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© 2012 Medical Travel Today

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

Publisher, Laura Carabello

Table of Contents

From the Editor

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

News in Review

Warning over Medical and Dental Tourism

How Doctors and Patients Do Harm

Medical tourism may be the remedy for high US healthcare costs

'Ritzy' hospital prepares $5M division

Rocco Forte Hotels reinforce growing medical tourism trend


Cliff Orme and Balbina Lankenau, CIMA Monterrey, PART ONE


From Medical Travel for Clinical Trials to Traditional Therapies, Minerva's Personal Health Choice Plan Offers Complete and Unbiased Care Options

Industry News

Mixed Signals on Ascension Health Plans for $2 Billion Cayman "Health City" Project

Johns Hopkins and Westbank First Nation Discuss Luxury Medical Tourist Facility: Is it viable?

Hospitals and Health Systems Anticipate that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will Reduce Organizational Revenue

Out-of-the-Box Thinking Makes Insurance Available in Big-Box Stores

Save On Medical is a Resource to Patients in Texas Cities

48 Million People Lack Insurance, Unaware of Health Law

Jamaica Poised To Benefit From US$35 Billion Health Tourism Industry - Government Seeking To Develop Plan To Tap Into Growing Market

Upcoming Events

The First Diyarbakir Health Tourism Congress to be held May 11-13, 2012

Exotic Medical Tourism Congress & Expo 2012

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

Hotels Bridging Healthcare Conference Announced


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Global Health Voyager

Volume 6, Issue 9

by Amanda Haar, Editor


Yet another interesting week in the world of medical travel. Both big players and small have been at work merging resources and ideas with what some might argue are varying degrees of results.

On the one hand, Ascension Health announced plans to invest $2 billion in a "health city" in the Cayman Islands. This sounds terrific except for the fact that the leading players in the project (Ascension and Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals in India) seem to have different ideas about its purpose (See INDUSTRY NEWS). Two players, one project, two visions...curious.

Then, on the other hand, there's Farah Walsh of Minerva Journeys -- one player merging experience from two industries into one novel idea (See PERSPECTIVES). Drawing on her experience in clinical trials and medical travel, Walsh has developed a new approach to addressing the need for complete and personalized care options. While yet to be proven, Walsh's approach could quickly change the expectations of consumers exploring medical travel options.

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


Amanda Haar, Editor

Log onto Facebook and join the Medical Travel Today Group. Look for recent news, trends, and post discussions in the board. If you would like to see something in Medical Travel Today let us know in the discussion board. If you have a question, post it there!

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Cliff Orme and Balbina Lankenau, CIMA Monterrey, PART ONE

Cliff Orme, President and COO, International Hospitals (CIMA)

Medical Travel Today (MTT): I'd like to start with CIMA's Medical Value Travel. What prompted its launch and how does it operate?

Cliff Orme (CO): Medical Value Travel (MVT) came about when we realized that there were a significant number of people looking for healthcare services abroad. Most people jumped around from site to site, but they didn't really understand how the experience of traveling for healthcare occurs...what's involved, what to consider, even just what to ask. That's what prompted us to create the MVT website.

In terms of what MVT provides, I'll let Balbina speak to that.

Balbina Lankenau (BL): Sure. MVT has been in operation since 2008. As it has evolved it's taken international patient care to a different level than many other facilities offer. And what I mean by that is that patients work with both a nurse coordinator and a medical travel specialist who handle their case from beginning to end. The nurse coordinator, who is an actual RN, guides them through the pre-op process, from imaging to the prep room, recovery and beyond. The medical travel specialist coordinates all communication between the hospital, CIMA physicians and the patient, and handles hotel arrangements, scheduling appointments and any other activities.

The doctors in our program are experienced, fully credentialed CIMA physicians, carefully selected to participate with the MVT department, who have received training at some of the world's most renowned facilities in either Europe or the US. They're also all completely fluent in English.


Balbina Lankenau, Regional Manager for International Patient Services

All of these things help to make the patient feel very welcome, and create a level of comfort - that we know your case, we're ready to handle your needs, and that you're more than another patient.

MTT: From where do most MVT patients originate? And what kind of care are they seeking?

CO:  The American South and Southwest, plus a few from Central America and Canada. The type of care they receive depends upon which of our locations they go to - Mexico, Brazil or Costa Rica. Without a doubt the areas of orthopedics, cardiology, general surgery, gynecology, bariatrics and plastic surgery are our most active areas.

