THIS WEEK IN U.S. DOMESTIC MEDICAL TRAVEL

Volume 1, Issue 15

Dear Colleagues,

Prescription painkillers continue to dominate the discussion regarding substance abuse, with an increased prevalence of addiction and accidental deaths related to overdose reported in the United States and around the world.

These issues continue to challenge the employer community, with mounting pressures to provide solutions and opportunities for recovery. We had the opportunity to interview one organization that offers a unique setting that may be appealing to employers throughout the United States and individuals worldwide: Orchard Recovery Center (ORC) on Bowen Island in British Columbia, Canada. David B. Green, chief medical officer, and Lorinda Strang, executive director, detail the recovery center, its programs, outcomes and aftercare.

Ultimately, ORC provides employers with a sense of empowerment - a preferred solution within this particular sector of healthcare delivery.

Additionally, I had the pleasure of speaking with David Lansky, president and CEO, Pacific Business Group on Health, in regards to the coalition's Employers Centers of Excellence Network (ECEN), which is highlighted in a previous issue. The ECEN, offering a state-of-the-art travel surgery program, serves to provide patients with high quality, affordable healthcare.

For the growing number of readers who are interested in the U.S. domestic medical travel space, I am pleased to report that the Self Insurance Institute of America has invited me to chair a panel on the subject at the annual meeting: www.siia.org/national.

Date: October 5-7, 2014
Location: JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort, Phoenix, AZ

The SIIA National Conference & Expo is the world's largest event focused exclusively on the self-insurance/alternative risk transfer marketplace, typically attracting more than 1,700 attendees from throughout the United States and from a growing number of countries around the world. The program features more than 40 educational sessions designed to help employers and their business partners identify and maximize the value of self-insurance solutions.

For additional details about SIIA and the medical travel panel, read the article entitled, "SIIA Panel Discussion: Domestic Medical Travel - Opportunities and Challenges for Self-Insured Employers," below.

With the growing interest in medical/surgical travel options, we'd like to hear from your provider organization - ACO, health/hospital system, free standing surgi-center, community hospital - about why you believe that your facility or organization is a Center of Excellence that can serve the needs of employers and payers throughout the United States.

What distinguishes your service offering in terms of cost, patient experience and satisfaction, outcomes, or other quality indicators? Send us your descriptor, including photos or charts, and we will evaluate for publication in this newsletter.

Thank you for your interest in this exciting, growing market space. Please be in touch with your comments and editorial contributions, which can be sent directly to: editor@USDomesticMedicalTravel.com.


Laura Carabello
Editor and Publisher

 

SPOTLIGHT:
David B. Green, Chief Medical Officer, Orchard Recovery Center
Lorinda Strang, Executive Director, Orchard Recovery Center on Bowen Island, Canada

 

David B. Green, CMO, Orchard Recovery Center

http://www.orchardrecovery.com/
development@orchardrecovery.com

About David B. Green
David is a C-Level Global Business Developer with extensive international business expertise in domestic and international healthcare delivery and expatriate health insurance underwriting operations. He has operated businesses and distribution networks as insurer, reinsurer, broker, consultant, medical care facilitator, healthcare IT expert, insurance syndicate liaison, third party administrator and managing general underwriter in the Americas, Caribbean, European Union, United Kingdom, Asia-Pacific, MENA/GCC, Australia and New Zealand.

During a 30-year career David has been involved in various global medical tourism initiatives and has established international distribution channels enabling successful cross border patient flows to private hospitals (medical specialties; cardio, oncology, orthopedic, neurosurgical, cosmetic, HIFU, bariatric), infertility clinics, rehabilitation/addiction treatment facilities - drugs and alcohol etc., operating in many global regions, facilitating intercontinental patient referrals in the United Kingdom, Canada, United States, Atlantic and Caribbean - with clients originating from numerous countries and from all continents. Experienced in international health insurance, business development, claims management, medical management, provider networking, reinsurance treaty negotiation, medical evacuations, medical assistance, air ambulance, destination healthcare, K&R security, healthcare IT systems, data collection/mining, integration and reporting.

David is retained as Subject Matter Expert and at C-level for major multinational HR consulting houses, international EB broking organizations, health insurance groups, TPA's, MGA's, HMO's, hospital groups, addiction and rehabilitation groups, and governmental health ministries.

He is a published author and has lived and worked on all continents establishing a global distribution connectivity network across 70 countries. Many of the strategic alliance partners are major multinationals practicing within the global corporate, employee benefits and HR Capital sectors. His first sortie within Destination Healthcare delivery was in 1992 when he managed a process enabling Americans - New England states (Boston, Massachusetts) -- to access IVF and GIFT infertility treatments in Central England in conjunction with a private U.K. hospital and fertility group. Similar initiatives followed in Australia, Western New York, US & Bermuda.

 

Lorinda Strang, Executive Director, Orchard Recovery Center

About Lorinda Strang
Lorinda Strang oversees all daily operations of the Orchard and ensures the quality of care and treatment provided is consistent and of the highest caliber. She draws on her personal experience with addiction and recovery to convey strength and hope to clients and their families. Lorinda is committed to the Orchard's community of recovery and is a powerful advocate for the addict who still suffers.

"Our goal is for clients to leave the Orchard ready to live life feeling emotionally strong, personally accountable and excited about their ongoing recovery," she says. "At the core of our beliefs and values is our absolute conviction that all clients can succeed."

Lorinda is also the co-founder of Faces and Voices of Recovery Canada and Recovery Day which received an award by SAMHSA - Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration based out of Washington, District of Columbia. She also received a Nomination for Women of Distinction Award in 2008.

Lorinda has been called upon as an expert witness before the Canadian House of Commons Standing Committee on Health Drug Caucus, and was on a panel of experts that presented before Combating Prescription Drug Abuse Caucus in Ottawa. She has worked extensively with Member of Parliament John Weston serving on the Drug Abuse Prevention round table, National Prescription Drug Drop Off Day, Bill C-475 - making it a crime to acquire the products to make crystal meth and ecstasy drugs.

Lorinda and her work at the Orchard Recovery have been featured on A&E's Intervention, and Intervention Canada, CBC, Georgia Straight, Vancouver Magazine, North Shore News, Global TV, Globe and Mail, CKNW, CKOM, and the Calgary Herald. 

About Orchard Recovery Center
The Orchard Recovery Center (ORC) is a private residential drug rehabilitation and alcohol addiction treatment center located near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Our compassionate staff is committed to the belief that all individuals can and will become responsible for their own recovery from drugs and alcohol when given the proper level and quality of encouragement and substance abuse treatment. With guidance and support, our clients learn how to put aside their fears, grief, resentments and shame, and discover the new hope a clean and sober lifestyle offers.

At the Orchard drug rehab center, our counselors, support and medical staff are committed to providing each client with individual attention, care and support. Limiting our residential Primary Care program to 30 participants allows our medical, counseling and support staff the flexibility and time to focus on each client as an individual.

Our drug rehab team administers substance abuse treatment for individuals struggling with alcoholism and various forms of chemical dependency. We provide help to those in need of rehabilitation from their addictions to alcohol, heroin, opiates, cocaine, crack, crystal-meth, marijuana, prescription drugs (Oxycontin, Percodan, etc), and other self-defeating behaviors in a comfortable, intimate and respectful environment.

The Orchard drug rehabilitation center is an affordable alternative to the larger U.S.-based institutional treatment settings. Our Bowen Island location near Vancouver, British Columbia, off the west coast of Canada, enhances the level of privacy and security our clients experience.

