THIS WEEK IN U.S. DOMESTIC MEDICAL TRAVEL

Volume 1, Issue 22

Dear Colleagues,

In 2009, the initial healthcare reform debate began, and consumers nationwide would be affected significantly by what was to come - uncontrollable costs and inadequate care.

Like many others, Brian Hill, M.D., felt passionately about mending the broken components of the U.S. healthcare system, and soon co-found Healthcare Impact Partners, LLC, a consulting firm that discusses and models better healthcare delivery that can drive costs downward and improve access to high quality, cost-effective healthcare.

Now, as many individuals scramble to access affordable, high-quality care both domestically and abroad, the idea of medical travel is becoming an increasingly popular option. Crediting medical travel for providing insight into healthcare modeling, Dr. Hill communicates, "The concept we are pushing is placing the proper care in the proper setting at the proper place."

We're starting to hear from many hospitals, independent surgi-centers and provider groups that want to be better positioned to serve self-funded employers offering medical/surgical travel options.  If you have a good story to tell us, please be in touch!  We want to boost opportunities for Centers of Excellence nationwide. 

Tell us:

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: Brian E Hill, M.D., Urology Specialists of Atlanta, LLC, and President, Healthcare Impact Partners, LLC

brian.hill@urologyonline.net
http://www.urologyspecialistsatlanta.com/
http://www.healthcareimpactpartners.com

About Brian E Hill, M.D.
Dr. Hill is a practicing physician with Urology Specialists of Atlanta at St. Joseph's Hospital. He obtained his undergraduate degree at Eastern Mennonite University and graduated as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society from the Medical College of Virginia. He completed his residency at the University of Maryland Medical System before joining his current practice.

Dr. Hill is active in the medical community in metro Atlanta. He is on the board of the Medical Association of Atlanta. He also serves on the Executive Board of the Emory Healthcare Network (EHN), a cohort of over 1,800 physicians spread amongst seven hospitals who are working in concert to find methods to create greater interconnectivity in medicine, decrease healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes. He is on the local board of the EHN at St Joseph's Hospital, as well.

Dr. Hill is a member of the American Urologic Association, the Southeastern Section of Urology, the Medical Association of Georgia and Docs4PatientCare. He serves on the editorial board of the Institute of Healthcare Consumerism.

Dr. Hill has been involved in the healthcare reform debate at the national level. He has written a book entitled Stop the Noise: A Physician's Quest to Silence the Politics of Health Care Reform along with multiple articles assessing the ability of the current reform model to reach its stated end while also presenting alternative treatment options. He is on the Board of Regents for the Conservative Policy Leadership Institute and works closely with the Georgia Public Policy Foundation in presenting healthcare policy initiatives to the state legislature. He has spoken nationally on CNN and FOXNews, is interviewed regularly on radio, and routinely speaks to a wide range of business, political and civic groups.

Dr Hill's newest venture includes the formation of Healthcare Impact Partners, LLC (HIP). HIP is a consulting firm that delivers a physician's vantage on the impact of the movements in healthcare, bringing forward a unique insider's perspective that better allows industry stakeholders to adjust and thrive in the rapidly changing healthcare marketplace.

U.S. Domestic Medical Travel (USDMT): Give our readers a little background on your professional career.

Brian Hill (BH): Currently, I am a practicing physician specializing in urology, and this is my primary focus. But I have always enjoyed dabbling in the realm of policy. I became actively engaged in healthcare reform when the national debate began in 2009. During and since that time I have dedicated myself to understanding the mechanics of our system and the economics of healthcare. I wrote a book about healthcare, speak regularly about fixes for our system, and work locally in the development of an integrated network.

I came across a group of like-minded individuals who carried a similar passion for reform, and we would travel and discuss healthcare economics with anyone willing to listen. We took many trips to Washington, District of Columbia, but over time we came to realize that, unfortunately, the nation's capital is more of an echo chamber than a place where true evidence-based, economically sound reform ideas take hold. There's just too much political gamesmanship, ideology and special interests.

So we concluded that if anyone is going to fix what is insufficient with this nation's healthcare system with its high costs and inadequate access, then we must be the ones to do so. We developed Healthcare Impact Partners (HIP), a consulting firm, which discusses and models better healthcare delivery that can truly drive costs downward and improve access to high quality, cost-effective healthcare.

USDMT: Does medical travel fit into this concept?

