THIS WEEK IN U.S. DOMESTIC MEDICAL TRAVEL

Volume 1, Issue 6

Dear Colleagues,

Inspiring audiences worldwide to first learn to lead themselves in order to lead others more effectively, Retired Brig. Gen. Becky Halstead, founder of STEADFAST Leadership, LLC, and the first female Commanding General in U.S. history to lead at the strategic level in combat, announces the publication of her inspirational book, "24/7: The First Person You Must Lead is YOU," (December2013, ISBN-13: 978-1451592870).

Featuring humorous, poignant and always relevant stories from her real-life experiences in the military and civilian life, Halstead uses heart-wrenching candor to provide a relatable path of lessons in self-leadership that transcend age, gender, race and profession.

Also in this issue, Adel Eldin, M.D., introduces an innovative service, the "Wellness Tourism Package," which adheres to the growing need for accessible, affordable healthcare. He expresses that the key components to medical travel success include quality medicine, advocacy and consumer protection.

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: General Rebecca Halstead, founder, STEADFAST Leadership

U.S. Domestic Medical Travel (USDMT): You recently wrote your first book, "24/7: The First Person You Must Lead is YOU," inspired by your 27 years of military service. Tell us about that.

Becky Halstead (BH): I speak on leadership and I coach, consult and advise for many different companies - some of which are in the health and wellness arena, but most are corporate. I enjoy working across all sectors of industry, and what I've discovered is that regardless of your profession, leadership is required in the family, in the community and in the work place. When I finish giving a keynote speech, people often come up to me and say, "Please tell me you are writing a book so that I can read and learn more about what you have to say."

That prompted me to write a book, because there is only so much you can communicate in an hour or 90 minutes. The book itself became somewhat of a journey, reflecting on my life and certainly on my 27 years in the military. I reflected on how I had lived my life, and how I had led others. I decided that it might be helpful to share some of the principles and concepts that I practiced. If it helps others then I think I will be able to consider the book a success - mission complete! So, that is how and why I decided to write the book.

So far, from the folks who have reviewed it, the feedback has been very positive.

People have used words like, "It was life-changing for me. I am now going to check my problem-solving system and look at my life differently." It has been a fun journey for me, and I am real happy to share it. It is not an academic book, but a practitioner's book - stories on real world situations that happened in my own life. As in everybody's life, I had successes and failures. I purposely address both because you have to be realistic. The best kind of leadership is authentic leadership, which means you must be real.

USDMT: What does leadership mean to you?

BH: In the simplest of terms, I really think that leadership is doing what is right - when no one is watching. Doing what is right even when it is hard, doing what is right even when it isn't popular, and it is doing what is right by using both your mind and your heart - not one or the other, but both. Both are very important.

USDMT: While in the military, you were based in many foreign countries, including Iraq and Afghanistan. How did you stay healthy while traveling?

BH: Great question. I have actually been to 49 countries. Every country has its own unique challenges. I've visited countries like Indonesia, Nicaragua, China, Korea and all over South America and Europe, and of course, Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. I always try to educate myself on the country I will visit or reside in, especially in terms of the food, the drinking water - all of those things.

When I think about how I stayed healthy while traveling, there are several factors. First of all, you have to prepare yourself before you go. Research your destination, and determine the nuances of that location. Do you need to take anything with you? For instance, I had to carry quite a few things to help me with digestion. You must arm yourself and prepare yourself.

Secondly, there's the travel itself. How many time zones are you going through? I would do simple things like adjusting the time on my watch the minute I would get on the plane. I'd start the new time zone I was going to so my body could begin to adjust. For instance, when I went to China and I got on the plane in Washington D.C., I set my watch as though I was in China's time zone. That meant as soon as we took off, it was time to sleep! So, I put earplugs in, shades over the eyes, didn't do any office work, didn't watch any TV or movies. I forced myself to try to sleep.

Sleep is critical to a successful trip. Your body has to be ready when you get off the plane. Now, I have watched others take the alcohol-induced sleep approach. I don't recommend that. It achieves a short term goal of falling asleep, but it hurts you in the long run. So, I was always very careful about what I ate and drank en route. I always try to minimize alcohol.