The substance abuse treatment center is easily accessible by car and is approximately three hours from Seattle, Washington, and 40 minutes from downtown Vancouver, British Columbia. We welcome clients from across Canada, the United States and around the world and will arrange a pick-up at the Vancouver International Airport or can provide a fully inclusive door to door concierge service.

U.S. Domestic Medical Travel (USDMT): Why is Orchard Recovery Center (ORC) a unique opportunity for employers and payers?

David B. Green (DG): With the colossal amount of national and international publicity coverage that celebrities receive surrounding addiction, many individuals tend to first consider treatment at higher profile facilities. This "news" is often broadcast in the media.

While it doesn’t make headlines, many corporate organizations and their respective human resource departments utilize ORC as a primary resource for sought out specialist treatments and advice and then enable access to established and proven programs, as well.

It is our mission to offer employers a sense of empowerment - a preferred solution within this particular sector of healthcare delivery.

For years, existing clients have provided prospective clients with referrals, testimonials and introductions, which have been very positive. But we want to expand our reach network and offer services to more clients at cross border and international levels.

ORC offers U.S. and Canadian corporations the opportunity to gain access to a tremendous source of healing in a very private setting, all at a competitive, commercially viable and attractive price.

Employers send their employees with confidence, knowing that after four-to-six weeks of recovery treatment, their employees will return to work in a healthier state of mind, more able to contribute positively with co-workers and toward the continued well-being and performance of their respective employer companies.

USDMT: Can you detail the advantages of ORC’s location?

Lorinda Strang (LS): The location of ORC, which is on Bowen Island in British Columbia, Canada, is a key component to our success.

We are 20 minutes from West Vancouver and 30 minutes from the Vancouver airport. Being situated on an island that is so close to a city enables us to hire diverse, award winning clinicians and medical teams from an International city that is right on our doorstep. 

Upon arrival on Bowen Island, many of our clients have said they felt an immediate sense of relief, safety and privacy.

USDMT: What percentage of your clientele is from the United States versus elsewhere?

LS: About 20 percent of our clients are from the United States.

When we first opened the facility back in 2002, the Canadian dollar exchange was very much in favor of the U.S. dollar, and right now the Canadian dollar is sitting at almost 10 percent less than the U.S. dollar.

We remain a very competitive option for American clients.

USDMT: How have you traditionally reached the employers in this marketplace?

DG: As previously mentioned, we have referrals from corporations across the United States and Canada, and many positive testimonials from previous clients.

Alumni will go back to their employers and prove that treatment at ORC is effective, which in turn serves as a reference point for future treatments that they need to refer.

LS: We also have great connections with interventionists in the United States and Canada.

We have a strong alliance with corporations that continually refer clients, or with medical professionals and counseling agencies that are in Canada.

Many clients from the United States are from the West Coast, but we have also reached out and attracted clients from the East Coast and down in Florida, as well.

USDMT: What is the typical length and cost of treatment?

LS: The typical length of stay is a six-week program, or 42 days, and the cost of treatment ranges from $20,000-$29,000 (Canadian).

Our outcomes speak for themselves through our referrals, our alumni or their families, or corporations that continue to refer back to us.

USDMT: In the United States, a 28-day treatment program is the norm. Does ORC offer a 28-day program?

LS: ORC does offer a 28-day program.

After 28 days the client is then considered an alumnus for life and is entitled to follow-up phone calls for up to a year. Also, in the event of necessary follow-up treatment, a discount is offered.

USDMT: But typically there is low recidivism?

LS: Yes.

ORC does a fantastic job with completion of treatment, which is very important. Our completion rate is 90 percent.

In some cases, employees are reluctant to receive treatment, and ORC helps clients become medically fit, stable and excited about long-term recovery.

USDMT: Does ORC participate in drug therapy?

LS: ORC offers full complementary care for the client. When our clients arrive addicted to opioid prescription medication our detox protocol typically lasts between 7 to 10 days.  

Suboxone or Methadone are used during the detox phase and in most cases clients leave the ORC completely detoxed from opioids. 

However, all cases are looked at individually by our medical team and in some instances longer term medically assisted treatment options are available. 

USDMT: Is the 28-day program long enough for clients to yield successful outcomes?

LS: Our traditional program is really six weeks, but we do have a great success rate with the 28-day program.

Many times, employees are obligated to return to work as soon as possible, which is why clients may opt for a shorter stay.

ORC works closely with clients to make sure appropriate aftercare is arranged.

USDMT: Is the aftercare individualized, as well?
LS: Absolutely!

Before clients leave ORC, we assist with aftercare appointment coordination and confirm that all conditions are met with employers before the employee returns to work.

USDMT: How does your program compare to high profile treatment facilities?

LS: First and foremost, ORC has excellent award-winning clinicians. Secondly, because our facility is slightly smaller than many high profile centers, we are able to provide more personal, individualized treatment. ORC is much less of an institutionalized facility.

If an employee has to check in with their employer while at ORC, we allow the client to have a few minutes on the computer or phone to take care of their personal matters. As a result, the clients can put their mind at ease and focus on treatment.

USDMT: How does the growing heroin issue compare to the prescription painkiller epidemic?

LS: Heroin has undoubtedly made a huge comeback in the last few years, which is a direct result of the prescription opioid, Oxycontin - both drugs are of great concern.

Prescription medication is branching out to other opioids besides Oxycontin. In Canada, we see very similar drug trends compared to what you see in the United States.

USDMT: Will ORC expand to other sites in the future?

LS: Right now, we are just focused on the Vancouver, British Columbia, area. We do have alumni spread out throughout Canada, the United States and internationally. We have alumni meetings throughout Canada.

USDMT: Can U.S. citizens take advantage of the meetings as well?

LS: Of course!

When a client is receiving treatment at ORC, they have a counselor, and a step coach (sober coach), and these individuals make calls to the clients after they have left to offer continuous support.

We encourage all clients to stay in touch and make calls to ORC. We also have an online program called O-Connect where clients can log on after they leave treatment and participate in group therapy, webinars and discussion forums.

USDMT: Are there any trends in the demographics?

DG: We don’t see any steady patterns in our demographics. We are open to all profiles and originating channels for referrals and qualified client introductions.

There is an especially diverse age group. Right now we have a 71-year-old receiving treatment and we’ve had clients as old as 82 and as young as 19. We are a well-established and internationally respected as a specialist rehabilitation treatment facility for adults with drug and alcohol addictions. They seek healing and recovery in a private, discreet and idyllic island setting and we offer a very strong value proposition.

We have a developed reputation for innovation, cutting-edge programs, leading therapists and the delivery of very positive outcomes. Our goal is to position and establish ourselves on the global stage as an international destination healthcare center of excellence within this specialty mental healthcare sector.

LS: We have had every profession that you can imagine seek treatment - judges, lawyers, accountants, airline pilots, doctors, university professors, politicians, actors, professional athletes, etc.

DG: We consistently deliver great work to an audience that is already broad and international in scope, but the Orchard deserves to be showcased at a higher level with much more extended and commercial reach. We intend to do this by making access to our services available via accredited agency channels, affording a range of established and bespoke programs to clients of professional medical tourism facilitators, international benefits and HR practitioners, health insurance underwriters and their TPA service providers and within the self-insurance healthcare delivery sectors. We have established a support division specifically to manage this process.

USDMT: Does ORC ever receive referrals from physicians for physicians?

LS: Yes we do, from Canada and the United States.

USDMT: What are your thoughts on the legalization of marijuana in the United States?

LS: I don’t endorse it.

My concern with the legalization of marijuana is that it’s getting pushed through under the guidelines of medical marijuana.

Marijuana can stay in your system for up to eight weeks or longer, so how can individuals be accurately deemed "under the influence," or not, while driving?

I don’t think it is, or can be, regulated properly.

