Printable Version

© 2011 Medical Travel Today

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

Publisher, Laura Carabello

Table of Contents

From the Editor

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

News in Review

Hotels boost medical tourism programs

Traveling4Health&Retirement Opens Global Communication Among International Medical Providers and Patients Worldwide

Atkins Completes Design of Oman Medical City

Medical tourism trend could force local hospitals to adapt

Aborting birth tourism: Canada should look to other countries to solve immigration scam


Patty Brown, President, Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC


Tricia Johnson, Ph.D., Rush University

Industry News


The Motley Fool Examines Medical Travel

IHT World Medical Tourism Services Now Includes Opportunity for Complication Coverage Through Global Protective Solutions

Medical Tourism Guide Novasans Introduces Live Chat

National Center for Policy Analysis Examines the Online Market for Medical Care

Cancer Treatment Centers of America to Release Patients Beyond Borders® Focus On

"Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012" Announces 5-Star Spa Giveaway for Early Registrants

Upcoming Events

CPR Strategic Marketing Communication featured at IHPM's 12th Annual International Health & Productivity Management Conference

Exotic Medical Tourism Congress & Expo 2012 

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

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 5

by Amanda Haar, Editor


I came to a realization this week: trying to wrap your arms around all that medical travel encompasses is a bit like trying to hold onto a hyperactive greased pig on growth hormones. Every time you think you've got a handle on it, it wriggles free in a completely new direction. And once you think you've caught up to it you realize it's even bigger than it was before, with more power and potential than ever conceived of before.

The conversations I had leading up to this week's issue (and a few future ones) drove this point home in a big way. From employers trying to maximize savings and researchers grappling with economic impact to providers and insurers looking for ways to better ensure quality care and service, medical travel has implications and potential impact as far reaching as any other industry.

But lest you wrestle with this pig alone, a number of the key topics will be addressed at the upcoming Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012 slated for June 20-21, 2012, in Scottsdale, Ariz. Speakers, including Medical Travel Today's publisher Laura Carabello, will address topics including creating global standards, associated legal issues, the role of travel agents, insuring traveling patients, and more. While it may not answer every question you have about medical travel it will give you a better handle on a few key aspects. At least for now.

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


Amanda Haar, Editor

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Patty Brown, President, Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC

Patty Brown, President, Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC

Editor's Note: In December 2011 Johns Hopkins announced that PepsiCo, the world's second-largest food and beverage business, would offer its employees the option to travel to Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) in Baltimore for cardiac and complex joint replacement surgeries. PepsiCo, which sponsors its own self-funded medical plans, will waive deductibles and co-insurance for those who elect to have their surgery at Johns Hopkins.

The payment methodology for these procedures is a bundled rate -- an all-inclusive rate for hospital and physician charges and certain preoperative testing -- and provides payment for all patient care over the course of a clinical episode instead of paying for each service on a fee-for-service basis.

Medical Travel Today recently spoke to Patty Brown, President of Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC, about the relationship, how it evolved, and how medical travel fits into the institution's plans for the future.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): How did the relationship with PepsiCo evolve?

Patty Brown (PB): It was actually brought to us by Mercer. You may recall a few years ago Mercer brokered the Lowe's-Cleveland Clinic partnership.

In our case we got an inquiry from Mercer informing us they were working with Fortune 500 employer groups that were looking for creative mechanisms to manage care costs. One program being explored was the medical travel concept, specifically, a benefit within the employer offering to entice employees to travel to centers of excellence for procedures.

MTT: Was this an inquiry specific to JHM or were they speaking with other institutions?

PB: There are other providers involved in the discussion. Johns Hopkins is the second provider. It is likely that there will be up to five providers participating in a similar program, not necessarily with the same employers. There were actually two rounds of cuts. The first focused on quality, service, and cost. We had to share our quality and outcome scores for the clinical specialties being considered, and demonstrate the ability to meet specific customer service standards and preliminary pricing targets.

