THIS WEEK IN U.S. DOMESTIC MEDICAL TRAVEL

Volume 1, Issue 24

Dear Colleagues,

The nation's leading healthcare advocacy and assistance company, Health Advocate, is dedicated to helping its members make more informed health decisions and maximize value in the healthcare system.

Marcia Otto, vice president of Pricing Transparency Applications, Health Advocate, discusses the company's latest initiatives, how it differs from competitors in the marketplace and what is in store for Health Advocate and its 10,000+ members in the future.

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: Marcia Otto, Vice President of Pricing Transparency Applications, Health Advocate, Inc.

http://www.healthadvocate.com/

About Marcia Otto
Marcia Otto is a Silicon Valley software veteran whose expertise is in developing healthcare transparency solutions for payers, providers and consumers in order to achieve better outcomes with quality and cost.

Currently, Marcia is the vice president of Pricing and Transparency Applications at Health Advocate. Prior to Health Advocate, she was with IMS Health/Med-Vantage as the director of Product Management, Provider & Payer Solutions. Marcia also led the eBusiness consumer and provider-facing transparency strategies and provider portal online experience for Blue Shield of California.

Marcia has a B.A. in Economics from University of Illinois and an M.B.A. from Santa Clara University.

About Health Advocate
Health Advocate™, Inc., a subsidiary of West Corporation, is the nation’s leading healthcare advocacy and assistance company, serving more than 10,000 clients, including many of the nation’s largest companies. Health Advocate’s award-winning Health Advocacy program helps members navigate complex healthcare and insurance-related issues, saving them both time and money. Health Advocate also offers a suite of complementary solutions, including Wellness Coaching, EAP+Work/Life and Chronic Care Solutions, among others. Its fully integrated program EmpoweredHealth seamlessly combines all of its services into a single, convenient solution, helping members efficiently maximize their benefits.

Health Advocate also leverages the power of pricing transparency, personalized health communications and more to help members make more informed decisions and get more value out of the healthcare system. All supported by a powerful data analytics engine delivering improved health and financial results. Health Advocate recently introduced its newest pricing transparency tool, Health Cost Estimator+.

For more information, visit HealthAdvocate.com.

About West Corporation:
West Corporation (Nasdaq:WSTC) is a leading provider of technology-driven communication services. West offers its clients a broad range of communications and network infrastructure solutions that help them manage or support critical communications. West's customer contact solutions and conferencing services are designed to improve its clients' cost structure and provide reliable, high-quality services. West also provides mission-critical services, such as public safety and emergency communications.

Founded in 1986 and headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, West serves Fortune 1000 companies and other clients in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, retail, financial services, public safety, technology and healthcare. West has sales and operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America.

Typical Employer Group Size: Health Advocate works with employer groups of all sizes, from customers with as few as 10 employees to organizations that are among the largest employers in the U.S.

Pricing for Health Cost Estimator+: Health Cost Estimator+ is priced on a per employee per month (PEPM) basis based on group size. There are no group size limits. We offer discounts for existing data and Core Advocacy clients, and there are additional fees for displaying real-time member-specific out-of-pocket expenses. In general, we are very competitively priced, and, on average, cost about a quarter or less than what competitors charge for a similar service. Health Advocate also does not charge an implementation fee.

 

U.S. Domestic Medical Travel (USDMT): Tell us about your role with Health Advocate.

Marcia Otto (MO): I am the vice president of Pricing and Transparency Applications. I joined the team to elevate our pricing transparency applications to world-class applications.

USDMT: How does Health Advocate differ from other transparency companies in the marketplace?

MO: Our tools are very competitive with what is currently in the marketplace, but what really differentiates us from any other transparency company is the fact that individuals can call our Personal Health Advocates for help utilizing the tool or with any questions they have about the results. In addition, our Personal Health Advocates can help members take the next step by scheduling appointments, moving medical records, coordinating pre-authorizations and more.

USDMT: When you reference 10,000 clients, are you referring to companies or individuals?

MO: We have 10,000 company clients, but cover up to 40 million individuals, including employees and their spouses, parents, in-laws and dependent children.