USDMT: Is there anything else that you would like to share about the program that would be of interest to our employer and payer community?

DG: We are engaged in the provision of a healthcare delivery service facility where exposure and awareness is very current, because of numerous and frequent national and international high profile celebrity media coverage. This awareness remains key, as currently more than one eight North Americans are impacted by either drug or alcohol addiction in some way. This is especially important and vital as our specialty area of care and mental health disease treatment is very often an area that has been either overlooked or just ignored over the years, as it has tended to carry with it, a certain stigma. Clearly, and thankfully, attitudes are changing.

ORC can provide corporations with a solution that is there and ready for utilization, employers can be confident in taking advantage of the facility and making referrals.

We want to be a focal point for all medical tourism facilitators and a go-to center for both domestic and global corporations. Our research is already extensive, but we intend to dig deeper and offer services wide across the corporate sector.

ORC is consistently filled close to capacity, and we are extending the provisions to enable access for more clients. We do a very good job and want to do more of it.

USDMT: Is there a waiting period?

LS: Right now we have a waiting list, which is usually two weeks long, but we work really hard to get clients in as soon as possible.

I’d also like to add that our clientele is very diverse, and so our staff is also diverse and multicultural.
ORC has had clients from all continents and more than 30 countries including Japan, Kenya, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. One of our first clients, from Panama, is still in recovery and has since visited our center as an alumnus on two separate occasions to provide inspirational testimonial and advocacy.

INTERVIEW: David Lansky, Ph.D., President and CEO, Pacific Business Group on Health

 

David Lansky, President & CEO
575 Market Street, Suite 600
San Francisco CA 94105
Phone: 415.615.6308
Fax: 415.520.0927
Web: www.pbgh.org and www.pbgh.org/ecen
Email: lgarcia@pbgh.org

About David Lansky, Ph.D.
David Lansky, PhD, is the president and CEO of the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) and directs its efforts to improve the affordability and availability of high quality healthcare. Since 2008, David Lansky has led the coalition of 60 large employers and healthcare purchasers representing over 10 million lives, including CalPERS, Wells Fargo, Intel, Safeway, Chevron, and the University of California. PBGH also collaborates with diverse stakeholders on national healthcare policy issues through the Consumer-Purchaser Alliance.

A nationally-recognized expert in accountability, quality measurement and health IT, Dr. Lansky has served as a board member or advisor to numerous healthcare programs, including the National Quality Forum, the Medicare Beneficiary Education Advisory Panel, and the Congressional Budget Office. He is now the purchaser representative on the federal HIT Policy Committee and chairs its Strategy and Innovation Workgroup.

He is the author of over 30 peer-reviewed papers on outcomes research and quality measurement and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

About Pacific Business Group on Health
The Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH), a not-for-profit 501(c)(3), has lead efforts to transform U.S. healthcare using the combined influence of some of the largest purchasers of healthcare services in the United States. PBGH represents 60 large healthcare purchaser members with more than three million employees, retirees and dependents in California. www.pbgh.org @pbgh_updates

The Employers Centers of Excellence Network (ECEN) is a first of its kind, multi-purchaser collaborative that provides employees access to the highest quality care for hip and knee replacement surgery at no cost to them. ECEN was established by the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) as a part of our ongoing commitment to improve the quality and affordability of healthcare in the United States.

Walmart, Lowe's and McKesson joined with PBGH to launch this initiative. ECEN expects to increase the employers participating in the program, and expand the program to cover additional health conditions. ECEN is anticipated to serve as a model for delivering quality healthcare for employees with transparent and predictable costs for employers.

U.S. Domestic Medical Travel (USDMT): Tell our readers about the Employers Centers of Excellence Network (ECEN).

David Lansky (DL): Most of PBGH's members are large national employers with a highly distributed workforce and a high level of dissatisfaction with the reliability, cost variation and quality of care available.

As more and more employers began searching for alternatives to improve outcomes, companies began to engage in travel surgery arrangements with specific providers, such as the Cleveland Clinic and Johns Hopkins.

A little less than two years ago, several of our members met and agreed that a travel surgery program would be much more efficient if they all worked together as a group rather than each company identifying preferred providers and designating networks alone. PBGH offered to provide a platform for these companies to develop this travel surgery network, and labelled it ECEN.

USDMT: Where can our readers find additional information about ECEN?

DL: www.PBGH.ORG/ECEN

USDMT: Have most of your members embraced ECEN?

DL: Only a few of our members chose to participate in ECEN at the launch in January 2014. However, there is a great deal of support and interest in the program and a number of members are considering the program for a 2015 or 2016 start.

USDMT: Has ECEN received any push back from employers?

DL: There's not necessarily push back from employers, but they are cautious. Our members have expressed concern about the complexity of communicating the program to employees.

Philosophically, we have some employers who are firm believers in integrated care as a solution and are much more interested in developing ACO relationships with comprehensive provider networks. However, most employers who have a significant PPO or account-based population find ECEN to be attractive.

We target employers who have a largely dispersed workforce, and/or a slightly older workforce more likely to be subject to incurring costs for orthopedic surgery.

USDMT: In the future will ECEN expand beyond orthopedic?

DL: Yes, we are intending to add spine care for 2015, and some of our other companies already have their own bariatric programs.

We have a list of potential additional targets, but the companies will decide year by year where they want to go next.

USDMT: What positive feedback have you received?

DL: Employers are thrilled to have the opportunity to offer employees reliable, high quality care.

ECEN allows employers to gain a much better understanding of outcomes. High quality centers reduce the likelihood of complications and re-operations, which is better for both the employer and patient.

Employees are pleased to be given a highly effective healthcare benefit at no cost to them, especially at a time when so many individuals have experienced an increase in cost sharing and reduction in benefits.

USDMT: How can providers pitch their offerings to your audiences?

DL: We have a very structured process because there are thousands of hospitals and dozens of employers-it is unrealistic to receive individual pitches from everyone.

We have a very high bar for quality and expect hospitals to collaborate with each other to continually raise the bar and improve their facilities. We utilize independent site reviews by medical experts, we look at an individual surgeon's outcomes data and we expect participation in registries and shared decision making.

Our suggestion to the industry as a whole is to look at these requirements and attempt to meet them. Ultimately, we would love to have an environment where every hospital in America meets the same level of quality. We could then offer consistently high quality care to employees everywhere. Unfortunately, this is not the case today.

USDMT: In terms of travel surgery programs, do you think providers need to look beyond what they currently have in place?

DL: Yes.

From the employer point of view, a very important piece of this is data. We want to be able to see outcomes, and we want providers in these high-cost specialties to be part of a registry which captures detailed data on patient characteristics, outcomes and quality indicators. It is also vital to know how providers screen for appropriateness.

We want to work with providers who are thoughtful and judicious when they treat patients who plan to, or have just undergone, surgery. The bar can be quite a bit higher on quality indicators, outcome indicators, appropriateness indicators, etc.

Also, accepting bundled payment is very important to us. We want to have a single point of accountability for the outcome of the patient and the total cost of care. Again, not many providers are fully organized just yet to take accountability for an episode, so there is a lot that these institutions can do to bring their clinical teams together to perform at this level.

USDMT: Do you think ACO's can be competitive in this market for employers with direct contracting opportunities?

DL: Yes, many of our members are negotiating direct contracts with ACO's, and within the ACO structure many have excellent hospitals that can provide services such as orthopedics, cardiac and/or spine.

Several of our members are looking forward to more risk bearing accountable provider organizations that they can partner with.

USDMT: How can employers approach transparency in the market?

DL: Carriers offer consumer transparency tools to large employers, who in turn make these tools available to employees.