The second round specifically focused on pricing, on whether or not we could propose a pricing structure that would be deemed attractive. We've been in bundled payment programs for 15 years so that really wasn't a challenge for us, and we were able to respond quickly and authoritatively to ideas proposed related to bundling.

Once it was determined we were a provider that could meet the requirements, the employer, PepsiCo, was then brought to the table. Conversations then focused on coming to terms on the categories of services to be offered. Ultimately we tied up all the details and here we are.

Now the jury is still out on whether or not people will travel for care. Quite honestly we're not privy to the messaging PepsiCo's providing to employees, but from the consumer perspective it's an interesting pitch. Basically, you have your employer stating you should travel for services that you could get in your own community. But Pepsi believes that driving employees to centers of excellence will result in higher quality, better outcomes, and ultimately lower costs. But it's been a slow start.

MTT: What would you say the timeframe from first discussion to final agreement was?

PT: Just about 18 months.

MTT: What was the principal motivation for developing the relationship with PepsiCo? To develop a new revenue stream or to counter a perceived threat from medical tourism?

PB: No, it wasn't in response to a threat. We're always looking for ways to provide value back to customers, and we're comfortable with bundled pricing so this was really a no-brainer. We like the idea of payment reform and the idea of employers taking that issue on themselves. It made sense to us that they create a direct conversation with a provider rather than go through insurance companies as has always been done in the past.

The big question for both providers and employers is what's the best way to manage care costs. It's clear that everyone is now actively looking for new ways to answer that.
And regarding the PepsiCo relationship, we don't actually expect a lot of volume from it. This is more about being open to new payment models and achieving goals for both ourselves and our partners. Johns Hopkins is interesting in that we're a provider, as well as an employer, and a health plan. We're very aware of all the considerations that go into creating models for care.

MTT: That's very interesting. Does your engagement in this then suggest that Johns Hopkins sees medical travel, domestic and abroad, as a viable option for employers and consumers?

PB: We don't have a specific opinion about whether or not this is a good idea. But we are clear a national and international referral center. We have the ability to be open to patients from around the world. We facilitate a whole lot of international medical travel to us, and we also facilitate our know-how regarding traveling to other locations or destinations.

In looking at the PepsiCo offering, we didn't have a specific opinion about whether or not it was appropriate or desirable to offer travel benefits. In some instances we actually discouraged them to not offer specific diagnoses. For example our physicians didn't feel it made sense to travel for certain types of care, like spinal procedures. Our physicians were concerned about post-procedure follow-up care. That then becomes very relevant from a quality perspective. All that said, we certainly do compete in the national market for patients. We're out there advertising in airports and magazines encouraging people to come see us.

But whether or not it's a good thing, I don't know that we have an opinion on that.

MTT: Are you currently pursuing other employer group relationships?

PB: We are. We have been contacted by several employers who want to have conversations. It is a bit unusual to have them reach out directly to us, but that's where things are at this time. We're currently in discussions with one group on the same scale as PepsiCo. We haven't signed a similar deal and aren't quite sure if they're looking at expanding their network or adding travel to their offerings. I don't think they're quite clear yet.

MTT: How does domestic medical travel fit into your business plan for the next five years?

PB: As a delivery system we have plans to increase domestic and international medical travel care. It's not something we're planning to market directly to employers. The consumer-directed marketing we're currently doing is working well. I anticipate we'll stay that course.

About Patty Brown

Patricia M.C. Brown, Esq., is president of Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC and senior counsel for The Johns Hopkins Health System. As president of Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC, a managed care organization owned by the Johns Hopkins Health System and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, she is responsible for the administration of all Johns Hopkins managed care products for over 300,000 individuals enrolled in self-funded employer, Medicaid, and Department of Defense health benefit plans. Ms. Brown is also responsible for integrating and coordinating managed care contracting, payer, and market strategy for all Johns Hopkins Medicine entities, including The Johns Hopkins Hospital, The Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and the Johns Hopkins Community Physicians. Finally, as senior counsel to the Johns Hopkins Health System, Ms. Brown provides legal advice in the areas of managed care and regulatory compliance.