MTT: Do most patients come to you directly or through a facilitator?

BL:  It's a combination. We work with 15 to 20 facilitators from all over the world with five or so US-based companies being the most active. We're very comfortable with these folks because they are the established organizations, with a true appreciation for what our patients want and the culture we provide. They have been very successful at promoting our services and guiding patients into our system.

But we do also have a number of patients who come to us directly.

MTT: I'm curious. Do those "independent" patients have a relationship with your facilities or family in the area that adds to their comfort?

BL: I wouldn't say they have family in the area, but many have been to a region or country before, say Costa Rica, and have a certain level of comfort from having seen the facilities, or they have heard about us. That kind of experience with a place definitely helps drive their choice of destination.

Part Two of this conversation will appear in Issue 10 of Medical Travel Today.

About Clifton Orme

Clifton N. Orme has served as chief operating officer of the CIMA Division of International Hospital Corporation since September 2006, and currently is president and COO of the Division. Prior to joining the company Mr. Orme was administrator/chief executive officer of LifeCare Hospitals of Pittsburgh, which now has 283 beds and four hospital campuses in the Greater Pittsburgh, Penn., area including Bellevue, Natrona Heights, Monroeville and Wilkinsburg. Early in his career he served in various executive capacities including: director of Physician Relations for the HealthTrust Mountain Division, which was subsequently bought by HCA/Columbia; assistant administrator for Columbia Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center, a 312-bed general acute care hospital; and, executive director of Valley Hospital Association, now Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, a 74-bed general acute care facility. With over 20 years of experience in hospital leadership, Orme excels at leading turnarounds and continuous improvement at small to mid-size hospitals, has served on the boards of two state hospital associations and was adjunct professor for the University of St. Francis, associate professor at the University of Phoenix and fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He received his M.B.A. from Brigham Young University and graduated with distinction.

About Balbina Lankenau

Balbina Lankenau de la Garza, regional manager, International Patient Services "Medical Value Travel" department for International Hospital Corporation (IHC). She graduated cum laude from the Universidad de Monterrey specializing in International Marketing. She has an extensive background in international customer service and is a highly qualified manager with experience in the field of medical tourism.

Balbina has held the position of general manager for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Mexico and most recently managing director of a global healthcare company specializing in matching international patients with accredited hospitals in Latin America. Also, she has consulted to numerous professionals and physicians, US health plans and American medical tourism entrepreneurs. 

Since the exponential growth of travel for healthcare, the CIMA and VITA hospitals have found the need to aid international patients by being directly involved with the patient's personal needs before, during and after they receive care in the CIMA and VITA hospitals located throughout Latin America in Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil. Balbina is currently managing a staff of bilingual coordinators and nurse coordinators. She manages the day-to-day operations between the MVT offices, its US clients, CIMA & VITA hospitals and their physicians.


From Medical Travel for Clinical Trials to Traditional Therapies, Minerva's Personal Health Choice Plan Offers Complete and Unbiased Care Options

As the expression goes, Farrah Walsh cut her teeth in the field of clinical research and drug development. After freshman year in college, she took her first job as an intern - Clinical Research associate through Northeastern University’s co-op program for a startup medical device company called Aspect Medical Systems. While her career path over the next 18 years took her to different companies and sectors of the industry, she never strayed far from the clinical research field, even in 2011 when she launched Minerva Journeys, a medical travel company based in the US, with offices in Costa Rica, Turkey, Thailand, Czech Republic and Guatemala (see Issue 2 for complete story).

In fact, she continues to work with large pharmaceutical companies and consulting firms, assisting in clinical trials, fixing issues on SWAT teams, and helping doctors recruit patients and conduct trials in the US and worldwide.

As she explains it, "Clinical research trials and drug development is a highly specialized and relatively low-key field. For the most part, only people in the industry know about it and, frankly, a lot of doctors don't even fully understand it."

Part of the challenge of understanding clinical trials is that every trial is different.

"Every trial has its own criteria and the need for patients based on what condition they have, what stage they're at, their age, the treatments they've already undergone, and so on makes finding the right patients for the trial challenging," says Walsh. "In many cases, potential candidates are unaware that these trials even exist.”
Patients are selected based on specific criteria and sometimes have to travel. Depending on the trial and treatment, travel could be required monthly or weekly for the duration of a trial, which is usually for one year or longer. As an incentive to participate, patients are often offered a rollover study and can continue to receive study medication and periodic visits, all paid for by the sponsoring pharmaceutical company.