Over time, we have grown and added a range of services - beyond our core health advocacy - to include wellness coaching, biometric screening, a nurse line, telemedicine, data analytics and now pricing transparency.

USDMT: Does Health Advocate advise clients to travel for medical treatment?

MO: Absolutely!

Of course, pricing greatly varies between geographical areas. In fact, prior to this call I did a search for pricing on a colonoscopy. Within 25 miles of New York City, the costs ranged from $1,000 - $5,000!

Health Advocate focuses on locating high-quality, cost-effective providers within a comfortable radius for the patient. We can search up to 300 miles.

USDMT: Should distance be a determining factor to a patient seeking high-quality care?

MO: It depends on the treatment that is available to a patient in their local area.

If a patient resides in a rural area where the quality and breadth of care is sufficiently better 200 miles away, then distance should not be a deterrent.

USDMT: What are the quality indicators?

MO: For hospital quality indicators, we utilize the Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Scores and the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Patient Satisfaction Survey, as well as average patient cases derived from our national database.

Instead of employee members having to decipher the comprehensive HCAHPS survey and all 28 measures of the Leapfrog Group’s Hospital Safety Scores, Health Cost Estimator+ displays summarized results based on Leapfrog’s "A-B-C-D-F" score for hospitals and 1-5 stars from the HCAHPS survey.

We offer individuals the tools to research additional information about facilities and providers, but in my experience, I have found that very few people want to do a lot of analysis. With Health Cost Estimator+, we have done the work for them, creating an easy-to-use tool that provides users with helpful information.

On the physician side, we are working to incorporate patient satisfaction data. In the future, Health Cost Estimator+ will also feature average annual patient cases and indicators for doctors who use certified Electronic Health Records (EHR) and participate in Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) or Electronic Prescribing programs within the tool’s results.

When employee members do a search with Health Cost Estimator+, they will find their estimated out-of-pocket cost for a service or procedure as well as quality indicators. Having easy to digest cost and quality information side by side will help employees pick the best value provider for their needs.

USDMT: Describe your marketing initiatives.

MO: We work directly with the employer, specifically large employers or employer groups.

Unlike other companies, we will provide our solutions to any size group, whether they are self-insured or fully-insured.

USDMT: How do you market to employers?

MO: We utilize direct sales and marketing. We also work with brokers and consultants to serve their clients.

USDMT: What is in store for Health Advocate?

MO: Actually, we were just acquired by West Corporation. www.West.com

We will continue to be treated as a wholly-owned division. We have already begun to collaborate with West to leverage their capabilities to further grow and develop our suite of solutions.

USDMT: Can you give our readers some background on West Corporation.

MO: West Corporation is a leading provider of technology-driven communication services. Its conferencing services and other customer-contact solutions are designed to provide reliable, high-quality services. In addition, West also provides mission-critical services, such as public safety and emergency communications infrastructure.

As Health Advocate moves toward more technology-based applications, West Corporation will be a great complement.

INTERVIEW: Roslyn Daniels, President, Black Health Matters

info@blackhealthmatters.com
http://www.blackhealthmatters.com/

About Roslyn Daniels
Daniels directs key aspects of Black Health Matters, including strategy, revenue generation, sales development, client services, custom solutions, research and trade marketing. She also leads the public relations and corporate branding departments for the company. Daniels also serves as CEO of The Daniels Network, the holding company for Black Health Matters Multi-Channel Communications, LLC. Founded in 2003, The Daniels Network provides pharmaceutical and healthcare companies an array of marketing solutions, including strategic insights, DTC branding, digital innovation and public relations. Past clients have included: Boehringer Ingelheim, Coca-Cola Live Positively, Eli Lilly and Merck. Previously, Daniels was director of Business Development for BET Networks and spearheaded the launch of Fitness magazine. Daniels is a graduate of Boston University.

About Black Health Matters
Black Health Matters: African Americans have poor health outcomes on nearly every disease index; we're either at higher risk for developing an illness or we die from it in greater numbers. While access to health insurance and socioeconomic status play a significant part in these health disparities, we also lack awareness about many preventive steps we could take to better our health, and we're in denial, too. Black Health Matters will provide information about health and well-being from a service-oriented perspective-with lots of upbeat, positive solutions and tips.

