professionals in various aspects of the healthcare industry. That includes hospitals, pharmaceuticals, insurance, suppliers, investors, legal experts, and so on. GML aims to support dialogue focusing on the general medical travel landscape, collaboration, and strategic partnerships.

In 2011 GML facilitated two educational networking sessions in the Chicago area. The first session featured a physician who delivers CME to international peers along with an executive from his medical group, the director of Technology Transfer at a local academic medical center, an expert on JCI accreditation and a medical travel legal expert. The second session featured a medical director at a major health insurance carrier and researchers from a local academic medical center.

Our goal in 2012 is to increase to three sessions and focus the subject matter to the issues of key significance to our network.

MTT: So is GML a membership organization?

KL: No. It's really a private network. The educational session attendees are from our personal networks and the consultants and clients are respected individuals we've worked with professionally over the years. Katie Carow has a background in hospital administration and my background is in pharmaceutical and medical device research and development.  Hospital administrators may want to discuss the viability of an international partnership. Physicians want to learn about ways to collaborate with peers overseas. Attorneys and investors want to expand their areas of expertise. There's a lot of interest from a lot of different angles. That's what makes the GML sessions so interesting.

MTT: Do you have specific topics in mind for 2012?

KL: We will focus on the considerations of self-insured employers, accreditation trends, and strategic partnering best practices. Each session will contribute to a broader understanding of what it takes to build sustainable relationships between domestic and international healthcare organizations and how to best meet the needs of patients and their employers. There's a lot to be learned from what's being done and being done right.

MTT: Are you aware of other networking groups like GML?

KL:  We're not, but we always welcome the opportunity to connect with other organizations.  Certainly there are consulting companies with an international healthcare focus as well as industry associations. We've combined elements of both types of organizations to meet the needs of our growing network.

About Helen "Kate" Liebelt
Kate Liebelt is one of the founders of Global Medical Links. In 2011 she served as president of the Chicago Health Executives Forum, an 1,800-member, independent chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). She is also a principal at Barque Consulting, Inc.

In the past, Liebelt served as senior associate at PricewaterhouseCoopers, outsourcing manager at Takeda Global Research & Development, R&D project associate at Baxter BioScience, and research associate at the Washington University in Saint Louis School of Medicine and Office of Technology Management.

To learn more about Global Medical Links please visit www.gmlchicago.org.

Industry News

Med Travel Gets Voice in Obama's Tourism Strategy

Text Box: Editor's Note: The following two stories republished with permission from Travel Market Report, an online business publication for professional travel sellers.

For a free subscription, click here.
Travelmarketreport.com - Nick Verrastro

Medical travel has representation in the Obama administration's new travel and tourism strategy, with the appointment of Steven Thompson, chief executive officer, Johns Hopkins Medicine International, to the US Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. 

Thompson is one of a 32-member board, which advises the Commerce Department on policies and issues affecting travel and tourism.

"I enthusiastically accepted the appointment due to the important and growing demand for US education and health services coming from the international community," Thompson told Travel Market Report.

"The adoption of travel policies that encourage and support growth in international travel is vital to these business sectors within our economy."

Thompson is not the first representative from the medical travel sector to serve on the board. Dr. David Hayes, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic, served on a previous board.

"The Department of Commerce recognizes the important role that medical travel and educational travel and tourism play in strengthening our economy," said Mara Lee, deputy director of Communications in the Department's International Trade Administration.

Commenting on Thompson's appointment to the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, she said that it "signals the Department's continued recognition of the value that medical and educational travel and tourism contributes to US exports."

Industry News

Is Medical Tourism Recession-Proof? Study Says YES

Travelmarketreport.com - Maria Lenhart

Medical tourism is not only one of the fastest-growing segments of the travel industry, it is especially resilient during economic downturns, according to a new study on tourism niches.

While global economic conditions have a profound impact on such areas as cruise, business and incentive travel, medical tourism is among sectors that "continue to grow at a steady rate despite the financial crisis," stated Specialty Tourism: A Global Outlook, a report issued by Global Industry Analysts, a market research firm.

Part of a larger trend
The report identifies specialty travel in general as having a major impact on overall tourism growth. It hails the "targeted approach" as sparking the creation of new tour products and consumer interest. 

"Specialty tourism has also responded well to growing consumer interest in educational, health and active tours," noted the report, which also cited adventure travel as a growing niche that is relatively resistant to economic trends.

Enormous potential for medical tourism
The report forecasts that by 2015 the medical tourism industry will generate revenues of nearly $168 billion. 