BH: Medical travel fits into this concept perfectly, and it has given us great insight into healthcare modeling. The reasoning behind medical travel is that businesses and some individuals are willing to travel to find low cost and high quality providers. There is increasing engagement in the value proposition in healthcare. And they are finding, particularly with international travel, that the price of healthcare in the U.S. is exorbitantly high. So we have a price problem.

The concept we are pushing is placing the proper care in the proper setting at the proper price. Hospitals are exceptionally expensive with a cost structure in their current construct that is very difficult to constrain.

And this cost certainly is not related to gains in quality. They therefore do not offer a great value proposition. And, again, businesses are looking for value.

A key insight from a practicing physician: The things I do every day in my office and my outpatient surgical center are not very expensive, but their price is nonetheless very high. The reason: My need to interact with the industry of healthcare adds tremendous cost. If we separated the quality and the cost of medicine from the high cost industry of healthcare, then we will find that the cost of care is actually more affordable, which would then make it much more accessible. And this in turn would increase the value proposition.

So, I believe that we need to move all possible care to the outpatient setting to minimize the cross subsidization that occurs in hospitals that raises the cost of this care. And if we could then also remove the interaction with the healthcare industry-insurance companies, hospital systems, regulatory bodies-that adds cost without value, then we could truly make inroads on price.

In doing so, we could create outpatient centers that provide quality care at a fraction of the current price.

USDMT: In terms of cost, do you feel the Center of Excellence, or outpatient center, is responsible for transparency?

BH: Absolutely. There are two parts to transparency: price and quality. We need to create a more consumer-driven market, and this cannot happen without transparency in each. Transparency creates competition in the marketplace, and I strongly believe that competition allows us to create a product that is going to better serve our customers. When you create competition, you also drive innovation, and when you drive innovation, you drive costs down further.

There is a movement toward price transparency in medicine now, but all we are doing is shining a light on an expensive product with small variations in price. The sticker price that we use as a gauge is set too high. So transparency in this construct does little good. When we create the model I mentioned earlier, which involves removing unnecessary costs, we are shining a light on a less expensive product. Let's begin to compete from that point.

USDMT: How far along are you in getting any of these centers up?

BH: Well, the legality of the process is one aspect that differs state by state because each has its own set of laws. So we are developing the framework now. But there is a definite need in the market, and we are striving to fill it as soon as possible.

USDMT: Are you looking to do this in multiple states?

BH: Yes, it is something we would love to do because, again, the ultimate goal in this is to innovatively disrupt healthcare.

Most physicians and people that work in medicine understand that we've created a very expensive product that people can't access and that's very bad for our society. And so, this is not to try and make more money, it is not to make us wealthy. It is to cut cost.

My personal calling in the world is to make medicine more cost-effective, more readily accessible, and so if I really want to disrupt this high cost "thing" that we call healthcare in the U.S., then we've got to have a turnkey approach in order to grow the model.

USDMT: Does your firm have a business plan and funding in place?

BH: As a consulting firm, we have only been in place for about four months, but as a group we have been working in this industry for over 60 years - and, yes, we do have a business plan.

We are still debating about bringing outside capital into this because we know when you bring outside capital into anything it changes the vision of what you are trying to create, and it is very important to us that we stick to our mission. We are also discussing a joint venture.

USDMT: How do you view the value of accreditation?

BH: It is somewhat of a necessary evil, and I do debate some of its value. It is necessary in that we want to make sure that we are providing safe care. The Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) ensures that are doing things such as sterilizing properly and following the necessary processes within our center. But the "evil" of accreditation is that what comes across as "accredit worthy" often has very little to do with the quality of the care being delivered.

Accreditation raises cost along the way because it often expands into so many rules and regulations that in the end have little to nothing to do with safety. Ask most who manage outpatient centers, and they will say the same thing. So much of what is done to maintain accreditation is non-productive busy work. The value of this work at the margin is nil.

USDMT: How will employers evaluate your centers?

BH: Just like they evaluate others businesses they interact with-do we provide good outcomes and a good product at a reasonable price.

Price and outcome transparency will help, as well. For example, if I post my infection rates and surgical success rates along with pricing, then employers will have information to use. I also suspect that employee feedback about their personal experience will add to the evaluation.

A good reputation is generally what is going to drive patients into a facility, and accreditation then becomes a secondary phenomenon.

USDMT: How far do you think employees will travel to get to one of these centers?