We know a fair bit about what consumers want to see when they are making healthcare decisions, but in order to learn more we need to bridge the gap between what consumers need in terms of information and what is available in the information market place.

We've conducted a lot of consumer research, including focus groups and laboratory simulations, to see what consumers want to use when they are choosing a doctor or hospital. It is essential to create a match between the needs of a particular consumer, or work force, and the choices they have to make in their care seeking.

USDMT: What is your advice for smaller employers?

DL: Band together!

There are roughly 50 regional coalitions nationwide which provide group purchasing arrangements, transparency tool reviews, etc. Finding a regional coalition in their local metropolitan area is important.

They must communicate with their health plan and firmly state that they are expecting high quality, cost-effective care.

Smaller employers have already understood that they can create more affordable options for their employees by choosing narrower networks, such as travel surgery programs, that have been constructed by the carriers. But they must also put pressure on their health plans to design their preferred networks based on quality, as well as cost.

USDMT: Since you mention the difficulty in communicating the opportunity for travel surgery to employees, do you have any solutions?

DL: In the ECEN program, we work with companies to ensure a comprehensive communications tool kit is available.

Communication is relatively easy in a case such as orthopedic surgery, which is anticipated well in advance. There is usually a lot of time to obtain a preauthorization and assess where the patient will go.

Communication then gets complicated because the travel surgery centers need to spend some time on the phone with the patient, and often times they need to speak with the referring (local) doctor and make sure there is a strong relationship there for continuity of care. This is not a computer-driven, administrative activity -- it is human communication between a lot of people to make sure everyone is comfortable and understands what the process will be.

USDMT: Are there more incentives for employers to send employees to facilities, or providers, which are within two or three hours driving distance as opposed to flying a greater distance?

DL: Not exactly. We have tried to pinpoint our destination surgery locations to where the greatest density of employees within our network are in the population we are now serving.

At the moment, we know where we have more geographic concentration around the country and we've tried to be relatively closer to those areas. This year 40 percent of patients are driving to our facilities and 60 percent are flying.

USDMT: Which employers are participating in this program?

DL: We have three large employers that are publicly recognized: Wal-Mart, Lowes and McKesson. Another employer will be announced this fall.

USDMT: What is the aggregate number of employees that have taken advantage of this benefit?

DL: As of July 2014, there have been well over 1,000 inquires about the program. The ECEN case volume for hip and knee replacement procedures is nearly 250 completed cases, more than 100 additional cases scheduled and close to 100 potential cases under review by one of the four selected centers of excellence.

USDMT: Do you expect that hospitals outside of the United States will be attractive to these employers?

DL: Yes, absolutely. We've had presentations from some offshore destinations, so our member companies understand that those options are taking shape. The more proximate the facility is to our shores, the better, so that travel time is reduced.

The new offshore centers are likely to be able to demonstrate high quality and that they can deliver comparable care to many U.S. institutions, but there is going to be a higher bar of evidence and credibility that will have to be met.

The success of the domestic programs will create an easier path, which will make the international programs more attractive.

USDMT: Is there any aspect of this program that you would like to highlight?

We also understand the challenges and complexity of navigating the current healthcare system. The ECEN works closely with employers, centers and patients to provide high-touch support from end to end.

Commitment to quality and transparency are key to helping an institution become a candidate for this kind of program.

NextGen Healthcare's NextGen Share Receives Full DirectTrust Accreditation from the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission
Certification Underscores Company’s Commitment to Improving Care Coordination

NextGen Healthcare Information Systems, LLC., a leading provider of healthcare information systems and connectivity solutions, along with its sister company Mirth, LLC, a global leader in health information technology, announced today that their Health Information Services Providers (HISP) solution, NextGen® Share, has achieved full accreditation with the Direct Trusted Agent Accreditation Program (DTAAP) from DirectTrust.org and the Electronic Healthcare Network Accreditation Commission (EHNAC). NextGen Healthcare and Mirth are both wholly owned subsidiaries of Quality Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: QSII).

Direct Trusted Agent accreditation is a voluntary accreditation program for HISPs in partnership with EHNAC that recognizes excellence in Health Information Exchanges (HIE) and transactions via the Direct protocols. It confirms compliance with industry-established standards for security and trust and with healthcare regulatory reform measures. DTAAP was developed by DirectTrust in partnership with the EHNAC, a non-profit standards development organization and accrediting body. The criteria for DTAAP include privacy, security and confidentiality; technical performance; resources; and implementation specifications; as well as a self-attestation and site review.

DirectTrust is an independent non-profit trade organization developed to build and strengthen the security and trust framework for the exchange of health data using the Direct Project protocol, a standardized messaging protocol that allows the secure exchange of key clinical data among healthcare providers and between providers and patients. The protocol enables physicians, hospitals, labs, other providers, HIEs and state health departments to send care summaries, referrals and other data online without dedicated interfaces.

EHNAC evaluated NextGen Share in the areas of privacy, security and confidentiality; technical performance; business practices; and, organizational resources as it relates to Directed exchange participants. In addition, EHNAC reviewed the organization's process of managing and transferring protected health information and determined that the organization meets or exceeds all EHNAC criteria and industry standards. Through completion of the rigorous accreditation process, NextGen Share demonstrates adherence to strict standards and participation in the comprehensive, objective evaluation of its business.

"Endorsed by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the Direct Trusted Agent Accreditation Program ensures that organizations like NextGen Healthcare and Mirth establish and uphold a superior level of trust for their stakeholders," explained Dr. David C. Kibbe, CEO of DirectTrust. "The need for guidance and accountability in health information exchange is undeniable, and we applaud the company’s commitment to the highest standards in privacy, security and confidentiality."

"DTAAP accreditation for NextGen Share, combined with NextGen’s and Mirth’s industry-leading interoperability products, underscores our commitment to enabling the secure exchange of clinical data on behalf of our clients," says Gary Teichrow, co-founder and vice president, Research and Development, at Mirth. "With NextGen Share’s free direct messaging, healthcare organizations are better equipped to meet Meaningful Use Stage 2 transitions of care objectives, and communicate with providers utilizing other DTAAP accredited HISPs with disparate EHRs. The liquidity of data through NextGen Share extends the reach of our clients and allows them to improve care coordination and better manage referrals."

About DirectTrust and EHNAC
DirectTrust is an independent non-profit trade association created by and for participants in the Direct community, to establish and maintain a national Security and Trust framework in support of Direct exchange. EHNAC is an independent, federally recognized, standards development organization and accrediting body designed to improve transactional quality, operational efficiency, and data security in healthcare.

About Mirth
Mirth, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Quality Systems, Inc., is a global leader in health information technology that helps clients achieve interoperability across silo-structured data systems. Mirth's solutions are used daily by thousands of health professionals and institutions worldwide to streamline care management processes and to securely exchange health information across enterprises, communities and broad geographies. For more information, visit www.mirth.com.

About NextGen Healthcare
NextGen Healthcare Information Systems, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Quality Systems, Inc., provides integrated clinical, connectivity and financial solutions, including revenue cycle management services for ambulatory, inpatient and dental provider organizations. For more information, please visit www.nextgen.com and www.qsii.com. Follow NextGen Healthcare on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nextgen, Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/NextGenHealthcare or LinkedIn at http://www.linkedin.com/company/nextgen-healthcare-information-systems.