"Trials are particularly important to people suffering from cancer and rare diseases," notes Walsh. "It's through trials that they gain free access to the latest medications being developed. These are not drugs that can be found on the open market."

Not only is the cost of treatment, scans, blood tests and medication free, the sponsoring pharmaceutical company also foots the bill for all expenses related to travel and accommodations.

Walsh adds, "But even more important is the hope for a successful treatment or, at the very least, a better understanding of how a condition or disease responds to certain therapies. This is really what drives my passion for assisting patients, and often a person’s motivation for participating in one of these studies.

"Without question, clinical research is critically important to the success of a pharmaceutical. In fact, it takes about 15 years for the Food and Drug Administration to approve a drug. During that time, a drug may be tested on up to 6,000 patients. So the need for study participants is very high."

Here's where Walsh's past and present come together to create a new concept in patient choice.

"As a patient myself, in need of a great deal of care advice, and now with Minerva Journeys, I recognized that when someone is given a diagnosis, they want as much information as possible,” Walsh says. “The first thing they do is surf the Web in search of the best specialists, the best facilities, alternative therapies, and so on.  But it’s difficult to tell on the Web what is credible information and what is not. Plus, you can spend days, weeks even, digging up information without actually getting closer to finding what's right for you.

“In much the same way that we at Minerva Journeys try to help patients sort out their options and choices when they are seeking a specific treatment, I realized that we could help patients with virtually any condition in the same way."

From that not-so simple recognition, Minerva's Personal Health Choice Plan® (PHCP) was born. Designed to help any individual sort through all of their options for treatment or care of a condition, PHCP® goes above and beyond to provide information that is more thorough than what can be found in the assortment of brochures that a patient is typically offered in a doctor's office.

"When an individual signs up for PHCP® they are assigned a personal health advocate,” says Walsh. “This is a trained medical professional who specializes in the given care area, and who will stay on as the individual's point person and contact for the entire term of their relationship with us.”

Based on the individual's health history, records and current diagnosis, the advocate prepares a comprehensive research report covering the basics of the condition, leading specialists and facilities, as well as treatment options, alternative treatments, types of treatment and facilities, and clinical trials in your immediate area and beyond.

"We simply have access to a depth of information that the typical patient can't access," says Walsh. "For example, you may be able to find the names of surgeons who perform the needed procedure, but can you find how many of these procedures they’ve performed and the outcomes? We can, and we provide that in each report."

In addition, patients will get a monthly subscription to the HealthChoice®Journal, which offers the latest research and development in treating a given condition, as well as listings for new or upcoming clinical trials, wellness tips and other information – all in layman’s terms.

Furthermore, patients aren't the only ones who benefit from the PHCP® report and HealthChoice®Journal. By raising awareness for clinical trials, pharmaceutical companies stand to gain from a larger pool of potential participants. In addition, they'll have an opportunity to share their latest findings and research with a receptive audience.

The PHCP® report and HealthChoice®Journal represent more than raw data. Each specialized health advocate reviews the complete report with their patient and brings some understanding to the data and options.  Walsh notes, "The goal is to give individuals a roadmap to understanding ALL their options and then help them sort through what each might mean, why it might work for them, and why it might not. You can’t get these answers from a five-minute visit with your doctor, who has little time to spend as it is."

Throughout the process, Minerva keeps the patient's primary care physician in the loop and facilitates transfer of medical records if a patient chooses to travel for treatment.

Plus, once a care path decision is made, the advocate via Minerva Journeys can assist with arranging the treatment, including application for clinical trials, travel arrangements and so on.

Registering for PHCP® can be done either by phone (1-888-843-7022) or online at www.minervajourneys.com with as little as $25/month or $300/annually. Minerva Journeys understands that healthcare is an ongoing process of finding what works best for the overall health and well-being of a patient.

Industry News

Mixed Signals on Ascension Health Plans for $2 Billion Cayman "Health City" Project

"We're not considering this a medical tourism facility."

"... we intend to offer cost-effective treatment for the citizens of the US and also (those) who are under-insured."