BH: If we are talking about doing something such as a knee replacement, which will cost roughly $25-30,000 in a U.S. hospital, but around $5,000 in a hospital in India, there is a sufficient financial gain for an employer to opt for overseas treatment.

If we can do a knee replacement in my facility in Georgia for $15,000, an employer in Tennessee will see the cost benefit ratio of taking a $500 flight to Atlanta to have this procedure done. And staying stateside certainly is more enticing for a majority of employees.

Again, my goal is to provide high quality cost-effective medicine for everybody. I would ultimately like to create a multi-specialty model here in metro Atlanta, but what I really see us doing is being able to reach out to other areas in Georgia to find urologists and other physicians in the local community that have a surgical center. Then we can help them configure a direct pay model to provide a high quality service locally at a lower cost.

USDMT: What are the hospitals supposed to do about uncompensated care and issues involving payment or non-payment that a surgical center would not have to account for?

BH: I view this in two parts.

First of all, my wife always laughs at me a little bit, but I am very much an idealist. I see the goodness in people, and I believe most physicians feel that there is a duty to give back to our society and our local community.

We are very blessed as physicians-it's a great joy to step into people's lives when they are sick and hurting and find a way to make them better. There is great fulfillment in that. So I think that it would not be difficult to create a culture of providing for those with needs in the community that perhaps cannot afford healthcare. I have little doubt that this would be a culture that most physicians would be very willing to step into and participate.

Second, the reason the uncompensated care rate is so high is because of high prices. If we disrupt the pricing mechanism within medicine to find that the cost of care is not nearly as high as what it currently is, then we should impact one great cause of uncompensated care by driving down the cost of medicine across the board. By mixing hospital care costs with outpatient care costs, we make outpatient care exceptionally expensive. This hides a cost problem that needs to be addressed instead of hidden in a cross subsidy.

A lot of uncompensated care comes from individuals not having access to physicians. We always push the question, "How can we give access to healthcare, not health insurance?" Today's healthcare reform approach really only provides access to health insurance for a still expensive healthcare system.
I know that when a primary care doctor sees a patient in his or her office for a sore throat, that should not cost $120, but we charge $120 because the system is very expensive. Without the expensive system, that sore throat evaluation would be a fraction of that cost.

If the overall cost of care is lower, then we will have less uncompensated care. It's pretty simple. The more affordable a product is, the more people can afford it.

USDMT: How do you see your centers being different than others out there?

BH: Most surgical centers are still working in the concept of this healthcare system. When I see a patient, I've got to talk to the insurance company. The insurance company has already told me what they are going to pay me, so I'm getting paid on a per-click basis without any price transparency or awareness of cost from most consumers. Then I've got to call the insurance company to pre-certify and get prior authorization, and give them my diagnostic codes to evaluate. Then I have to have a coder, a biller, someone to follow up on insurance denials, etc. After all of the time spent going back and forth with the insurance company, this process ends up costing providers money and time.

Studies show that this interaction costs about 14 percent of revenue, not accounting for productivity loss from time wasted. That is one unnecessary driver of cost in this system, and we can take that cost out through direct contracting with employers. We are not going to deal with the insurer. We're not going to authorize procedures. We're not going to pre-certify. I get to create leanness in my practice and that leanness comes out in lower cost. It's disrupting the current healthcare system and being willing to step outside the insurance based construct that makes this a different concept.

PERSPECTIVES: On Accurately Comparing Clinics Between Countries
by Daniel Shaw, Clinic Ambassador, Global Clinic Rating (GCR)



When considering medical treatment in a location other than your own, apart from the price factor, the question is always: Is the level of quality in your chosen clinic the same / less / more than what you expect locally?

Until now, medical tourists have had trouble making informed choices about where to go for their healthcare, basing their current choice on word-of-mouth, patient reviews, the quality of a clinics marketing campaign and simple pot-luck.

And it's not only patients that are in the dark. Clinic owners and even some governments don't have fact-based data about the quality of care available to their citizens as compared to that available in neighboring countries.

Obviously, being able to compare clinics in terms of quality between countries and towns is very important for a number of reasons - especially with more patients choosing to travel for their medical care.

For example, the 2011 European Union (EU) directive on patients' rights to cross-border healthcare placed a requirement on all EU member states to provide patients with comparable information on healthcare quality, so that they could make an informed choice. Do you know where to find these comparisons? Probably not, because it never happened.