An aging global population, rising life expectancy rates, and growing awareness about healthcare, diseases, and available therapies are contributing to demand for quality healthcare services, according to the report.

Together with growing demand for quality healthcare services at affordable costs, these forces are expected to drive the growth of medical tourism.

Huge savings for consumers
The report also cited the high cost of treatments in some regions as a major factor in driving patients to seek care in foreign countries. 

Several surgical procedures performed in countries such as Thailand, India, or South Africa involve about one-tenth of the cost for such procedures in North America or Western Europe, it noted.

"For instance, a knee replacement surgery in Thailand is at least four times lesser than the cost incurred in the US. Likewise, dental, cosmetic, and eye surgeries in Western countries cost three times as much as in Asian countries," the report stated.

Lack of sufficient insurance coverage and the availability of high-quality and advanced services in destination countries were also cited as driving patients to overseas markets.

Most favored nations
When it comes to medical tourism destinations, the report singled out Asia and South America as regions with the most potential, "due to their low-cost healthcare facilities and availability of world-class healthcare service providers."

"Several developing countries have emerged as favored destinations for patients seeking low cost medical services," the report stated. "These countries are benefiting from the rapid expansion of medical infrastructure and facilities, better room care, less waiting time, higher success rates, and above all affordable costs." 

Among important medical tourism markets cited in the report are: Panama, Brazil, Costa Rica, Thailand, India, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Emerging destinations
South Africa, Argentina, Cuba, Jamaica, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia, Dubai and Jordan are emerging as destinations for medical tourism, the report said. 

Certain destinations are favored by consumers for certain procedures or types of procedures. For instance, Costa Rica and Argentina are emerging as preferred destinations for American patients seeking high-quality plastic surgery. Europeans prefer South Africa for plastic surgery. 

Hungary is favored for dental procedures and cosmetic surgeries among West Europeans and Americans. 

Eastern Europe countries, particularly Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic are emerging as major private medical care tourism destinations for Westerners.
Challenges for medical tourism 
The report also noted several challenges facing the medical tourism industry. Among them is the fact that a number of developing countries aiming to be recognized as high-quality healthcare destinations are often branded as low-cost destinations.

"Most of the developing countries are competing to grab a share of the pie rather than cooperating with each other for designing, developing, and facilitating the global medical tourism industry," the report said.

Risk mitigation was also identified as a challenge, as patients may have no course of retribution in cases of a botched medical procedure. 

"In addition, security concerns of medical tourists in case of natural or political disasters need to be addressed in order to drive growth of the global medical tourism market," the report stated.

Learn more about medical tourism, including strategies for reaching the market, by attending the Well-Being Travel Conference 2012, June 19-21, at the Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. The groundbreaking educational event is co-sponsored by Well-Being Travel and Travel Market Report. To register or learn more, visit www.well-beingtravelconference.com.

Industry News

Patients Beyond Borders®: Monterrey, Mexico Edition™ launches in Monterrey and San AntonioText Box:

PRWeb - Healthy Travel Media and Monterrey Healthcare City (MHC) are pleased to announce the publication and launch of Patients Beyond Borders: Monterrey, Mexico Edition™, to be published in English for international distribution.

Supported by the leading healthcare facilities of Monterrey, Mexico, the Patients Beyond Borders® research and editorial team worked with MHC to produce this 154-page, fully digital guidebook, which offers an in-depth overview of Monterrey's leading American-accredited hospitals, selected health travel agents, accommodations, and essential medical travel information for the international patient.

The official launch, commencing at 8 a.m. on Monday, February 13, in Monterrey, will include special presentations by Dr. Jesus Zacarias Villarreal Perez, Secretary of Health for the State of Nuevo Leon; Luis Trevino Chapa, Director of the Corporation for Tourism Development of Nuevo Leon; and Dr. Jesus Horacio Gonzalez Trevino, president of the Monterrey Healthcare City Association. Josef Woodman, president and CEO of Patients Beyond Borders, will deliver a brief presentation entitled "Monterrey and Medical Tourism: Closing the International Healthcare Gap." A separate launch in the US is scheduled on Wednesday, February 15th, in San Antonio, TX.

Monterrey now boasts four JCI-accredited hospitals within its city limits, plus an array of private international specialty hospitals and clinics. Readers will learn about Monterrey's commitment to healthcare, including four first-rate medical schools (Tecnologico de Monterrey, Universidad de Monterrey, Universidad de Montemorelos and the Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon), and why thousands of medical travelers from the US, Canada, and the nearby region are making the short trip across the border to Monterrey for medical procedures.