 

U.S. Domestic Medical Travel (USDMT): Can you give our readers some additional background on Black Health Matters?

RD: Black Health Matters (www.blackhealthmatters.com) is a comprehensive website that speaks to the healthcare interest of the African American audience.

The site was established two years ago as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and healthcare reform taking place in our nation.

With more individuals gaining access to healthcare, we wanted to offer information to new health seekers who would now be able to afford health insurance, or consider benefits once they learned certain exams were free.

African Americans have some of the highest rates of high blood pressure in the world, and so there are certain illnesses that do tend to over-index in this marketplace.

USDMT: Can African Americans benefit from traveling to Centers of Excellence (COE) that make specific services accessible to them?

RD: Of course. I think it is important for us to help the African American community access increased opportunities and think creatively when it comes to healthcare.

We do not necessarily need to take a standard path for wellness.

USDMT: How can African American employers better learn about different healthcare opportunities?

RD: At this point, more information must be circulated. There are very few outlets for African Americans to reference and learn more about disease-state management and disease-state prevention.

Also, there needs to be more accessible data regarding medical travel.

There are COEs in the African American market for health and well-being, which generally center around medical schools.

Right now, there are three African American medical schools, and of course, these institutions will graduate physicians that will have more of a sensitivity to the illness issues that face this market.

USDMT: If African American employees wanted to seek care at a COE centered around one of the three universities, how can they find information?

RD: The information would have to be spread by word-of-mouth - which is very prevalent in the African American community.

On a social level, a lot of African Americans are active in fraternities and sororities, which are very much committed to engaging in proactive programs such as healthcare, financial literacy, etc.

Perhaps speaking with and presenting information to fraternities and sororities can help to raise awareness.

USDMT: Are there any major employer associations in the African American community that may be appropriate to target?

RD: There are really only a few major corporations, one being Black Entertainment TV.

The most effective way to spread information would be to present it to any company that hires a large number of individuals, perhaps with a focus on Southern employers who have a higher concentration of African Americans workers.

USDMT: Does the African American community view health and wellness similarly to the way other ethnicities do?

RD: Research confirms that African Americans are interested in health, but they do not fully understand what health is.

For example, your definition of health as a professional in the industry will differ greatly in comparison to an unqualified individual in the community.

Again, this is the purpose of Black Health Matters. We are here to be a resource where individuals can research information on health and wellness as it pertains to their life.

USDMT: Are African American women better healthcare minders than men?

RD: Absolutely.

What we are observing is that African American males who have insurance aren't going to the doctor as often as they should.

We have authored a number of articles and concluded that African American men who are married tend to fare better. They live longer, healthier and have a better quality of life because the woman of the household is the health gate-keeper.

USDMT: Has the healthcare status of the African American community in the U.S. improved over the last decade?

RD: There have been some advances.

There has been an increase in the number of mammograms and number of office visits, but there is still a long way to go.

USDMT: Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about how they can address the issues of African Americans?

RD: Again, it is so important to become aware of the resources that are available.

Keep in mind that Black Health Matters exists, and it does have great information on health, nutrition and disease management.

Also, African American patients will greatly appreciate recommendations to culturally competent physicians who will more than likely better understand certain health issues in the community.

Beauty Is A State of Mind
by Dr. Jeffrey Hartog

The concept of medical tourism has grown in popularity over the course of the last 10 years as people mix pleasure and relaxation with health and wellness. The industry continues to see growth as people share their positive medical travel experiences via social media channels and other platforms. Through medical travel, patients are able to seek out the medical experts they need to ensure the best possible care and outcome. They also tend to feel additional confidence in their privacy and confidentiality when undergoing procedures and recovery completely away from the prying eyes of family, friends and neighbors.

Cosmetic surgery is one of the most common reasons that both male and female patients seek top medical experts across the country and globe. This also includes women diagnosed with breast cancer and those women who seek to reconstruct their breasts after mastectomies.