Certain statements in this news release are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the federal securities laws, including but not limited to those statements made by Gary Teichrow related to the Company’s future products and offerings, and developments and trends in the healthcare industry. These statements are based on current expectations of future events. If underlying assumptions prove inaccurate or unknown risks or uncertainties materialize, actual results could vary materially from the Company’s expectations and projections. Factors that could cause the anticipated results to differ from those described in the forward-looking statements include the possibility that products will not achieve or sustain market acceptance; the impact of incentive payments under The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on sales and the ability of the Company to meet continued certification requirements; the development by competitors of new or superior technologies; the timing, cost and success or failure of new product and service introductions, development and product upgrade releases; undetected errors or bugs in our software; changing economic, political or regulatory influences in the healthcare industry; availability of third-party products and components; competitive pressures including product offerings, pricing and promotional activities; the Company's ability or inability to attract and retain qualified personnel; possible regulation of the Company's software by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration; and general economic conditions. Additional risks and uncertainties are set forth in the Company’s public filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, including the discussion under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. The Company expressly disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements except as required by law.

© 2014 Quality Systems, Inc., Irvine, CA 92612
® marks owned by Quality Systems, Inc.
All other non-QSI Marks are the property of their respective owners

Contacts
For Media and Public Relations Inquiries Contact:
NextGen Healthcare
Michelle Rovner, 215-657-7010
mrovner@nextgen.com
or
For Investor Relations Inquiries Contact:
Quality Systems, Inc.
Susan J. Lewis, 303-804-0494
slewis@qsii.com

To view the original release click here.

Physicians Embracing, Exploring New Practice Models

UMB Medica US-While physicians remain happy about their choice of a medical career, that doesn't mean they are content to be controlled by government mandates and declining reimbursements.
In its annual Great American Physician Survey, sponsored by Kareo, Physicians Practice polled physicians nationwide on their medical careers, their personal lives, and the politics affecting both work and home. In this year's survey, 1,311 physicians responded that they remain happy being a physician - 26 percent rated their happiness as an "8" on a scale of 1 to 10 - but also indicated a growing dissatisfaction with fee-for-service medicine.

Of the 1,311 respondents, 35 percent indicated they either work at or would consider switching to a "concierge" practice, and charging patients a membership fee for services. Fifty-three percent of physicians indicated they would consider or are already working in a direct-pay practice that does not accept insurance at all. Both questions indicate a growing interest by physicians to escape from federal mandates, payer interference, and other issues which could impede treating patients. When asked about their biggest frustration with being a physician today, 39 percent indicated "too much third-party interference."

The 2014 survey also examines aspects of defensive medicine and personal health, inquiring whether or not physicians order additional (and perhaps unnecessary tests) to avoid malpractice suits, and asking how they rate their own fitness, as examples for their patients.

PhysiciansPractice.com, the leading online community for physicians and practice management professionals, also offers in-depth reporting on some of the other survey questions, including:

  • An infographic on physician happiness, including sentiments on what led physicians to choose their specialty and any regrets they have in the present
  • A slideshow of 18 work-life balance tips for physicians, to help the 70 percent of respondents who said they don't have as much personal time as they think they should
  • Resources for physicians interested in pursuing the direct-pay practice model
  • A poll on how the Affordable Care Act is affecting morale at medical practices

"In our past surveys, a larger majority of physicians always showed a hit of skepticism toward concierge and direct-pay practices as unethical or not something they would pursue," said Keith L. Martin, group editorial director for Physicians Practice. "But now, with growing stressors from flat payer reimbursements to healthcare reform mandates, physicians are feeling pressed to maintain quality patient care and keep their practice running. The bottom line, as our survey indicates, is that these professionals love medicine and they love helping others - it's just the path to get there is rockier than in the past."

About UBM Medica US
Addressing today's healthcare information needs, UBM Medica US, delivers strategic, integrated communications solutions and comprehensive reach -- online, in print, via custom programs and live events. Improving the effectiveness of healthcare through information and education, UBM Medica US provides unbiased clinical, practical and business information for physicians, providers and payers resulting in improved quality of care for patients around the world. Through journals, magazines, online communities, live and digital events, and other valuable resources, UBM Medica US also delivers comprehensive communication solutions for the pharmaceutical and related industries. Online communities include CancerNetwork.com, ConsultantLive.com, DiagnosticImaging.com, RheumatologyNetwork.com, OBGYN.net, PhysiciansPractice.com, PsychiatricTimes.com and SearchMedica.com. UBM Medica US is part of UBM Connect which, through a range of aligned interactive environments, both physical and digital, increases business effectiveness for both customers and audiences through meaningful experiences, knowledge and connections.

Headquartered in New York, UBM Connect brings together UBM's healthcare business, UBM Medica US; UBM Canon's advanced design and manufacturing event, online and print brands; UBM Connect New York's catering, cruise shipping, contact-center management, and fine, specialty and custom chemical communities; and UBM Mexico's concrete, construction and hospitality services shows.  For more information, visit www.UBMMedicaUS.com.

About UBM plc
UBM plc is a global events-led marketing services and communications company.  We help businesses do business, bringing the world's buyers and sellers together at events and online, as well as producing and distributing news and specialist content.  Our 5,500 staff members in more than 30 countries are organized into expert teams which serve commercial and professional communities, helping them to do business and their markets to work effectively and efficiently.
For more information, go to www.ubm.com; follow us on Twitter at @UBM_plc to get the latest UBM corporate news.

Media contact:
Jason J. Golden
Content Marketing Manager
203-523-7040
jason.golden@ubm.com

Vermonters Spent Less on Healthcare, While Spending Grew Faster Than National Average in 2007-2011
Report compares employer insured Vermonters to the nation

Vermonters with employer-sponsored health insurance spent less on healthcare, but their spending grew faster than the national average in the years before implementation of the state's health reform law, says a new study from the Health Care Cost Institute (HCCI) prepared in cooperation with the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB). The 2007-2011 Vermont Health Care Cost and Utilization Report is the first report by HCCI comparing national and state healthcare trends for the privately insured.

The study examined healthcare spending and utilization trends of Vermonters younger than age 65 with employer-sponsored insurance (ESI). Between 2007 and 2011, per capita spending in Vermont was lower than the ESI national average yet annual spending per Vermonter with ESI grew faster than the national average.

Medical and prescription spending, combined, was about $4,408 per employer-covered Vermonter compared to $4,520 nationally in 2011. Also in that year, Vermonters spent about $138 less on their healthcare out of pocket compared to the average American with ESI.

"This report shines a light on five years of healthcare trends for people with employer insurance in a reform-minded state," says Carolina Herrera, HCCI's director of research. "Up until now, there has been a great deal of attention paid to national health spending. Vermont, and other states, want and need analyses like this to better understand what is changing within their state and for their citizens as they move forward with health reform."

HCCI examined the data from an average of 305,000 Vermonters per year with employer-sponsored insurance between 2007 and 2011. The research team compared Vermont healthcare costs, utilization, and prices to HCCI's national data on 40 million Americans covered by employer-sponsored health insurance. The report is based on data from the Vermont Healthcare Claims Uniform Reporting and Evaluation System (VHCURES) and the HCCI national claims database. In a benchmarking project designed to provide Vermont with a baseline comparison on expenditures, Vermont granted HCCI permission to use the VHCURES data alongside HCCI's national claims database. The data provided to HCCI for this study does not include any information identifying individuals, employers and insured groups.

"HCCI's work has established a baseline to help track changes in health spending in Vermont compared with the rest of the nation," said Dian Kahn, the GMCB's director of analysis and data management and VHCURES program director. "This is important to our work in Vermont because we need solid comparative data to track the impacts of changes and to gain a deeper understanding of how factors such as health status, age, prices, and availability of services influence trends in spending. We are grateful to HCCI for their rigor in evaluating, standardizing, and analyzing our state's claims data in a way that we believe will increase accountability and transparency in our efforts going forward."