Tricia Johnson, Ph.D., Rush University

Tricia Johnson, Ph.D.

Editor's Note: As the director of the Center for Health Management & Policy Research at Rush University, Tricia Johnson, Ph.D., has been studying the economic impacts of medical travel for the past six years. A recent speaker at the Center for Medical Tourism Research conference, Dr. Johnson was kind enough to speak to us about her research and share some highlights from her talk about medical travel and about the future of healthcare.

Medical Travel Today (MTT): If you don't mind, let's start with your background and how you came to study medical travel.
Tricia Johnson (TJ): Certainly. I originally earned my masters in hospital and health administration at the University of Iowa. For a time after that, I worked in healthcare on the provider side. I then went on to get my Ph.D. in economics. After completing my degree, I took a position as a faculty member at Rush University in the Department of Health Systems Management, a graduate program training future leaders in healthcare.
I started to work with my colleague, Andy Garman, on a research effort funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in 2007. Our goal was to look at current and future trends related to inbound and outbound medical travel, as well as the implications of those trends for US providers and other industries. The impetus for the research came from what we were hearing from providers that inbound medical travel was becoming important.

MTT: And how did you conduct your research?
TJ: We did a number of things, including interviews with domestic providers, intermediaries and other stakeholders, and site visits with providers abroad. Our goal was to get a sense of the size of the inbound market.

MTT: How did you determine the focus of your survey or interview?
TJ: We first identified 26 hospitals with U.S. News and World Report national rankings in service lines that we knew were active areas for medical travel. Some of our preliminary evidence had suggested that reputation was a key issue for inbound patients choosing where to go for care. We originally focused on cardiology, orthopedics, cancer, and neurology. In addition, we identified other hospitals with international patient programs through our literature review and contact with various stakeholders.

Through interviews with 22 hospitals, we gained insight into the number of international patients they cared for, where the patients came from, and the infrastructure of their international program. It was a very high level study. Our study found that an estimated 43,000 to 103,000 foreigners came into the U.S. for medical care, and between 50,000 and 121,000 U.S. residents traveled abroad for necessary care in 2007.

As we're looking at this data from an economic perspective, the big takeaway was this: While a slight net outflow of patients leaving the US for medical care existed, the resulting impact on exports was still positive for the US, due to the higher patient complexity and higher average spending per patient coming to the US. We estimate that for every $1 spent by Americans on healthcare abroad, $5.64 is spent by international patients on medical care within the US.

The balance of patients coming in and patients going out is really critical. We need reliable, and regular, mechanisms to track the balance of mobility and trade for medical care to better understand the impact of international patients on the US economy.

MTT: The numbers you cite are from 2007. What's your sense of how things have or haven't changed since then?
TJ: Since the original research we have met a lot of people who oversee international patient programs, and in 2010 we started collaborating with UHC (previously known as University HealthSystem Consortium) on work related to international patients.

UHC is an alliance of 116 academic medical centers and their affiliate hospitals. Through collaboration and the sharing of data, UHC aims to help members become national leaders in healthcare by achieving excellence in quality, safety, and cost-effectiveness. They provide a lot of valuable benchmarking for improvement.

We're also working with the U.S. Department of Commerce on an important project through its Market Development Cooperator Program. The goal of the project is to stimulate growth in the number of international patients coming to the US for medical care through better data, networking and implementing best strategic business development practices. As part of this project, we are also developing better means to systematically measure the number of patients coming here for care and the associated revenue. That kind of data simply doesn't exist now.

Toward this end, we conducted our first survey in December 2010 and January 2011. It has been interesting. Historically there's been competition among US providers but there is a realization that competition from abroad is equally important. This is clearly felt and appreciated among the 30 to 35 providers we worked with nationwide.

MTT: Is that data available yet?
TJ: At this point we've only been sharing the data with participants, primarily to aid them in improving their practices.

Much of our effort over the last six months has been to promote the US as an international healthcare destination.