Women who have the ability to combine travel with their breast reconstruction procedures can experience an enhanced healing process when they are able to relax and receive the best possible care.

Having a mastectomy, whether full or partial, has a lasting effect on a woman; the surgical procedure alters and hinders her visible and mental identification as a woman. Concerns and doubts about beauty often surface following such a surgery, which can lead to self-esteem issues and depression. Breast reconstruction provides a way to maintain certain standards of physical beauty as well as encouraging mental health.

Women who travel for their breast reconstruction procedures are able to put themselves into a fresh, relaxing state of mind, allowing them to fully immerse themselves in the healing process.

Much occurs following the diagnosis of an illness, particularly one such as cancer. These diagnoses are followed by months of treatment that deteriorate not only the physical body but the mind, as well. If the patient’s focus is more on the "destination" of recovery than on the grueling treatment process, the mind can continue to see beauty. Thus, the "destination" carries multiple levels of importance: Travel to be healed and enjoy the atmosphere in a "new" body and mind frame.

Aside from the perks of leaving their hectic lives behind for a while, women who also travel for their reconstruction surgeries may have more options available to them than if they choose to settle for a local provider. There’s more to it than choosing any old location and simply having reconstructive surgery. The patient should be confident that both the procedure and the location work hand-in-hand.

One attractive option available to women who have undergone mastectomies - which is not available from every surgeon - is autologous fat transfer or fat grafting. Less invasive than implants, fat grafting offers multiple benefits. Fat grafting uses gentle liposuction in areas such as the abdomen or thighs. Once removed, the fat is purified and injected into the breast area in small droplets. After the surgeon injects the fat, the body quickly builds a vascular network to support it, permanently attaching it to the "new" part of the body.

With fat grafting, women leave on the same day with small breasts that look and feel natural. They can even freeze their fat for future use, which includes enhancing the size of their breasts at a later date. The stored fat can also be used to lessen wrinkles.

Destinations like Central Florida allow patients - especially those interested in outpatient care - to experience more of a family vacation at local resorts and area attractions rather than spending all of their time in the hospital. The sun helps them feel rejuvenated and, with the brief recovery period, patients can concentrate more on enjoying a much-needed vacation.

A change of environment allows people to leave their hectic lives behind and focus on seeking a calm existence as they journey toward recovery. The vacation is for health, but it also allows the patient to move forward mentally.

With proper care, and treatment and recovery options specifically and perfectly suited to them, women can continue to feel beautiful. Feeling beautiful is key to a complete healing.

About The Author
Dr. Jeffrey Hartog is the director of The Bougainvillea Clinique in Winter Park, Florida. Internationally trained, he specializes in fat transfer to the breast and presents nationally and internationally on the subject. Dr. Hartog has received recognition not only for his skill as a surgeon, but also as a visionary in the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Vitals Hits Milestone of Six Million Online Doctor Reviews and Ratings
Analysis of Doctor Reviews Shows It Isn’t the Doctor That Matters Most

See the infographic

Vitals.com-Vitals, a company committed to helping people shop for healthcare like an expert, announced today that its provider ratings and reviews now exceed six million, more than any other online site.

Since Vitals launched its consumer website in 2008, an increasing number of people have turned to the web to research their care options. As a result, the popularity of doctor reviews has soared. A recent study found that 6 in 10 people consult online reviews before they choose a physician.
Doctor reviews have historically trailed restaurant and hotel reviews. But increasing costs and more medical choices, like urgent care and retail clinics, have encouraged patients to shop around for healthcare like other services.

"Seven years ago, there was no one on the Web collecting reviews for doctors," said Mitch Rothschild, founder and executive chairman of Vitals. "Now, we’ve entered the new, post-reform healthcare era. And, just like hotel and restaurant reviews, doctor reviews are seen as an integral part of the decision process for people who need a doctor."

In its analysis of 5,000 recent reviews, Vitals found that people rate doctors on what they know the best - the patient experience. In fact, people comment most on aspects of their visit that happen before they even see the doctor. "Time," "staff," and "office," were the top three words in the analysis. In contrast, the word "diagnosis" ranked number 47, implying that people don’t tend to review doctors on the quality of medical care they dispense.