"We are so pleased to be partnering with Healthy Travel Media to produce and distribute Patients Beyond Borders: Monterrey, Mexico Edition," says Dr. Jesus Horacio Gonzalez Trevino, Medical Services director of Clinica Vitro and president of the Monterrey Healthcare City Association. "With medical specialties and procedures at 30-70 percent savings compared to US prices, coupled with easy access from North America, we are not surprised to see that Monterrey has become the choice of many seeking high-quality, affordable international healthcare closer to home."

In addition to comprehensive checklists showing "How to Become a Savvy, Informed Medical Traveler," readers receive: detailed guidance on budgeting and planning for a medical journey; thorough profiles, including specialties and centers of excellence, of fully accredited Mexican hospitals catering to the international patient; and visitor and sightseeing information on the region, with maps, illustrations, and 24 pages of color inserts showcasing Monterrey's world-class facilities and attractions. Printed and electronic versions will be available through retail outlets worldwide, Amazon and other online retailers, and MHC.

"Over the past few years, Monterrey and Mexico have made great strides in the delivery of top-quality healthcare," says Josef Woodman, CEO of Patients Beyond Borders. "Once known primarily for affordable dentistry and cosmetic surgery, Monterrey now offers an array of specialties and subspecialties, such as bariatrics/weight management, IVF/reproductive services, orthopedics, cardiology, and cancer treatments, with significant savings over the cost of care in the US."

The new Patients Beyond Borders series of City Editions allows a healthcare cluster (a group of medical facilities within a closely knit geographical area) to focus industry and consumer attention on the unique attributes of its medical infrastructure, leading facilities, and educational and research offerings. PBB City Editions are distributed digitally and in print throughout the world, as well as to selected regions served by that cluster.


Industry News

Israeli Trip to Improve Medical Tourism

Cyprus-mail.com - Health Minister Stavros Malas is in Israel looking for ways to collaborate with Israeli specialists to enhance medical tourism in Cyprus. 

During his official visit, Malas met with his Israeli counterpart Yakov Litzman and Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz on Sunday in Tel Aviv.

According to an official statement, Malas discussed with Litzman the possibility of establishing cooperation using satellite services between specialized hospitals in Israel and private clinics in Cyprus with the aim of attracting medical tourism to Cyprus. 

"These kind of efforts aim to give additional value to the medical infrastructure of Cyprus," said Malas.
During his meeting with Hershkowitz, the Cypriot minister outlined the priorities of the Cypriot EU Presidency in the field of research. Malas will chair the Competition Council during the EU Presidency in the second half of 2012.

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

Save On Medical Reaches Florida Patient Population Through New Contracts

PRWeb - Save On Medical has signed on a number of reputable radiology facilities throughout the state of Florida, enabling the patient population in surrounding regions to take advantage of price shopping for care with comprehensive and expansive listings, providing more options than ever. In light of the proposed Florida legislation that would require physicians to display their prices in their offices, Save On Medical allows physicians to optimize their pricing structures on their own terms and serve patients effectively at the same time.

In the last week, Advanced Imaging Centers, which has three locations throughout Central Florida, and Sugar Mill Diagnostic Imaging, serving both Citrus and Hernando Counties have signed contracts with Save On in order to provide affordable pricing options to the price sensitive patient market. The facilities' subscriptions to Save On Medical enable them to reach a segment of their consumers they previously had little access too. Dr. Michael Herron, owner of Sugar Mill Diagnostic Imaging commented on their decision to join Save On medical stating, "Our goal is to provide improved care in the tri-county area and serve the community at affordable pricing and as an independently owned facility we pride ourselves on the personalized service we are able to give patients, Save On Medical allows us to do both of those things in one place."

Through the subscriber profiles, the facilities are able to manage the services they provide, offering daily deals and opportunities to patients in need of quality care at low costs. This opportunity is especially beneficial to uninsured patients or those with 80-20 plans or high-deductible health plans, however the website adds more value than just the ability to book and pay for the services online. Save On Medical also serves as a patient resource, allowing the patient to see the true costs of services and determine what is important to them when it comes their care, whether that be quality of service, technology, convenience or price. Through the web application, the physicians are also able to communicate with the patients directly and monitor their success through the provided feedback.

Upcoming Events

The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism Announces FORUM East 2012 Conference

On April 12-13, HR executives, benefits management professionals, brokers and health plan administrators will gather in Atlanta's Cobb Galleria Centre for The Institute for HealthCare Consumerism's (IHC) FORUM East conference. Its counterpart, IHC FORUM West, will be held in Las Vegas on Sept. 6-7.