Once I get to a location, I work very hard to make sure, again, I am on their time zone, eating at the right times, going to bed at a reasonable time - trying to get my hotel room as dark as possible so that lights are not bothering me, and the really critical piece is staying hydrated. People forget alcohol dehydrates, so that is another reason to minimize alcohol. I would drink lots of water and considered that more important than eating.

Lastly, you also have to exercise. I even do so while flying. I purposely get up and walk up and down the aisle every 60-90 minutes. I also do what I call "airborne aerobics" such as walking down the aisle, putting my arms out and stretching, and doing leg lifts under the seat. You've got to keep your circulation going. Too many people do not do that.

USDMT: When you are based in these countries, is the food coming local or being shipped from the U.S.?

BH: Another great question. When I was deployed and worked in Iraq and Afghanistan, it really depended on where we were located, but we actually contracted locally for our bulk fruits and vegetables. Local in Iraq meant neighboring countries. We were able to get an amazing amount of support from Jordan, Turkey and Kuwait for fruits and vegetables. We literally received by the tractor-trailer load our fresh fruit and vegetables to support our soldiers. We didn't order fresh fruit and vegetables from the U.S. Time and distance prevented the ability to keep the produce fresh.

We did order from the U.S. foods with preservatives, like canned foods, beverages, deserts and so on. There is a lot of contracting involved, and this requires detailed planning and security checks, as we have to be certain the food and the vehicles transporting the food have not been sabotaged in any way. In Afghanistan, our operations area quite similar, but much more challenging because of the location and distances, and routes that are near impossible to secure.

In the military we also have meals we call "MRE's-Meals Ready to Eat." These are entire meals that are pre-packaged in a brown plastic bag, and can be shipped in by ground or air, and even parachuted in to remote locations. The quality has greatly improved since the days of C-Rations (which was what we had in the 1970's when I entered the army). The MRE's are not exactly wonderful, but they are certainly fine when you are in a situation where you don't have the ability to have food shipped in. You have to remember there are many variables which impede our combat operations: weather, equipment availability and, of course, enemy activity.

USDMT: I wouldn't think you would get food from the other countries while you were there. I would automatically assume that it would come from the U.S. for some reason, but that is really good that you can get your fresh fruits and vegetables.

BH: Yes, we absolutely did. There is a lot of partnership with all our operations - coalition partnerships with other countries. Sometimes, however, you have to participate in the local culture and eat what they have prepared. For instance, on one of my many visits to Colombia in Latin America, we might go out on river patrol operations with their military and then eat with their soldiers.

Often times the main course was "fresh fish" right out of the river. In some cases those river systems were polluted from the sewers pouring into them. I would look at the "fresh fish" on my plate and could almost hear my immune system shutting down!

However, we are part of building relationships between countries and militaries, so you tend to be polite and pray for the best outcome. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it does not.

USDMT: How did you overcome days when you had to lead over 20,000 soldiers but weren't feeling well?

BH: Candidly, for me, I just kind of gutted it out. I had chronic fibromyalgia, but I knew that it wasn't going to kill me, and I was just in pain. I started telling myself to stop focusing on myself and focus on my soldiers. I've got soldiers who are in pain, some of whom may have lost an eye, a leg, an arm or have been burned over half of their bodies, or lost a battle buddy. So my pain compared to their pain was no comparison. It definitely helped me get through a lot of rough days. I told myself I had to focus on my mission. But, I also tell people that you must listen to your own body and take care of yourself so you can be better positioned to take care of others.

I never allowed myself to feel sorry for myself. I rationalized that if it is not going to kill me, I will keep going and deal with it later. Sometimes I waited too long and ended up in situations where I required surgery and hospitalization. There were a lot of hard days in the military. It is a delicate balance, for sure.