"Since medicine began, patients seek out doctors to gain expert advice. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t qualified to write reviews about healthcare," said Rothschild. "Patients want to know they will be listened and attended to. They want a comfortable waiting room area. They want their time respected. And they want a friendly and responsive staff. These are areas that they’re more than qualified to assess."

The analysis included a look back at doctor reviews from 2010 and a look at recent reviews for medical specialists. Remarkably, the words "time," "office," and "staff" are consistent from one specialist to the next - and even over the five-year span.

Top 5 Ranked Words, by Year of Specialty

2015

 

 

2010

 

 

OB/Gyn

 

 

Pediatricians

 

 

Dentists

#1 Time
#2 Staff
#3 Office
#4 Care
#5 Surgery

 

 

#1 Time
#2 Staff
#3 Office
#4 Care
#5 Caring

 

 

#1 Time
#2 Office
#3 Staff
#4 Care
#5 Recommend

 

 

#1 Time
#2 Office
#3 Staff
#4 Son
#5 Child

 

 

#1 Staff
#2 Office
#3 Great
#4 Recommend
#5 Time

Vitals also found that, for the most part, doctor reviews are favorable towards the provider. Out of the top 200 words, positive words outranked negative words 3:1. For instance, "great" ranked number seven and "best" ranked number 13, while rude ranked number 25.

Ranking of Positive Words
Word     Rank
Great     #7
Best     #13
Caring     #19
Professional     #26
Excellent     #27
   
Ranking of Negative Words
Word     Rank
Rude     #25
Bad     #41
Wrong     #82
Horrible     #83
Terrible     #103

"People want to share their good experiences with others," said Rothschild. "What we’ve learned is that doctors who provide great service and care to their patients benefit from patient reviews."

About Vitals
Vitals empowers everyone to shop like an expert for their healthcare. Vitals does this by creating an efficient healthcare marketplace for consumers - making them aware of the cost, quality and availability of healthcare provider options. Vitals leads the market with the first transparency and engagement platform that achieves measurable savings for consumers through a retail-like approach to purchasing healthcare services. Through health plan and hospital clients and our leading consumer websites, Vitals helps more than 120 million people each year access better, more affordable care.

Follow us on FacebookGoogle+ Twitter or LinkedIn.

Contacts
Vitals
Rosie Mattio, 917-583-6349
Rosie.mattio@vitals.com

To view the original release click here.

IPG Announces Significant Expansion of their Surgical Cost Management Solutions within Aetna and Other Leading Health Plans
Company demonstrates their proven strategies to deliver financially viable solutions to healthcare providers that directly impact healthcare costs and drive affordability of care

IPG, the recognized industry-leading provider of Surgical and Implant Cost Management solutions is pleased to announce a significant expansion of their program within Aetna and several other leading health plans across the country. Through the development, IPG will continue to deliver a customized, data driven approach to enable their health plan partners to manage their surgical and implant costs more efficiently. 

"Unrealistic markups, growing utilization and price variability are just a few of the challenges related to the $125 billion implantable medical device industry," said Jay Ethridge, CEO of IPG. "At IPG, we continue to positively address those issues, having successfully deployed the program nationally, with proven results. We are excited to continue to effectively implement the program as a strategic partner to our stakeholders, continuing to share our best practices and deliver collaborative and customizable solutions to manage medical costs, with the ultimate objective of driving more affordable, high quality care for consumers." 

Due to the effective adoption of the program, and interest expressed by health plan and provider clients, IPG is deploying the same program to a broader number of providers nationwide. The cost and complexities involved in managing and maintaining implantable devices can be a major barrier to stand-alone outpatient surgical facilities performing routine surgical procedures. This relationship may help participating facilities better manage the financial burden of the implant, and supports and drives incremental case volume to these cost-effective providers. This makes it simple and affordable for them to offer surgical services and high-quality implantable devices across all specialties, from plates and screws used in orthopedics to defibrillators in cardiology and, more recently, the more complex total knee and hip procedures that are shifting to outpatient surgical facilities. 