Stltoday.com - Ascension Health Alliance executives say their joint venture to build a $2 billion "health city" in the Cayman Islands with an India-based hospital group will bring high-quality, low-cost medicine to the Caribbean and South America.

"We're not considering this a medical tourism facility -- that's not the intent at all," said Anthony Tersigni, president and chief executive of Edmundson-based Ascension Health Alliance, which runs the nation's largest Catholic and nonprofit health system. "I'm not sure we're going to have U.S. patients at the Caymans."

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

Johns Hopkins and Westbank First Nation Discuss Luxury Medical Tourist Facility: Is it viable?

http://blogs.vancouversun.com - Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore is consistently ranked as America's best. As a brand, it doesn't get any better.

It has a global arm (Johns Hopkins International) so it can share its intellectual talent pool. Those are just two of the reasons the Westbank First Nation (WFN) wants it on board for Canada's first $125 million, luxury hospital aimed at foreign medical tourists and Canadians seeking expedited care. (There are at least 75,000 B.C. patients waiting right now for surgery).

"We have had some very early, preliminary discussions with representatives of (the Westbank) First Nation regarding their desire to establish a hospital," says Gary Stephenson, director of public affairs for Johns Hopkins Hospital.

To continue reading this blog click here.

Industry News

Hospitals and Health Systems Anticipate that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will Reduce Organizational Revenue

HighRoads, the industry leader in SaaS-enabled (software as a service) healthcare compliance and benefits management, and Sullivan, Cotter and Associates, Inc. (SullivanCotter), a nationally-recognized compensation and human resource management consulting firm, find that 55 percent of hospitals and health systems anticipate a drop in revenue as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with 12 percent anticipating an increase in revenue. Perhaps more tell-tale of the volatile nature the industry faces is that 28 percent have reported that they don't yet know the impact that ACA will have on revenues.

These findings are part of an inaugural survey of Employee Benefit Practices in Hospitals and Health Systems performed by HighRoads and SullivanCotter between November 2011 and January 2012. The survey received responses from 178 participants, including 126 health systems, which had an average employee range of between 3,000 and 9,500. 

To continue reading click here.

Industry News

Out-of-the-Box Thinking Makes Insurance Available in Big-Box Stores

Editor's Note: While not directly tied to medical travel, this recent fiercehealthpayer.com story regarding Aetna's decision to make health insurance policies available for purchase at Costco caught my eye. While I don't think one-size-fits-all, off-the-shelf medical travel packages will be quick to follow (or even a good idea), I'm certain that some clever medical travel marketer will find a way to leverage this concept and adapt it to their offering.

To read the story, click here.

Industry News

Save On Medical is a Resource to Patients in Texas Cities

Prweb.com - Save On Medical announces their new patient assistance initiative, which helps patients in low-populated areas find quality and affordable healthcare providers with comparative price-shopping features. Patients with limited physician access now have a resource to help them discover the closest providers with the best reviews and pricing.

Geographic data firm, Ersi, and The Washington Post released a study last week highlighting the areas throughout the country in need of improved physician access. Cities in states such as Nevada, Texas, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Michigan and Mississippi are recognized as having fewer than 1,000 patients per doctor's office. Even in Central Florida where there is a high physician population, patients in less populated areas have to travel long distances to find general practitioners and specialists.

Patients, like Mindy Treadwell from Cedar Key, Fla., end up opting to go without care in order to save time, money and hassle. "Using a website like Save On Medical is a no-brainer for someone like me, who owns my own business and is a self-payer for care," says Treadwell, who is like one-quarter of Americans who are uninsured and must resort to price shopping for affordable cash prices for care. "Knowing that resources like Save On Medical can help you to get the preventative care you need is huge to me and my family because we have a history of cancer in our family. Knowing that we can afford the screening necessary to keep ourselves healthy is just wonderful. I will tell all of my employees and friends about Save On Medical."

Treadwell was told about Save On Medical by a patient coordinator in Leesburg, Fla., when she inquired about affordable ultrasound pricing in Central Florida. Challenges like Treadwell's are not uncommon in rural areas, where the likelihood of a densely uninsured patient population is high. It is important for these patients to learn about their resources and be proactive about their health and wellness. Learn more by clicking, here.

Industry News

48 Million People Lack Insurance, Unaware of Health Law

fiercehealthpayer.com - Almost 25 percent of adults between 19 and 64 years old--or 48 million people--lacked health insurance last year, and almost 70 percent of those adults lacked health coverage for more than a year, according to a study published by the Commonwealth Fund.