The US Cooperative for International Patient Programs (USCIPP) was recently launched as a means to increase the global competitiveness of US healthcare providers and to improve access to healthcare in the US for patients from around the world. USCIPP is a partnership of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, UHC, and Rush University. 

It's a truly great way for domestic providers catering to international patients to share best practices and potentially grow their business collectively. It is an exciting time - the first annual USCIPP meeting will be held in Houston in April.

Editor's Note: A growing and highly provider-centric organization, USCIPP welcomes hospitals and hospital systems to join in its efforts. To learn more about participating email Molly Allen at USCIPP@uhc.edu

MTT: I know you operate in a university setting. I'm just wondering if medical travel has crept into your curriculum at all.
TJ: I teach two courses to graduate students in health systems management (HSM). The first is health economics and the other is an applied research project course. This year, I integrated a module on globalization and innovation into the health economics course. It is a multi-faceted topic that brings in a number of economic concepts that relate to patients, providers, and the economy overall.

In addition, we have had students in the past three or so years pursue master's projects on a topic related to medical travel. A current HSM student is developing a macro-level of model of medical travel to identify health and healthcare system regulatory, economic, and social factors that are associated with the number of patients coming into the country, and where they come from. Another student examined whether the length of stay for international patients seen at academic medical centers was longer than domestic patients. She found that the sickest international patients stayed longer than otherwise similar domestic patients.

MTT: Any closing thoughts on your experience as a speaker at the recent Center for Medical Tourism Research Conference you'd like to share?
TJ: Sure, while at the conference I had the opportunity to talk with graduate students in the University of the Incarnate Word's Health Care Administration Program about some of the global trends likely to shape the future of healthcare. We had quite a bit of discussion about growing price and quality transparency, growth in the global mobility of the healthcare workforce, and the unsustainable growth in education costs. These trends are expected to further encourage providers to deliver high-value care and will influence the overall balance of patient mobility for the US.

About Tricia Johnson
Tricia Johnson, Ph.D., is associate professor and acting associate chair in the Department of Health Systems Management at Rush University in Chicago. She is also the director of the Rush's Center for Health Management & Policy Research. As an economist, Johnson was a 2009 Fulbright Scholar to Austria. Her research interests focus on innovation and globalization from an economic perspective. She has regularly been recognized, by both students and fellow faculty, for her excellence in teaching.

Industry News


The "Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012" -- which will take place on June 20-21, 2012, at The Phoenician luxury resort in Scottsdale, Ariz. (www.well-beingtravelconference.com -- has announced its speaker line-up. The conference 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 exchanging insights on critical topics with travel providers and travel sellers who have worldwide customer databases.

The "Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012" will have two distinct educational tracks: one addressing medical tourism and a second exploring wellness travel opportunities. On the medical side, speakers include:

  • Dr. William Ruschhaupt (Chairman, Global Patient Services, Cleveland Clinic) - "Challenges and Opportunities to Servicing Patient Travelers"
  • Josef Woodman (Author and CEO/Founder of Patients Beyond Borders)
  • David Boucher (President & COO, Companion Global Healthcare) - "Real-Life Experiences of Globe-Trotting Patient Travelers"
  • Robert Priddy (Vice-Chairman and President, American World Clinics) - "One World, One Standard for Quality"
  • Dr. Jamil Hussain (Vice President, Global Markets, Press Ganey Associates, Inc.) - "Critical Components to Providing Quality Healthcare on a Global Basis"
  • Laura Carabello (Founder and Principal, CPR Strategic Marketing Communications) - "The Rise of the Global Healthcare System"
  • Tracy Simmons (President, Custom Assurance) - "Medical Travel Insurance for Traveling Patients"
  • Kiana Bright (Co-founder, Thailand Medical Travel & Tourism, Inc.) - "Travel Agents Specializing in Medical Travel"
  • Mark Pestronk (Attorney at Law) - "The Legalities of Medical Travel"

On the wellness/spa side, speakers include:

  • Camille Hoheb, M.S. (Healthcare Administration Founder, USA, Wellness Tourism Worldwide) - "Well-Being Vacations: The How, What and Why"
  • Stephen C. Brewer, M.D. (Director, Canyon Ranch Health Resort and author of The Everest Principal)) - "How to Achieve Your Personal Everest Through Integrative Care"
  • Ron Cates (Director, New Market Development, Constant Contact) - "Breakthrough Secrets of Internet Marketing for Medical and Wellness Travel Providers"
  • Sean Sullivan, J.D. (President & CEO, Institute for Health and Productivity Management) and Deborah Love (EVP & COO, Institute for Health and Productivity Management) - "Achieving Wellness in the Workplace"
  • Anne Dimon (Publisher, Travel to Wellness) - "How to Market and Sell Wellness Vacations"

"In recent news, the U.S. government appointed Steven Thompson, chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine International, to the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. The move demonstrates the value that health-related travel and tourism contributes to the U.S. economy," said Anne Marie Moebes, executive vice president of Well-Being Travel, one of the co-sponsors of the upcoming conference. "Our Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012 is an educational event. But it's also a gathering of thought leaders that will spark innovations and propel the medical and wellness travel industries to new levels of adoption by consumers."

The event is being co-sponsored by Well-Being Travel (the go-to resource for medical tourism, bringing together the medical and travel industries in a breakthrough partnership); Travel Market Report (www.travelmarketreport.com) (an online travel industry news media written in the voice of and designed to be a forum for travel sellers across the globe); and Medical Travel Today (www.medicaltraveltoday.com) (an independent voice of the medical travel industry).

To find out more about attending the Well-Being and Medical 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).

Industry News

The Motley Fool Examines Medical Travel

Editor's Note: A recent issue of The Motley Fool's newsletter, Rule Your Retirement, devoted a good bit of attention to an unbiased consumer's comparison of healthcare received in the U.S. and in Guatemala. While not nearly as comprehensive as the story's title, "How Medical Tourism Really Works," suggests, it's an interesting read for the candid assessment of the experience and value offered in the two countries.

To view "How Medical Tourism Really Works" click here.

Industry News

IHT World Medical Tourism Services Now Includes Opportunity for Complication Coverage Through Global Protective Solutions

 IHT World, a medical tourism company that offers Americans a lower priced alternative for non-emergency surgery and dental treatments, has joined forces with Global Protective Solutions, a medical tourism insurance company to offer coverage to protect patients in the event of complications.

By offering consumers a customized medical tourism insurance policy, IHT World relieves some of the worry and stress related to medical travel.

IHT World receives no commission on customer-purchased policies from Global Protective Solutions, while patients receive coverage for all eligible claims, both while abroad and for a specified period of time after the patient's return home.

In addition to extra medical treatment and/or surgical expenses that may arise as a result of a complication, coverage also includes, but is not limited to:

  • Emergency evacuation and accidental medical expenses for a travel accident unrelated to the medical procedure
  • Repatriation of remains due to a covered complication or a travel accident
  • Accidental death due to a covered complication or a travel accident

To learn more click here.

Industry News

Medical Tourism Guide Novasans Introduces Live Chat

The online guide for medical tourism and healthcare travel, Novasans, is now introducing live chat on the website in order to instantly accommodate and assist patients seeking treatment abroad.

Through the live chat, managed by Novasans travel experts, patients will receive immediate answers to all their medical tourism questions. Novasans' customer representatives will guide the patient to the best hospital and clinic at the preferred destination, suitable hotels and tours, along with guidance for VISA and other travel inquiries. Our customer service representatives are only a chat away.

The live chat functionality is accessed through the Novasans website. By clicking on the chat icon, a chat window will instantly open up from which the patient can chat directly with Novasans' customer service representatives, who will answer all the patient's questions and assist in finding the most suitable hospital, clinic, doctor, or wellness center across the world.

To learn more about Novasans click here.