Now in its third year, the IHC FORUM (formerly CDHC Solutions FORUM) remains the only conference series 100 percent dedicated to innovative health and benefits management. This year's theme, The Journey to HealthCare Consumerism, focuses on equipping businesses to transition successfully to cost-effective consumer-driven health plans while complying with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

True to the IHC's tagline, the event offers numerous opportunities to LEARN, CONNECT and SHARE.  With 24 workshops and five general sessions led by the industry's foremost thought leaders and policymakers, the event promises to arm attendees with practical tools they need to successfully navigate the country's shifting health and benefits landscape. FORUM attendees also will have the chance to glean best practices from peers who have effectively implemented healthcare consumerism programs, and network with professionals from across the entire health and benefits spectrum.

"Companies today are challenged with reducing healthcare spend, complying with new healthcare laws and turning disengaged employees into involved, well-educated consumers," says Doug Field, IHC founder and CEO. "We've lined up top-notch speakers and workshops to give our attendees proven, real-life solutions at a fraction of the cost of other conferences. We're really excited about this year's FORUM."  

Join us at the only event 100% dedicated to HealthCare Consumerism,
the 3rd Annual IHC FORUM in Atlanta, Georgia on April 12-13, 2012


  • Our conference is on the Cutting Edge of what is going on with Health Care Benefits today - HR Certification Credits available
  • Workshops for All Stages and Phases of where your health benefits are now and where you want to go
  • Consumerism 101 Pre-Conference Workshop for those just learning about health care consumerism
  • Small Round Table Sharing Sessions with your peers and an industry leader
  • Innovation Showcase to see the latest innovations and products that you can use today to save your company money
  • Take-away's you can start using right away to save on your health benefit costs

Registration includes:

Five general sessions led by top industry thought leaders and subject matter experts
• Your choice of three hands-on workshops
• Opening Night reception
Free breakfast and lunch
• Conference workbook
• Online access to all workshop presentations
• Chance to win multiple sponsor prizes


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.  


The 3rd Annual International Medical Travel Conference


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Below are some of the event's highlights:

  • Global Physician Referral Networks and Patient Care - How to Build a Global Practice 

  • Self-Funded Insurance Groups -- Providing Healthcare Travel Alternatives

  • M-health, Telemedicine and Electronic Healthcare Information Platforms

  • Business Processes and Advanced Global Healthcare Marketing Strategies

  • Integrating Global Healthcare Technologies with Medical Travel  

  • Legal Issues in Global Care

  • Workshops in Global Practice Management, Insurance Reimbursement & Payment, Business Processes, and Legal & Regulatory issues in Global Care

  • Private meeting rooms for business meetings

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

Hotels Bridging Healthcare Conference Announced

Registration is now open for June 2012 Hotels Bridging Healthcare conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Surprise checks on accredited hospitals soon
thehindu.com - The National accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) will launch surprise checks on accredited hospitals to ensure that institutions continuously meet the criteria of quality, NABH chairman Narottam Puri said on Thursday.

Panama offers free medical insurance to tourists to boost tourism
In efforts to promote tourism, Panama last week announced that it is offering free medical insurance for tourists that covers them for the first 30 days they are in the country.

The coverage is offered by Italian insurer Assicurazioni Generali S.p.A., which acquired a three-year contract for $12 million to issue the policies in conjunction with the Panamanian government, according to the Panama Tourism Authority.

Tourists leave WA hospitals to foot the bill
WA hospitals are being forced to foot the bill for thousands of overseas visitors who haven't paid for their treatment.
Foreign patients have racked up $3.3 million in unpaid bills, which the WA Health Department is seeking to recover. 

Overseas visitors who don't have health insurance and aren't from a country with a reciprocal medical agreement with Australia are liable to pay for their own treatment.

Challenges from 'health tourism' going unrecognized
Healthcanal.com - The rise of medical tourism presents significant challenges for the National Health Service according to new work from academics at the Universities of Birmingham and York. They argue that policy makers have so far failed to address the implications health tourism has on the quality and continuity of care patients receive.

Domestic Medical Tourism-A Prescription for Savings?
Forbes.com - Annually, tens of thousands of "medical tourists" travel to other countries outside the US to receive medical care. Nearly $20 billion was spent last year worldwide on a variety of medical procedures from fertility treatments to elective cardiac surgery, dental work, as well as cosmetic procedures.

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.