In recent news, IPG’s primary competitor, Access Mediquip (AMQ), announced they were shutting their doors. In addition to the current market expansion, IPG is providing an immediate solution for those providers to help them manage through the AMQ transition.  Backed by Sequoia Capital and Camden Partners, and with a current operational plan that has had additional capacity built in for significant growth, IPG’s strong financial and operational capability will make it a seamless transition.  IPG has experience with sizeable implementations, and has invested in the resources that will help us grow our business and deliver the programs and results IPG’s clients expect. The stability and proof of the success of the IPG model is validated by their overall facility customer satisfaction consistently exceeding 95 percent. IPG’s referenceable providers can also speak to the unique benefits of the model, the seamless integration, prompt approval times and robust manufacturer network, as well as the value and profitability that the program brings to participating providers.

About IPG
As the Surgical and Implant Cost Management leader, IPG delivers a customized, data-driven approach to enable their health plan partners to manage their surgical and implant costs more effectively. Providing true end-to-end solutions for the healthcare industry, IPG serves as a strategic capability for health plans to manage cost and risk in a unique way that drives collaboration between the plan, their healthcare providers, manufacturers and physicians to ensure that patients receive increased access to affordable and innovative life-saving and life-enhancing device-intensive medical therapies. Additionally, IPG’s award-winning analytics platform for implantable procedures delivers transparency to impact the entire healthcare transaction process and all sites of care. Continued expansion of IPG’s surgical cost management platform will help health plans to deploy programs that will improve their ability to manage risk and deliver actionable information to everyone involved in a patient’s surgical procedure to drive lower costs and high-quality care for consumers. For more information about IPG, call us at 1-866-753-0046, or visit us on the web at www.ipg.com.

Media Contacts:
IPG
Kerry Lee Perry
kperry@ipg.com
770-753-0046

To view the original release click here.

DaVita Kidney Care Releases List of Top 10 U.S. Travel Destinations for Dialysis Patients

DaVita Kidney Care, a division of DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. (NYSE: DVA) and a leading provider of kidney care services, today released a list of the top 10 U.S. travel destinations for dialysis patients.

"We encourage and empower our patients to maintain an active lifestyle while on dialysis," said Duane Dunn, director of social work services at DaVita Kidney Care. "Traveling is just one way patients can retain a sense of normalcy and live a higher quality of life."

DaVita Kidney Care provides support for traveling patients and works to find dialysis centers near the desired travel destinations. The following cities were named the top travel destinations for DaVita Kidney Care patients in 2015:

1. Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the number one requested travel spot for dialysis patients. There are 13 DaVita Kidney Care centers in the area, making it possible for patients to enjoy the famous hotels, casinos, shows and dining options while also taking care of their health.

2. Orlando/Celebration, Florida
Orlando/Celebration is another popular dialysis destination. With a number of DaVita Kidney Care centers to choose from, patients are able to enjoy themselves while visiting attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando and SeaWorld.

3. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 
Noted as one of the premier coastal resorts on the East Coast, Myrtle Beach offers a selection of dinner theater shows, live music and casino cruises. Visitors can also enjoy golfing, fishing, boating, windsurfing and other outdoor activities. There are two DaVita Kidney Care centers in the area, making it easy for vacationing patients to receive the care they need.

4. Houston, Texas
The Houston area has an impressive number of DaVita Kidney Care centers to choose from, and is a top Texas destination for dialysis patients. Some travel attractions in Houston include its large arts district, as well as the nation's largest wildlife refuge and Space Center Houston.

5. San Antonio, Texas
With 15 DaVita Kidney Care centers in the area, San Antonio visitors can visit the Alamo, stroll over the bridges of the famous River Walk and taste authentic Tex-Mex cuisine. San Antonio also has theme parks and major sporting events to entertain visitors of all ages.

6. Atlanta, Georgia 
With nearly 25 DaVita Kidney Care centers in the area, Atlanta is another top destination for dialysis patients. Tourists in Atlanta can visit The King Center (a memorial to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) and the house of Gone with the Wind author Margaret Mitchell. The city is also home to the CNN studios and the World of Coca-Cola.