Industry News

National Center for Policy Analysis Examines the Online Market for Medical Care

Editor's Note: John Goodman of the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA) posted an interesting blog recently, looking at how online bid-for-surgery companies are leveling the playing field for both patients and hospitals, particularly in the United States. As Goodman notes:

"The implications of all this are staggering. The United States is supposed to have the most expensive medical care found anywhere. Yet many U.S. hospitals are able to offer traveling patients package prices that are competitive with the prices charged by top-rated medical tourist facilities in such places as India, Thailand, and Singapore.

All of this illustrates something many of my readers already know. Markets in medical care can work and work well - provided government gets out of the way."

To read the entire blog click here.

Industry News

Cancer Treatment Centers of America to Release Patients Beyond Borders® Focus On
Top US cancer treatment hospitals soon to be featured in popular digital publication series

 Chapel Hill, NC - 1 March, 2012:Patients Beyond Borders® is pleased to announce the June, 2012 release of FOCUS ON: Cancer Treatment Centers of America®, profiling one of America's leading cancer treatment networks specializing in treating patients dealing with complex and advanced-stage cancer diagnoses.

Patients Beyond Borders FOCUS ON: Cancer Treatment Centers of America will provide international healthcare consumers with in-depth information on the hospitals' unique cancer treatment approach, their top doctors and specialties, achievements, and accreditations, as well as patient case studies and travel information.

Founded decades ago by Richard J. Stephenson and based on its own patient-focused principles of the Mother Standard® of care, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) has grown from a single comprehensive treatment center in suburban Illinois to a network of facilities operating throughout the US, including:

A sixth center in Atlanta, GA, will welcome patients beginning August, 2012.

Accredited by The Joint Commission, American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, College of American Pathologists, and American College of Radiology, among others, CTCA's comprehensive and integrative approach to fighting cancer incorporates traditional methods, such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy, with supportive therapies, including nutritional counseling, naturopathic medicine, mind-body medicine, oncology rehabilitation, pain management, and spiritual support, to help patients manage side effects and improve quality of life.

"We've had the opportunity of touring the Illinois and Pennsylvania facilities and were quite impressed with the CTCA approach, achievements, treatment results, and perhaps most important, the hospitals' dedication to the patient," says Josef Woodman, CEO of Patients Beyond Borders. "CTCA is revolutionizing the way cancer patients are experiencing, and in many cases surviving, this disease."

"The US remains a leading destination for cancer treatment, and the CTCA integrative philosophy appeals to international patients,"says Steve Bonner, CEO and president of CTCA. "We are pleased to join Patients Beyond Borders' growing family of leading global medical providers."

FOCUS ON: Cancer Treatment Centers of America will be accessible from a variety of sources, including the Patients Beyond Borders website, CTCA websites, Kindle, Google Books, Apple iBooks and other eBook readers, iPhone and other mobile devices, medical, business, and reference libraries worldwide, and all popular social networks. The publication will be translated into Spanish later this year.

About Cancer Treatment Centers of America
CTCA is a national network of hospitals providing a comprehensive, fully integrated approach to cancer treatment. CTCA serves patients with complex and advanced-stage cancer from all 50 states and around the world at facilities located in Chicago, Philadelphia, Tulsa, Phoenix, Atlanta (2012),and Seattle. Known for delivering the Mother Standard® of care and Patient Empowerment Medicine®, CTCA provides cancer patients and their loved ones with information about cancer and their treatment options so they can participate in critical treatment decisions.

Industry News


March, 2012 (Oyster Bay, NY) - The "Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012" -- which will take place on June 19-21, 2012 at The Phoenician luxury resort in Scottsdale, Arizona (www.well-beingtravelconference.com -- has announced a special sweepstakes for early registrants.

Any one who registers by April 15 will be entered to win an ultra-pampering personal spa package at the Centre for Well-Being at the 5-star Phoenician luxury resort. A $300 value, the prize-winning package includes a choice of two 50-minute spa services (from stimulating facials to soothing massages and renewing body treatments).So while participants are learning more about how to expertly meet their traveling clients’ well-being needs, they can indulge in a special health treat for themselves as well. Any one who has already registered for the event will be included in the drawing.