The study also looked at trends in young adult spending, hospital and outpatient spending, as well as spending on prescription drugs, imaging and radiology. Highlights include:

  • Gender Differences in Spending. On average, women paid for a larger share of their healthcare bills out-of-pocket than men in Vermont. This difference widened between 2007 and 2011. In 2011, women with ESI paid $669, while men paid $517.
  • Young Adult Spending. In most years of the study, Vermonter young adults (ages 19-25) spent more on healthcare than the national average for young adults with ESI. Young adult Vermonters with ESI also paid a greater portion of their healthcare spending out-of-pocket, compared to most other Vermonters with employer coverage.
  • Hospital Spending. Spending for inpatient care and outpatient visits in Vermont comprised 33 percent of healthcare spending for Vermonters with ESI, compared to 38 percent nationally. Vermonters with ESI spent less on inpatient admissions than their national counterparts ($663 and $950, respectively in 2011). Although they had much shorter hospital stays, Vermonters with ESI had a much higher use of outpatient facility care.

"Beyond the significance of the substantive findings, this study demonstrates the value of a standardized approach to national and state-level reporting and HCCI's ability to assist states wanting to monitor or influence prices or utilization within their borders," said HCCI executive director David Newman. "As the first national Qualified Entity, HCCI will be expanding our mission to help states by incorporating Medicare and quality benchmarks in future reporting."

About the Health Care Cost Institute
The Health Care Cost Institute was launched in 2011 to promote independent, nonpartisan research and analysis on the causes of the rise in U.S. health spending. HCCI is governed by a board that includes distinguished economists, actuaries and healthcare experts. For more information, visit www.healthcostinstitute.org or follow us on Twitter @HealthCostInst.

About the Green Mountain Care Board
The GMCB is an independent state agency charged with: regulating Vermont's health system; evaluating the health and financial impacts of health reform; and promoting innovations to make healthcare affordable and to improve Vermonters' health. For more information, visit http://gmcboard.vermont.gov/.

Media Contact
Jemma Weymouth
301-280-5706
jweymouth@burnesscommunications.com

A Decade After its Launch, Kaiser Permanente’s Thrive Campaign Highlights Ease and Accessibility of High-Quality Care in Age of Digital Health

As consumers adjust to a healthcare landscape transformed by medical innovation and advancements in digital health, Kaiser Permanente has chosen to focus its longest-running campaign on the accessibility of care online and in the doctor’s office in the latest round of Thrive advertisements.

In addition to three new television advertisements, the 2014 campaign features radio, print, online and out-of-home ads that allow Kaiser Permanente to reach consumers where they spend the most time, and in a targeted way.

"In the last few years we’ve shifted our Thrive campaign much more into the digital space," said Christine Paige, senior vice president, Marketing and Digital Services, Kaiser Permanente. "Our targeted digital strategy, along with TV, radio and outdoor advertising, reflects the rapidly changing media landscape and how leading brands are connecting effectively with consumers."

With geo-location capabilities, digital and mobile ads include messages of convenience and highlight local landmarks such as the Golden Gate Bridge, the Capitol Mall in Washington, District of Columbia - or local Kaiser Permanente facilities. "Brands are going ‘global,’" explained Paige. "We’re combining a global message about our high-quality healthcare, super convenience and digital capability with very local representations of what that means. We think that will be powerful."

The 2014 Thrive launch marks the 11th year of the campaign. Take a look at the newest Thrive ads:

  • "Cameras" features bruises, rashes and bumps in scenes that depict members emailing their physicians to share photos of injuries and ailments. This ad is playful and funny, but it has an important message about the ability to access high-quality care in a way that is unique to Kaiser Permanente and is convenient to members - in the home, at the office, or even on vacation. To view click here.
  • "Three Boys" captures a day in the life of a busy mother with three young boys, showing how having all of your care team - specialists, pediatricians and pharmacists - under one roof makes life easier when you and your children are constantly on the go. This ad will be aired in both English and Spanish. To view click here.
  • "Juntos" is a Spanish-language ad that features three generations accessing Kaiser Permanente services on the same day and in the same building. It celebrates the ease of having all of your medical services together in one location. To view click here.

Thrive advertising will run in select media markets in California, Hawaii, Oregon, Colorado, Georgia and Maryland.

The multiyear Thrive campaign was created in partnership with advertising agency Lowe Campbell Ewald, which has worked with Kaiser Permanente since the rollout of the first Thrive ads in 2004.
The ads, plus additional Kaiser Permanente content, can be accessed at kp.org/thrive and kp.org. The ads can also be viewed at www.youtube.com/kaiserpermanenteorg.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of healthcare. We are recognized as one of America’s leading healthcare providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable healthcare services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 9.5 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

To view the original release click here.

"Wellness Travel: Shaping America’s Health & Economy" Report Released by Wellness Tourism Worldwide

Wellness Tourism Worldwide www.wellnesstourismworldwide.com (WTW), a leading wellness tourism research, education and consulting business, is pleased to announce the release of "Wellness Travel: Shaping America’s Health & Economy."

Quoted below in italics is an excerpt from "Wellness Travel: Shaping America’s Health & Economy" outlining who should be involved and why*:

  • Medical professionals and wellness practitioners who understand the value of vacations in promoting mental health, physical activity and social engagement
  • Parks and recreation professionals and outdoor outfitters who value nature’s solution to a sedentary and urbanized lifestyle
  • Museums, cultural attractions and organizations that understand art’s important role to engagement, innovation, creativity and emotional, intellectual, physical and social well-being
  • Farms, ranches and food related organizations and companies who seek to preserve local food culture and improve health and sustainability
  • Travel businesses, organizations, associations and professionals that understand vacations are a need, not a luxury and that travel is a top contributor to the economy
  • Meeting planners and human resource professionals who recognize the growing emphasis on a sustainable work-force and the need to maintain the health of meeting and conference participants
  • Organizations that promote family values and understand the need for quality time, personal enrichment and memory making through travel
  • Progressive business executives, managers and entrepreneurs who value vacations’ positive impact on productivity and work/life balance
  • Labor unions and other organizations representing workers and advocate for employee rights, benefits and compensation
  • Insurance companies seeking to reduce claims through wellness promotion and by encouraging physical, social and emotional well-being through an active and engaged way of life
  • Teachers, schools, universities, colleges and institutions that promote life-long learning, social studies, creative arts, language skills and educational enrichment
  • Social justice organizations that support fair trade and responsible community development
  • Environmental organizations that understand that people’s health is tied to the environment in which they live and recreate
  • All people who care about work/life balance, quality of life and well-being

Defining wellness has been a challenge to advocates, academics and businesses but even more formidable has been facilitating higher levels of individual, social and national well-being.

Wellness Travel in America: Shaping Health, Businesses & Economy provides unprecedented data on wellness travel in the United States, examining a broad spectrum of stakeholders and confluences between sectors affecting both population and economic health. A culmination of U.S. consumer survey data and extensive research across multiple industries, the report can be used to understand how wellness travel can play a significant role in disease prevention, workplace wellness, vacation policy development, tourism development and destination marketing. 

Over 60 tables and figures are contained in this comprehensive 90-page document. The report includes an extensive review of wellness trends, workplace policies, and proprietary data collection and analysis of U.S. consumers interested in healthy travel resulting in a data-driven profile marketers can use to promote their brand. 

Epidemic levels of stress, obesity, sleep problems and lack of balance between home and work are drivers to the surging interest in wellness, affecting the way businesses operate. While wellness has garnered attention over the last several years, there has been very little discussion regarding what wellness travel means to U.S. consumers, businesses and the travel industry.

Concepts such as wellness vacations, healthy hotels, and business-related wellness perks are on the rise as organizations seek to contain healthcare costs and drive volume and profits. 