One thing that has really helped me focus and diffuse some of the pain is listening to music. I try to make sure I have the right kind of music on my headphones because that's a great distraction. That's why athletes, like Michael Phelps, always have headphones on prior to competing-to tune out everybody else and listen to their music and focus. I can tell you, music has played a big role for me. I will plug myself into my headphones, and I will listen to music that I like, and the music takes me to another place, a better place, and then I am not focusing on my pain or fatigue or stress. I think music can be very healing.

USDMT: What kind of music do you like?

BH: Mostly Christian music, but I enjoy Pop, Country and Instrumental. I like mellow music. If I were to listen to Rap or Rock, I would have more pain. You have to listen to what makes you comfortable and peaceful.

USDMT: As a fibromyalgia patient, chiropractic care has played a huge part in your wellness routine. Why do you suggest others should try this treatment?

BH: Candidly, chiropractic has only played a huge part of my routine in the last few years. In the military, I only went to the chiropractor when I would go home and visit my parents once a year.

I would go to my Dad's chiropractor, who always made me feel good, but I didn't have that type of care in the military. When I retired, I started to get chiropractic care routinely and it became a huge part of my routine. If I had been able to receive chiropractic care when I was on active duty, I would probably still be a General in uniform because it helped me so much.

When I would get my adjustment, there was relief. It was like my body was just sighing relief. The adjustment restored functionality to my nervous system. I compare it to the operating system on my computer. Sometimes you turn your computer on and the little spin thing keeps going and gets stuck. You have to resort to rebooting your computer. When you reboot, it begins to operate properly and your programs run correctly. A chiropractic adjustment is similar for me. My body would get stuck in a high level of pain, and I would lose my flexibility. I think this makes a lot of sense because your nervous system runs through your spinal cord and delivers messages to all extremities.

If your spinal cord is not aligned correctly then the messages that are supposed to be sent are interrupted. Your brain is not capable of reaching all the parts of your body. Thus, your body is not going to function correctly, whether it is an organ, a hand or a foot. That is how I look at chiropractic.

My chiropractor also educated me on the importance of nutrition. We all eat several times of day. We are either getting it right several times a day, or wrong! By educating myself, I discovered I was actually "feeding" my disease because I was eating inflammatory foods which spike my fibromyalgia. I have made huge adjustments, and the result has been near miraculous. My intake of whole food supplements have increased and my prescription medications have decreased to zero! It has been life changing.

USDMT: So what is next for you? Are there more books in your future?

BH: Oh yes. I think there's definitely more books. I love photography, and I have a great intention of creating a book that showcases photographs with leadership principles to match. I will have some fun putting that together. Faith plays a really large part of my life so I plan to write a book about how faith has played an important role in my being a leader not only in the military, but also in my community and in my family.

My first book, "24/7," touches the surface of 30 leadership principles. Every single one of the 30 principles could be a book unto itself, and I suspect many will become stand-alone books. I have plenty of stories to write a book on each one. I also have a desire to reach out to specific populations, like business women and children. I was crafting four or five books when I was working on "24/7" so I know more than one is definitely in me. It will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

USDMT: Is there anything else that you want to add?

BH: I think there is a great parallel between the concepts of leadership and the business of health and wellness. If you want to live a well life then you need to plan, prepare, research and lead yourself to a healthy lifestyle.

The principles of leadership I present in "24/7" are very appropriate to the medical and health and wellness professions, because the only way any of us can really take care of ourselves properly is to lead ourselves, educate ourselves, and discipline ourselves to take the right steps for our personal health.

When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I didn't just sit there and wait for somebody to tell me what does that mean, and what happens next. Instead, I started to research. I joined the National Foundation for Fibromyalgia. I read about the side effects of all the prescription medications I was given. I sought out alternative solutions. You have to lead yourself to better wellness, and you must lead yourself to the right and appropriate medical channels.