The "Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012" will explore health, wellness and medical tourism opportunities. This event is positioned to make a major impact on these quickly growing industries because, for the first time, wellness and medical representatives will be exchanging insights on critical topics with travel providers and travel sellers who have worldwide customer databases. 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 market specialized travel offerings.

The event is being co-sponsored by Well-Being Travel (the go-to resource for medical tourism, bringing together the medical and travel industries in a breakthrough partnership); Travel Market Report (www.travelmarketreport.com) (an online travel industry news media written in the voice of and designed to be a forum for travel sellers across the globe); and Medical Travel Today (www.medicaltraveltoday.com) (an independent voice of the medical travel industry).

To find out more about attending the Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012 or participating as a sponsor, visit www.well-beingtravelconference.comor contact Debbie Press (888-854-0339 or dpress@well-beingtravel.com).


Upcoming Events

CPR Strategic Marketing Communication featured at IHPM's 12th Annual International Health & Productivity Management Conference

A Global Experience in the Future of Health & Productivity
April 2-4, 2012
Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Orlando, FL

The annual Institute for Health & Productivity Management Conference taking place in Orlando, Florida 2-4 April 2012, has drawn an international line-up of speakers and delegates from Europe, the USA and Asia, including Medical Travel Today’s own Laura Carabello. Carabello will address the conference on the morning of Wednesday, April 4th on the topic of  Medical Tourism: The Globalization of Health Care Delivery

The Congress program addresses all aspects of corporate health including behavioural health, reducing global burden of chronic disease, changing the way to finance healthcare and workforce health as a national policy.

Special rates for international delegates are available click here to download registration form.

Click here for the full program.

Exotic Medical Tourism Congress & Expo 2012 

The Exotic Medical Tourism Congress & Expo 2012 will be held in the Maldives islands May 7-11, 2012. The Congress is intended to serve as an excellent platform to discuss strategies and trends in the emerging medical tourism sphere, as well as to network in the exotic setting of the Maldives.

The Congress will feature leading healthcare and business professionals, health insurance companies, medical tourism facilitators, international hospitals and medical service providers, law firms, government officials, and associated partners from around the globe to participate, exhibit, and share. To learn more or register click here.

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.  

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

Hotels boost medical tourism programs
Hotelnewsnow.com - Increasing costs of medical procedures and health insurance in many countries have consumers considering alternative ways to get quality care at prices they can afford.

Medical tourism is growing in popularity as an option, and hoteliers around the globe are working to facilitate the process for traveling patients.

Traveling4Health&Retirement Opens Global Communication Among International Medical Providers and Patients Worldwide
Traveling4Health&Retirement (THR) heralds a new era in traveling, global health, and lifestyle with a first opportunity for individuals to explore their options with medical travel and international living.

Traveling4Health&Retirement is the only resource of its kind for the meeting of overseas retirement and health advocacy.

Atkins Completes Design of Oman Medical City
Atkins has completed the master plan of a new world-class health facility, The Medical City, in Salalah, Oman. The project will be the largest private healthcare development in Oman. Atkins was asked to design the master plan for The Medical City on a site covering 800,000 square miles. Located next to the Arabian Sea, the development aims to make use of the surrounding context, hoping it will become a ‘preferred destination for rehabilitation and medical tourism.'

Medical tourism trend could force local hospitals to adapt
Birmingham Business Journal - The burgeoning medical tourism industry could bring increased competition that will drive efficiency and lower prices in America's healthcare system - or force some hospitals to close - a local healthcare researcher said.

Aborting birth tourism: Canada should look to other countries to solve immigration scam
The privilege of Canadian citizenship is being compromised by crooked consultants who are encouraging a trade in so-called maternity tourism - when wealthy pregnant women from China travel to Canada on visitor or student visas, for the sole purpose of giving birth.

These women have their babies in Canadian hospitals, eventually obtain their children's birth certificates, and leave the country without paying their medical bills and secure in the knowledge they've got a future ticket to immigrate to Canada

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.