7. Chicago, Illinois
Chicago is another top travel destination for dialysis patients. The "Windy City" is home to Wrigley Field and known for its dining and shopping opportunities. Visiting patients can enjoy a variety of public art works, including the famous "bean."  

8. San Diego, California
San Diego offers history, recreation and culture as well as a scenic bayside. There are six DaVita Kidney Care centers nearby and many beach-side lodging options for traveling patients.

9. Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles visitors can expect to enjoy mountains, beaches and almost year-round sunshine. The Venice boardwalk is a popular destination, as well as the Walk of Fame in Hollywood and the old-fashioned fair games at the Santa Monica pier. Traveling patients are able to choose from 25 DaVita Kidney Care centers within 25 miles of the city center.  

10. New Orleans, Louisiana
The final city on our top travel destinations is famous for its jazz music, and French, Creole and Cajun cuisine. Visitors can stroll around the Garden District to take in the well-known architecture, cruise on the Mississippi River or stand on the balconies of centuries-old homes in the French Quarter. With a dozen DaVita Kidney Care centers in the area, patients can take care of their health while enjoying New Orleans.

About DaVita Kidney Care
DaVita Kidney Care is a division of DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc., a Fortune 500® company that, through its operating divisions, provides a variety of healthcare services to patient populations throughout the United States and abroad. A leading provider of dialysis services in the United States, DaVita Kidney Care treats patients with chronic kidney failure and end stage renal disease. DaVita Kidney Care strives to improve patients' quality of life by innovating clinical care, and by offering integrated treatment plans, personalized care teams and convenient health-management services.

As of March 31, 2015, DaVita Kidney Care operated or provided administrative services at 2,197 outpatient dialysis centers located in the United States serving approximately 174,000 patients. The company also operated 93 outpatient dialysis centers located in 10 countries outside the United States. DaVita Kidney Care supports numerous programs dedicated to creating positive, sustainable change in communities around the world. The company's leadership-development initiatives and social responsibility efforts have been recognized by Fortune, Modern Healthcare, Newsweek and WorldBlu. For more information, please visit DaVita.com.

DaVita and DaVita HealthCare Partners are trademarks or registered trademarks of DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc.

Contact Information
Media:
Elizabeth Young
(303) 876-2855
Elizabeth.J.Young@davita.com 

To view the original article click here.

Joint Replacement Prices, Costs Continue to Vary Widely
Newly released Medicare data confirms ongoing disparities
by Ron Shinkman

Fiercehealthfinance.com-Billing data just released by the Medicare program has reinforced the wide disparity in what hospitals charge for their services--in this case, joint replacement surgery.

To view the original article click here.

Hospitals as Insurers: Competition, Costs and Considerations [Special Report]
Leaders from UPMC, MedStar Health and North Shore-LIJ Health System share insights about new business model
by Joanne Finnegan

Fiercehealthcare.com-In a growing response to changes brought by the Affordable Care Act and the move to value-based payments rather than the traditional fee-for-service model, many hospital systems opt for a new strategy: launching their own health insurance plans.

To view the original article click here.

Hospital Lobbies Ask Congress to Keep Restrictions on Physician-Owned Facilities
Pending bill would relax some rules through 2019
by Ron Shinkman

Fiercehealthfinance.com-In a strongly worded letter, hospital leaders asked members of the House Ways and Means Committee to shoot down pending legislation that would loosen restrictions on physician-owned facilities.

To view the original article click here.

Consumers Can Secure a Price For a Procedure--Until it Changes
Price transparency remains elusive, Kaiser Health News reports
by Ron Shinkman

Just because patients shop around for a medical procedure and secure its price in advance does not mean healthcare organizations won't charge them more, Kaiser Health News has reported.

To view the original article click here.

Ascension Targets Self-Insured Employer Market

Modernhealthcare.com-Ascension Health, the St. Louis-based not-for-profit that includes one of the largest U.S. health systems, sees self-insured employers as the market for its growing health insurance arm.

To continue reading 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.

PRIVACY POLICY

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Copyright © 2015
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.

For advertising inquiries, please email us at advertising@usdomesticmedicaltravel.com

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