This report can be used to:

  • Better integrate wellness concepts in leisure travel and business
  • Gain understanding of wellness travel consumers, their interests, perceptions and needs as well as motivations, decisions and preferences in order to:
  • Better conceptualize wellness tourism as away to mitigate health, social and environmental problems related to an urbanized, industrialized world
  • Improve, innovate and create travel products and services to positively impact health, happiness, productivity and ultimately strengthen America’s economy
  • Promote healthy lifestyle vacation travel as an engine for economic growth, personal enrichment and better work/life balance.

Wellness Tourism Worldwide founder and CEO Camille Hoheb remarked, "Wellness tourism cuts across multiple sectors to stimulate entrepreneurship, innovation and a more comprehensive approach to population health and financial stability." Adding, "Wellness Tourism Worldwide is constantly seeking ways to help others achieve their professional success and personal wellness goals, and we believe this Wellness Travel: Shaping America’s Health & Economy, provides ample recommendations to do just that."

Those wishing to get involved in wellness travel are invited to contact Wellness Tourism Worldwide through the contact page http://www.wellnesstourismworldwide.com/contact.html 

The report will be available for purchase online September 2, 2014 at www.wellnesstourismworldwide.com  

* The excerpt from "Wellness Travel: Shaping America’s Health & Economy" in this press release is the property of Wellness Tourism Worldwide and any reference, citation or quotation is to be credited as "Wellness Travel: Shaping America’s Health & Economy prepared by Wellness Tourism Worldwide."
About Wellness Tourism Worldwide: Wellness Tourism Worldwide (WTW) is a leader in education, development and promotion of wellness travel. WTW works with companies, destinations and travel entrepreneurs to deliver meaningful experiences and boost revenue by improving the well-being of guests and clients. http://www.wellnesstourismworldwide.com

About.com Selects Patients Beyond Borders Author as Medical Tourism and Wellness Travel Expert
New Site Brings Medical Tourism into Mainstream Travel

Chapel Hill, North Carolina, September 2, 2014: About.com, one of the world’s leading online resource sites, has named Josef Woodman, author of Patients Beyond Borders, as the expert writer for its newly-launched Medical Tourism and Wellness Travel site. This new topic joins about.com’s Travel section, helping its 90 million monthly visitors learn more about their choices in obtaining safe, affordable medical care around the world. Similarly, the new Wellness Travel content will offer advice on staying healthy on the road, including advice on the best destinations, accommodations and services for the burgeoning new wellness tourism travel sector.

As founder of Patients Beyond Borders, the leading print and online consumer reference for medical tourism, Woodman brings more than a decade of research and experience to the international healthcare travel arena. In 1998, he also co-founded MyDailyHealth, one of the Internet’s first interactive wellness sites.

"We are pleased to see medical tourism and wellness travel join the ranks of other mainstream travel categories," said Woodman. "About.com has grown into a trusted destination site for precisely our type of content."

Initially, about.com’s Medical Tourism and Wellness Travel will inform visitors about the basics of medical tourism: planning and budgeting a successful medical travel journey, comparative costs for typical procedures, tips for finding the best hospitals, clinics and doctors, rules of the road for safe travel and more. Content will be added monthly by the Patients Beyond Borders editorial team and by leading medical tourism and wellness travel guest experts, including descriptions and contact information for top medical destinations and facilities.

About about.com
About.com is one of the largest online content sites on the Internet, dedicated to helping its 90 million monthly visitors discover, learn about and be inspired by topics ranging from parenting and healthcare to cooking to travel, penned by some 1,000 third-party "Experts." In 2012, about.com was purchased from the New York Times by Barry Diller's IAC for some $300 million. IAC owns more than 150 media brands, including search engine Ask.com.

For about.com media inquiries:

Meredith Worsham
Senior Manager of Communications, About.com
212.204.2617
mworsham@about.com

Liz Allen
Communications Specialist, About.com
212.204.1472
lallen@about.com

About Patients Beyond Borders
Patients Beyond Borders, www.patientsbeyondborders.com based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, publishes books, eBooks, video, online, mobile, and other resources for healthcare consumers seeking high-quality, affordable options in medical care. Its flagship international title, Patients Beyond Borders, now in its Third Edition, is the world's leading consumer reference guide for medical tourism. Country Editions, City Editions, and Facility Editions, with more than 150,000 copies in print, help healthcare consumers make informed choices in searching, vetting, and obtaining safe, high-quality, affordable healthcare around the world.

Patients Beyond Borders is available through booksellers everywhere and is distributed to the trade by Publishers Group West (www.pgw.com).

For media queries, please contact media@patientsbeyondborders.com.

Before You Travel With Your Baby
by Vitals

The summer travel season is upon us. For most, it's an exciting time where plans for visiting oft dreamed about destinations finally come to fruition. But for new parents, the excitement of going on vacation is tempered by the worry of how your little one will handle the journey.

Read the full story here: What You Need to Know Before Traveling With a Baby

40 Percent of Americans Will Develop Diabetes, CDC Projects
Rates for black women and Hispanics even higher at 50 percent
by Dennis Thompson

Courtesy of the HealthDay news service -- Approximately two out of every five Americans will develop type 2 diabetes at some point during their adult lives, according to new U.S. government estimates.

Visit HealthDay here.

U.S. Senator: For-Profit Hospitals Drive Up Care Costs
by Ron Shinkman

Fiercehealthfinance.com-For-profit hospitals and hospital chains change the way healthcare is delivered in the U.S., and often drive up the cost of care, according to Connecticut's junior senator.

To continue reading the original article click here.

Data Suggest Surgery Prices Are Skyrocketing
by Ron Shinkman

Fiercehealthfinance.com-The per capita surgery rate in the United States is some 50 percent higher than in the European Union countries, and that higher demand is apparently driving up prices dramatically, NBC News reported.

To continue reading the original article click here.

What's Wrong with American Healthcare?
by Diana Manos

Fiercehealthpayer.com- The "insanely, outlandishly expensive" U.S. health insurance system is the product of random WWII-era tax provisions," according to Vox's Sarah Kliff, in an article published today.

To continue reading the original article click here.

World's Largest Self-Insurance/ART Event Coming to Phoenix!

The Self-Insurance Institute of America, (SIIA) today announced the program for its National Educational Conference & Expo, scheduled for October 5-7, 2014, at the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix. The event typically attracts more than 1,700 attendees from throughout the United States and from a growing number of countries around the world.

Detailed event information, including registration forms, can be accessed on-line at www.siia.org, or by calling 800/851-7789. Sign up today and take advantage of discounted early bird registration fees and secure your room at the host hotel. NOTE: This hotel is a SIIA member favorite and always sells out early, so please keep this in mind as you make your arrangements.

The program features more than 40 educational sessions designed to help employers and their business partners identify and maximize the value of self-insurance solutions.

We'll cover self-insured group health plans from every angle, including plan design and cost containment, financial risk transfer, broker involvement and healthcare reform compliance. Extra content has been incorporated this year that should be of specific interest to TPA executives and their key management teams. And you won't want to miss our panel discussion sessions featuring top thought leaders talking about the future of the self-insurance marketplace.

Another focus will be stop-loss captive programs (also known as employee benefit group captives). An increasing number of smaller and mid-sized employers have been considering self-insured group health plans and stop-loss captive programs can help facilitate this transition. SIIA has become the recognized industry leader in this fast-growing captive insurance market niche and the session speakers for this topic area will be many of the industry's top experts.

Also within the Alternative Risk Transfer track, additional sessions will focus on Enterprise Risk Captives, also known as 831(b) captives, which have become an increasingly popular self-insurance solution for many companies.