The study suggests that this coverage gap is partly driven by a lack of knowledge of the health reform law's new provisions granting additional coverage. For example, 40 percent of respondents age 19 to 29 didn't know they could receive coverage through their parents' insurance, and 65 percent of uninsured respondents didn't know about high-risk pools, reported Kaiser Health News.

Plus, the current individual market inhibits easy purchase of plans. Almost 66 percent of respondents said they couldn't find affordable policies, The Wall Street Journal Health Blog reported. "The individual market has proven to be a weak stop-gap option for families who lose employer insurance," researchers wrote.

Making matters worse, the study found that individuals without health insurance often skip important medical care and preventive services such as cancer screenings. Nearly 75 percent of 40 to 64-year-old women with insurance had a mammogram in the previous two years, while only 28 percent of uninsured women in that age group received a mammogram, according to the Los Angeles Times.

To learn more:

  • read the Commonwealth Fund study
  • read the Los Angeles Times article
  • see the Wall Street Journal Health Blog article
  • check out the Kaiser Health News article

Industry News

Jamaica Poised To Benefit From US$35 Billion Health Tourism Industry - Government Seeking To Develop Plan To Tap Into Growing Market

Jamaica-gleaner.com - With the capacity to generate in excess of US$35 billion per year, health tourism appears to be a viable income-generating option, which, if pursued, could bring vast sums into the country's coffers.

"There is a lot of potential for health tourism in Jamaica," said Dr. Wykeham McNeill, minister of tourism and entertainment. "Numerous persons have shown interest, and we are working closely with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Commerce - in particular, Jampro - to ensure that we put in place a health tourism policy to grow this area," added McNeill during an interview with The Sunday Gleaner.

To continue reading click here.

Upcoming Events

The First Diyarbakir Health Tourism Congress to be held May 11-13, 2012

The I. International Diyarbakir Health Tourism Congress to be held in Diyarbakir will be attended by Ministers, Members of Parliament, public institutions, Chambers of Trade and Commerce and Municipalities, representatives of various hospitals and healthcare organizations and many non-governmental organizations, along with high ranking representatives of the World Health Organization, the European Union, D-8 Countries, Black Sea Economic Cooperation Countries and the Middle East.

Slated speakers and guests include representative of Germany, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, France, Russia, Iran, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Topics to be addressed include: "The Duties and Responsibilities of Politics in the Development of Diyarbakir's and the Region's Health Tourism Potential" and "Cooperation and Investment in Developing Health Tourism in Diyarbakir and the Region".

Chairwoman of the Middle East Health Tourism Council Surgeon, Dr. Esin Tan stated that with this congress aims to be a first great step towards contributing to regional economic development by increasing the international recognition and the branding of Diyarbakir and regional cities in the field of health tourism.

For detailed information on the subject you can visit: www.orsakon.org

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.

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

Warning over Medical and Dental Tourism

More than 50,000 people leave the UK to have medical or dental treatment abroad every year, however, a consultant surgeon has warned that patients must do extensive research in order to avoid pitfalls.

How Doctors and Patients Do Harm
Newyorktimes.com - Just how broken is the United States healthcare system? Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, paints a grim picture in his new book "How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick In America'' (St. Martin's Press).

Medical tourism may be the remedy for high US healthcare costsdailyillini.com - While the Supreme Court quietly decides the fate of President Barack Obama's Affordable Health Care Act, a trend has emerged in the American healthcare market that will be unaffected by the Supreme Court's decision: medical tourism.

'Ritzy' hospital prepares $5M division
thenassauguardian.com/-- A "ritzy" new hospital overlooking Paradise Island plans to spend as much as $5 million on an imaging department that should open in a month. The move will be the first stage of the Renaissance...

Rocco Forte Hotels reinforce growing medical tourism trend
Home to some of the most highly qualified and experienced physicians in the world, Germany has become an industry leader and premier medical hub for Middle Eastern travelers seeking premium, safe and easily accessible healthcare. Year-on-year the medical tourism industry is witnessing a growth of 20 to 30 percent, with experts predicting the trend to increase to a $100 billion sector by the end of 2012 - residents from the United Arab Emirates alone spend up to $2 billion in healthcare travel annually.

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