Challenges in comparing the quality of different clinics worldwide include:

  • different performance indicators are collected in each country and city;
  • different definitions of the same performance indicators are used;
  • different mandatory versus voluntary data collection requirements are in place for clinics;
  • different types of organizations oversee data collection;
  • different levels of aggregation of data exist (continent, country, region, city and clinic);
  • different levels of public access to data exist;
  • clinic accreditation and licensing systems differ in each country.


In late 2014, an initiative by medical clinic owners, healthcare experts and big data analysts began with the aim to: solve this problem; compare medical clinics worldwide on the level of expertise, facilities and services available; and give each of them 1-5 star rating, the same as hotels use worldwide.

They called it the Global Clinic Rating (GCR) project, and each participating clinic's quality score would be displayed in the Global Clinic Index, available online to the public, so that they could be compared within the town, country or worldwide, with a country clinic quality score being allocated to each country.

The model was tested on 44,000+ dental clinics worldwide, and has proven to be a very popular resource for both patients seeking medical travel, as well as for the clinic owners themselves, who have longed for a benchmark for comparing and improving the perceived quality of their clinics.

Therefore, the GCR Index is now being tested on fertility and birth clinics worldwide to make comparing medical clinics in other locations easier, and encouraging clinics to improve upon their quality score.

The GCR project can be viewed at www.globalclinicrating.com and any questions about the project can be directed to daniel@globalclinicrating.com.

Experiencing a Great Patient Experience
by Arlen Meyers, M.D.

The mantra of the Ritz Carlton chain is "Ladies and gentlemen taking care of ladies and gentlemen."

The Triple Aim in healthcare strives to achieve improved quality of outcomes, reduced per capita costs and an enhanced patient experience. Many health services organizations, be they hospitals, doctors offices or primary care pharmacies, are tripping over each other trying to create the best patient experience, one that meets or exceeds expectations. Hyperbole is rampant, and we read about experiences that are "amazing," "out of this world," and "incredible." The fact is, whether it is in Denver or Dubai, Minneapolis or Mubai, very few hit the mark.

A recent article explains why, and stresses that the experience should derive from your brand identity -- the defining values and attributes that distinguish a brand.

Like building a house, the author suggests that you need to build a blueprint and a customer experience architecture in seven steps:

1. The brand platform - First, define or reaffirm the overarching ideas that represent the brand. REI's brand platform is the excitement and adventure of the outdoors; Chick-fil-A's is exceeding customers' expectations with a servant's spirit.

2. Customer experience strategy - Describe the desired customer feelings and perceptions of the brand across all interactions with the organization. An electronics website might want to create a "place" for customers to discover and be delighted by innovations. A hotelier might want customers to feel pampered by legendary service.

3. Business segmentation - Break down the business into discrete units. For a new brand, segmenting the business by traffic versus trial versus transition might be an illuminating approach; a restaurant company might segment by service mode, e.g., eat-in vs. drive-thru vs. carry-out; and a product-line segmentation might be appropriate for a manufacturer. The objective is to identify the different experiences the organization delivers and to articulate the requirements and objectives of each.

4. Customer segmentation - Different target segments have different needs. Some customers may value convenience over price, while others may be looking for an entertaining experience, so their desired experiences vary. Describe each segment with a profile and a needs inventory, including key drivers of purchase decisions and brand perceptions.

5. Prioritization - Create a grid with the business segments as columns and customer segments as rows. Each business/customer intersection represents a discrete experience to design and deliver. They should be prioritized in order to focus design and management. Prioritization criteria include profit potential, fit with long-term strategy, competitive advantage and differentiation, resource requirements, and how the experience affects and/or reinforces brand values and brand position.

6. Experience design - Determine how to meet the segment-specific needs in each business segment, either by improving existing approaches based on new insights from the architecture or by developing entirely new ones. All the levers of customer experience - product, service, content, channels, touch points, pricing, facilities, sensory engagement, etc. - should be considered and described in the design.

7. Assessment and integration - Now the architecture is ready to be inspected for integrity and coherence. Is the brand platform expressed throughout every experience? Do the discrete experiences contribute to the overall customer experience strategy? Do experiences complement and enhance each other, or do they conflict or detract from each other?
Creating a winning patient experience takes planning and integrated execution throughout your hospital or office. Analytics and data alone won't get you to the promised land. Maybe 1000-threat count sheets on the beds will help.