Interview conducted by Joelle Caputa

Retired Brig. Gen. Becky Halstead Publishes Inaugural Book on Guidance and Inspiration for Effective Leadership: "24/7: The First Person You Must Lead is YOU"
Purchase on Amazon in Paperback and for Kindle

Inspiring audiences worldwide to first learn to lead themselves in order to lead others more effectively, Retired Brig. Gen. Becky Halstead, founder of STEADFAST Leadership, LLC, and the first female Commanding General in U.S. history to lead at the strategic level in combat, announces the publication of her inspirational book, "24/7: The First Person You Must Lead is YOU," (December2013, ISBN-13: 978-1451592870). Featuring humorous, poignant and always relevant stories from her real-life experiences in the military and civilian life, Halstead uses heart-wrenching candor to provide a relatable path of lessons in self-leadership that transcend age, gender, race and profession.

"My five fundamental leadership truths and 30 principles are based on a lifetime of leadership lessons, from playing sports in high school to taking responsibility for over 20,000 soldiers and civilians in combat as a general officer in Iraq," says Halstead, whose writing style is so personal and entertaining that readers feel she is actually in the room for a one-on-one conversation.

Halstead, who has built highly successful teams in demanding environments and stressful situations both on and off the battlefield, conveys that leadership is the fusion of heart and mind. Through narratives and accounts that provoke laughter, tears and outright amazement, she demonstrates that by taking selfless action, for the betterment of others, people can more successfully accomplish the mission and make a difference.

Drawing the praise of thought leaders and authorities in business, academia, military, and not-for-profit communities, 24/7 exemplifies the reasons why Becky Halstead is regarded as a quintessential leader.

Boris Groysberg, professor, Harvard Business School, says, "Becky's authenticity and unique experiences enhance her powerful message. 24/7, a much needed guide that reminds us about what is really important for those in leadership positions, is a book that you will want close at hand for the rest of your life."

Karen Kuhla, Ph.D., executive director, Education, Thayer Leader Development Group, adds, "In 24/7, Becky is candid, forthright, and practical in her assessments and insights. She compels the reader to learn more, do more, and be more in the continuing journey for leadership excellence."

About 24/7: The First Person You Must Lead is YOU
24/7: The First Person You Must Lead is YOU, authored by Becky Halstead, retired Brigadier General, U.S. Army, inspires readers to first learn to lead themselves in order to lead others more effectively. Becky's stories of personal transformation and STEADFAST leadership philosophy, principles and definition engage the hearts and minds of her readers - from high school students to CEOs. Available on Amazon in paperback and for Kindle. Visit: www.beckyhalstead.com, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Media Contacts:
Katelyn Petersen
CPR Strategic Marketing Communications
kpetersen@cpronline.com
201-641-1911 x18


SPOTLIGHT: Adel Eldin, M.D., Florida Medical Tourism

International Board of Medicine and Surgery

Certified Medical Tourism Specialist

About Florida Medical Tourism
Florida Medical Tourism is a unique global service in medical care. It was originally designed to offer special medical services to global customers, including individuals from the Middle East (Arabic speaking areas). The program was founded in the spring of 2012 to offer culturally sensitive medical services with emphasis on universal values and compassionate care. http://www.floridamedicaltourism.com/ 1-877-dr-eldin.

U.S. Domestic Medical Travel (USDMT): Give us a quick update on Florida Medical Tourism.

Adel Eldin (AE): Florida Medical Tourism has been a global hot spot for incoming and outgoing traffic.

Currently, we are in the process of launching our newest service, the "Wellness Tourism Package," which will offer a number of healthcare services for only $999 year round, with a 10 percent discount during this holiday season beginning on Thanksgiving and lasting through mid-January 2014:

  1. Full medical history and a complete physical exam with electronic medical records (EMR)
  2. Comprehensive cardiovascular exam, including 2D echo cardiogram and treadmill exercise stress test
  3. Complete wellness blood work, including complete blood count, electrolytes, fasting lipid profile, liver function test, and screening for prostatic cancer (PSA).
  4. Mammogram for females
  5. Complimentary heart-healthy lunch
  6. Pick up and drop off to patient hotel -- with sightseeing in Tampa, Fla.
  7. Complimentary one-day pass to Busch Gardens
  8. Full time escort /driver for assistance
  9. Florida Medical Tourism T-shirt and fresh Florida fruit basket
  10. 100 free tablets of Blackseed to enhance patient's immune system
  11. 12-Lead electrocardiograms

We are marketing this package through social media as the "Gift of Health" for ANY individuals who are traveling to Florida.