Given the rapidly involving business and regulatory environment for group workers' compensation self-insured funds (SIGs), we have incorporated a series of roundtable sessions where SIG leaders from around the country will provide a unique opportunity to share perspectives on how their organization should be positioning itself for future success. These SIG-focused roundtables will be supplemented by additional timely sessions of interest to both groups and individual workers' compensation self-insurers.

Rounding out the program will be some sessions addressing key self-insured issues, including healthcare reform compliance requirements for companies with global operations and/or workforces, giving the conference an added international flavor.

This top notch educational program will be supplemented with quality networking events, including an exhibit hall with more than 150 companies showcasing a wide variety of innovative products and services designed specifically for self-insured entities. If you are searching for a self-insurance business partner, they will be waiting for you at this event. For more information about exhibiting and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Justin Miller at 800/851-7789, or jmiller@siia.org.

Your can get a head-start on your networking by participating in the conference golf tournament the morning of Sunday, October 5. And then cap things off with an incredible social event on the closing night of Tuesday, October 7, so be sure that you make your travel arrangements accordingly.

New to Self-Insurance/Alternative Risk Transfer? SIIA Welcomes You!....While the conference will be packed with industry experts and many advanced-level educational sessions, SIIA warmly welcomes those who are new to self-insurance/alternative risk transfer and want to learn the basics. To help you get started, we have scheduled "beginner" sessions immediately before Sunday night's welcome reception to help you more fully participate in the overall event. Additionally, for employers (non-industry service providers) considering self-insurance, you can take advantage of a highly discounted registration fee.

If self-insurance is important to you in any way, this is simply a must-attend event. We look forward to seeing you in Phoenix.

Register Now: www.siia.org/national

SIIA Panel Discussion: Domestic Medical Travel - Opportunities and Challenges for Self-Insured Employers

Description: While international medical travel has been highly publicized over the past several years, domestic medical travel has been more quietly gaining traction among a growing number of self-insured employers.   This panel discussion will explore the latest trends in domestic medical travel and what employers need to consider when evaluating whether to incorporate this strategy as part of their health plans.

Moderator: Laura Carabello
                           Editor and Publisher:  National and International Newsletters
                           U.S. Domestic Medical Travel:  www.USDomesticMedicalTravel.com
                           Medical Travel Today:  www.MedicalTravelToday.com

Panelists:

  • Ruth Coleman, CEO, Health Design Plus
  • G. Keith Smith, M.D., CEO, Surgery Center of Oklahoma
  • Olivia Ross, Senior Manager, Employers Centers of Excellence Network
  • Pacific Business Group on Health

About Ruth Coleman
Prior to founding Health Design Plus in 1988, Ruth Coleman had almost 20 years of experience in HMO and hospital management, patient care, and nursing education. Her experience includes several executive HMO and hospital management positions with responsibility for network development, utilization management, customer service, quality management, marketing, strategic planning, and operations. Coleman used this breadth of managed care and care delivery experience to create an organization that provides high quality management for employer-sponsored health benefit plans.

Her experience, expertise and leadership have guided Health Design Plus through incredible growth, recognized by numerous awards, including the prestigious Inc. 500 and 11 consecutive years as part of the Weatherhead 100, along with being named one of the Top Ten Women Business Owners in Northeast Ohio, and a finalist for the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

About G. Keith Smith, M.D.
G. Keith Smith, M.D., is a board-certified anesthesiologist in private practice since 1990. In 1997, he co-founded The Surgery Center of Oklahoma, an outpatient surgery center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, owned by 40 of the top physicians and surgeons in central Oklahoma. Dr. Smith serves as the medical director, CEO and managing partner while maintaining an active anesthesia practice.

In 2009, Dr. Smith launched a website displaying all-inclusive pricing for various surgical procedures, a move that has gained him and the facility national and even international attention. Many Canadians and uninsured Americans have been treated at his facility, taking advantage of the low and transparent pricing available.

Operation of this free-market medical practice, arguably the only one of its kind in the United States, has gained the endorsement of policymakers and legislators nationally. More and more self-funded insurance plans are taking advantage of Dr. Smith's pricing model, resulting in significant savings to their employee health plans. His hope is for as many facilities as possible to adopt a transparent pricing model, a move he believes will lower costs for all and improve quality of care.

The Surgery Center of Oklahoma is a 32,535 square-foot, state-of-the-art multispecialty facility in Oklahoma City, owned and operated by approximately 40 of the top surgeons and anesthesiologists in central Oklahoma.
If you have a high deductible or are part of a self-insured plan at a large company, you owe it to yourself or your business to take a look at our facility and pricing which is listed on this site. If you are considering a trip to a foreign country to have your surgery, you should look here first. Finally, if you have no insurance at all, this facility will provide quality and pricing that we believe are unmatched.

It is no secret to anyone that the pricing of surgical services is at the top of the list of problems in our dysfunctional healthcare system. Bureaucracy at the insurance and hospital levels, cost shifting and the absence of free market principles are among the culprits for what has caused surgical care in the United States to be cost-prohibitive. As more and more patients find themselves paying more out-of-pocket, it is clear that something must change. We believe that a very different approach is necessary, one involving transparent and direct pricing.

Transparent, direct package pricing means the patient knows exactly what the cost of the service will be upfront.

About Olivia Ross
Olivia Ross is senior manager with the PBGH Paying for Value team. Her projects include management of the Employers Centers of Excellence Network, which is a multi-purchaser (employer) collaborative established by PBGH as part of its commitment to improving the quality and affordability of healthcare. Additionally, Olivia participates in several ongoing projects focused on changing physician and hospital financial incentives to ensure high-quality healthcare delivery, while also containing costs.

Olivia joined PBGH in 2012 after four years at the Feinberg School of Medicine Center for Healthcare Studies at Northwestern University. She initially served as project coordinator for several programs working with the Chicago Pediatric Patient Safety Consortium to advance patient safety through improved clinician communication and teamwork. Olivia's activities included conducting failure modes effects analysis (FMEA) risk assessments, training and evaluation of clinician handoffs and directing nearly 50 in situ simulations across six local hospitals

Olivia was then recruited to serve as the Research Project manager of the newly formed Northwestern University Transplantation Outcomes Research Collaborative (NUTORC). In addition to managing patient safety projects, she supported strategic planning and oversaw the day-to-day operation of a group tasked with creating innovative health services and outcomes research in organ transplantation.

Olivia holds a master's in Public Health (MPH) from UCLA, and an M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Help Save a Life and Support MatchingDonors
100 percent of all donations on MatchingDonors.com go to help people get organ transplants on MatchingDonors.com.

MatchingDonors is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and the nation's largest online living organ donor organization finding living organ donors for people needing organ transplants.  In conjunction with various health organizations throughout the United States we have created a very successful Public Service Announcement campaign to help people recognize that they can save lives by being a living organ donor, to encourage them to register as an altruistic living organ donor, and to make them realize they can help save the lives of people needing organ transplants by donating other things. This MatchingDonors Living Organ Donor Initiative program has already saved thousands of lives.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES
Do you know of any available job openings relative to the U.S. domestic medical travel industry? We encourage readers to submit any available, relevant job opportunities along with its descriptions and requirements for fellow readers and industry professionals to consider. All submissions are appreciated.

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Copyright © 2014
U.S. Domestic Medical Travel™

About U.S. Domestic Medical Travel
U.S. Domestic Medical Travel, a sister publication to Medical Travel Today www.medicaltraveltoday.com, is a newsletter published by CPR Strategic Marketing Communications, an international marketing and public relations agency based near New York City that specializes in healthcare and life sciences. In the new era of health reforms, U.S. Domestic Medical Travel discusses the growth of domestic medical travel and its importance to hospitals, employers, insurers, health plans, government, TPAs, brokers and other intermediaries.

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