About the Author
Arlen Meyers, M.D., MBA, is the president and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs at www.sopenet.org and Linkedin group at arlen.meyers@ucdenver.edu.

To view the original article click here.

Kaiser Permanente Commits to Sharing Its Value-Based Care Expertise and Support White House Kick Off of Health Care Payment and Learning Action Network
Bernard J. Tyson, CEO and Chairman, says we must act to make care affordable

Kaiser Permanente - Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson today joined President Obama, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell, and other business leaders for the White House launch of the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network.

The Network intends to further the framework established by the Affordable Care Act to move the U.S. healthcare system away from a payment model based on the quantity of care provided and towards one based on quality. This has been Kaiser Permanente's approach for 70 years. More than 2,800 payers, providers, employers, patients, states, consumer groups, consumers and other partners have registered to participate.

As part of the launch event, Kaiser Permanente committed to sharing important learnings based on the organization's experience in providing value-based care to nearly 10 million Americans. Tyson said Kaiser Permanente would take an active role in helping create a process that mobilizes the healthcare industry to share best practices around value-based payments among participants.  "Sharing is an important role for us as a not-for-profit organization," Tyson said.

Kaiser Permanente's integrated model aligns the health plan with the care delivery provided by its physicians, resulting in both high-quality outcomes and greater affordability.

"We believe a constructive dialogue within healthcare - led by the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network and combined with greater flexibility in Medicare - will allow us to share our experience and also learn from what other industry partners are doing," Tyson said. "It is time that we come together and act to make care more affordable. We commend the Administration and Secretary Burwell for their work on this critical issue and appreciate the opportunity to help in any way we can."

Earlier this year Secretary Burwell announced the goal of tying 30 percent of payments to quality and value through alternative payment models by 2016 and 50 percent by 2018 under new approaches to paying for healthcare created by the Affordable Care Act.

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, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable healthcare services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve approximately 9.6 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.

Cigna Global Health Benefits Network Expands to Provide Health Services and Benefits to Canadian Expatriates and Their Families

  • Integrates provincial and expatriate plans for eligible customers
  • Gives employees access to a provider network of more than 30,000 healthcare professionals throughout Canada

Cigna Global Health Benefits® (NYSE: CI) now offers medical, dental, vision and pharmacy benefits to Canadian expatriates and their eligible family members through its CignaLinks® network expansion intoCanada. Cigna Global Health Benefits worked with Cowan Insurance Group, a leading provider of third party administrator services in Canada, to bring this opportunity to market. This relationship is unique in that the provincial and expatriate health plans are managed together for eligible customers, making it easier for customers to use their benefits wherever they may be in the world.

According to a recent study (National Health Expenditure Trends, 1975 to 2014) conducted by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, in 2012 the private sector spent $60.3 billion on healthcare. Annual growth rates were forecast at 2.6 percent for 2014, which is higher than public-sector annual growth rates (forecast at 2.0 percent). Through this relationship, customers now have access to a direct reimbursement experience utilizing a strong national network of healthcare professionals that are part of the CignaLinks Canada network.

"Research and feedback tells us that customers want affordable healthcare services and products that are easy for them to use when they need it," said Robyn Cameron, senior vice president, North America Market, Cigna Global Health Benefits. "By working with Cowan, we're able to introduce a unique offering to customers that combines affordability with convenience without sacrificing quality of care or quantity of access to doctors."

"Navigating the healthcare landscape of a foreign country can be very challenging for an expatriate employee and their dependents. Multi-national employers want their expatriate employees to have a comprehensive healthcare program so that when they travel, their medical needs will be covered," said Jason McCormick, vice president International Benefits, Cowan Insurance Group. "With this relationship, Cigna's insured members who are working in Canada and their dependents, gain access to a significant network of providers from coast to coast that offer direct reimbursement, and tap into cost-mitigation opportunities through our innovative tools, relationships and partners."

In addition, customers receive:

  • Direct claims settlement for retail pharmacies, vision, medical and dental benefits across Canada;
  • Services accessed at discount rates in many cases due to local pricing and negotiated discounts with many of the healthcare professionals in the CignaLinks network;
  • No deductibles;
  • Provincial Health Plan Service eligibility and enrollment support, which simplifies the administration of medical health services across all provinces; and
  • Easy-to-use search capabilities when looking for healthcare professionals in the Cigna Envoy® online directory.

For more information, visit http://www.cignaglobalhealth.com/products/canada.html.

About Cigna
Cigna Corporation (NYSE: CI) is a global health service company dedicated to helping people improve their health, well-being and sense of security. All products and services are provided exclusively by or through operating subsidiaries of Cigna Corporation, including Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company, Life Insurance Company of North America, Cigna Life Insurance Company of Canada, or their affiliates. Such products and services include an integrated suite of health services, such as medical, dental, behavioral health, pharmacy, vision, supplemental benefits and other related products, including group life, accident and disability insurance. Cigna maintains sales capability in 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has approximately 86 million customer relationships throughout the world. To learn more about Cigna®, including links to follow us on Facebook or Twitter, visit www.cigna.com.

About Cowan Insurance Group
A pre-eminent Canadian owned and operated insurance brokerage, third party administrator and consulting operation since 1927, Cowan specializes in property, casualty and credit insurance, providing the best value to businesses, organizations and individuals for their insurance and risk management needs. In addition, Cowan is a leading provider of international benefits, offering benefits plan design, third party administration and consulting services for embassies, students and foreign workers. Cowan's dedicated team of professionals has extensive knowledge of the international market, and can offer proactive advice and creative benefits solutions to employee groups. The organization also advises and creates retirement, group benefits, and disability management for employee groups, and offers wealth management, financial planning and succession planning services to individuals through its wholly owned financial services subsidiary. Cowan Insurance Group has over 430 employees and currently operates in ten locations across Ontario. Cowan subsidiary companies include The Williamson Group, Wentworth Financial Services, Cowan Financial Solutions and Millennium CreditRisk Management. For additional information about Cowan Insurance Group, please refer to www.cowangroup.ca.

Contacts
Cigna Global Health Benefits
Jessica Iben, 302-797-3299
Jessica.iben@cigna.com
or
Cowan Insurance Group
Melissa Manojlovich, 519-650-6363 ext. 31602
melissa.manojlovich@cowangroup.ca

To view the original article click here.

Consumer-Driven Health Plans Can Bend Cost Curve
by Brian Eastwood

Fiercehealthpayer.com-The consumer-driven health plan (CDHP) seems to bend the healthcare cost curve for large employers, according to a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

To view the original article click here.

The Problem with Health Insurers' Price Transparency Initiatives
by Dina Overland

Fiercehealthpayer.com-The insurance industry's growing movement to disclose prices to consumers might be flawed and could potentially backfire. Without context, the recent price transparency initiatives are essentially meaningless, according to an editorial published in the Wall Street Journal.

To view the original article click here.

Study Reveals Communication Breakdown between Hospital Clinicians and PCPs
by Emily Rappleye
Becker's Hospital Review is the original producer/publisher of the content.

Patient care coordination suffers due to poor communication between hospital clinicians and primary care providers, according to a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

To view the original article click here.

Why Reference Pricing May Not Be Ready To Shine
Concept is sound, but strategy still has flaws
by Dori Zweig

Fiercehealthpayer.com-Reference pricing appeals to insurers on a multitude of levels. It not only helps offset rising healthcare costs, but the requirements are relatively lax.

To view the original article click here.

How Payers, Providers Make Bundled Payments Work [Special Report]
by Brian Eastwood

Fiercehealthpayer.com-For many organizations, bundled payments represent an increasingly appealing way to shift high-volume procedures to the value-based care model promoted by healthcare reform. In fact, bundled payments have been described as the gateway to payment reform, as they emphasize high quality and low costs for patients, providers and payers alike.

To view the original article click here.

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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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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Spotlight Interview

Brian E Hill, M.D., Urology Specialists of Atlanta, LLC, and President, Healthcare Impact Partners, LLC

Perspectives
On Accurately Comparing Clinics Between Countries
News in Review

Experiencing a Great Patient Experience

Kaiser Permanente Commits to Sharing Its Value-Based Care Expertise and Support White House Kick Off of Health Care Payment and Learning Action Network

Cigna Global Health Benefits Network Expands to Provide Health Services and Benefits to Canadian Expatriates and Their Families

Consumer-Driven Health Plans Can Bend Cost Curve

The Problem with Health Insurers' Price Transparency Initiatives

Study Reveals Communication Breakdown between Hospital Clinicians and PCPs

Why Reference Pricing May Not Be Ready To Shine

Bundled Payment Project Saved $1M in First Year

Help Save a Life and Support MatchingDonors