One of the many benefits of this package is that individuals do not have to be sick to purchase this service. The Wellness Tourism Package offers patients the opportunity to stay healthy and avoid high cost procedures.

USDMT: Will you set up travel for patients interested in this service?

AE: We will assist patients by setting up travel, recommending hotels within a five-mile radius of our facility, and utilizing the best hospitality package while patients are visiting.

We also have a toll free number, 1-877-DRELDIN, which will make it as convenient as possible for past, present and prospective patients to communicate with us throughout the entire process.

USDMT: Can you explain to our readers your involvement with telemedicine?

AE: Telemedicine is a very important aspect for healthcare delivery.

The majority of patients are looking for honest second opinions. Telemedicine is an area where we are able to make a real difference and offer individuals an innovative approach that brings the heart back to medicine.

Our website, www.floridamedicaltourism.com, provides information about the telemedicine services we offer, including cardiology and internal medicine benefits.

My wife, Dr. Ghada Zaher, has a background in pediatrics and internal medicine, and has also received her master's in Women's Health from the University of Southern Florida (USF). She is one of the very few individuals who is educated on women's comprehensive healthcare -- from birth until death.

In terms of telemedicine, we always offer the services of a female doctor to women who are more comfortable with this option.

We also offer this service in English and Arabic languages.

This is a great benefit for individuals who wish to partake in telemedicine but don't want to apply for a Visa and travel half way around the world.

USDMT: Are there any challenges associated with offering telemedicine services?

AE: This service takes a lot of time and effort, and we are certainly moving in the right direction to protect patient information, as well as their health.

I truly believe there is a tremendous need for telemedicine everywhere in the world.

Individuals want, and deserve, honest providers.

USDMT: Please explain why you developed these healthcare programs.

AE: Three and a half years ago, we began conducting research around healthcare insurance because we knew the industry was about to crash - and in late 2006, early 2007, the traditional insurance model failed miserably.

Many solo practitioners shut down, went bankrupt or were taken over by larger corporations.

I wanted to create a dignified model for the practice of medicine and for the doctor, and in 2011 I was able to introduce a healthcare maintenance package.

With this plan, there is no denial for pre-existing conditions, no co-payments, no pre-authorization, and it has open enrollment 24/7 throughout the year.

There are millions of Americans who need this kind of healthcare, considering that the majority of patients cannot afford outrageous hospital costs.

I anticipate that this new healthcare system will be franchised locally, nationally and globally, as it offers great quality and service providers who all share the same passion in doing the right thing for the patient.

USDMT: In terms of patients traveling for care, what would you say is the biggest role in attracting prospective patients?

AE: With the power of social media and the Web, prospective patients are seeking us for quality medicine, advocacy and consumer protection all in one package.


Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic and Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group Select Cedars-Sinai to Pursue Partnership in Creating Globally Pre-Eminent Sports Medicine Institute

The Institute for Sports Sciences (ISS), recently established by two of the nation's most prominent orthopedic and sports medicine physician groups - the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic and the Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group - has entered into a Letter of Intent with Cedars-Sinai to jointly pursue strategies for leadership in orthopedics and sports medicine regionally, nationally and internationally.

The collaboration between the two prominent orthopedic groups, which have an unequaled role in the care of professional sports teams and individual elite athletes, and the nationally renowned orthopedic physicians and staff at Cedars-Sinai, provides a transformational framework for a new model of patient-centered, high-quality care. The Institute for Sports Sciences will also provide advanced training and fellowship programs, as well as innovative scientific research to develop future treatments for orthopedic injuries.

While the Institute for Sports Sciences is the vehicle for collaboration among the three entities, each will continue to see patients in their current locations under each of their respective brands. And while ISS will serve as a management company and play the lead role in managing the clinics, surgery centers and imaging centers associated with the Kerlan-Jobe and SMOG groups, plans for ISS also include coordination of research and clinical trials with Cedars-Sinai, including the advanced use of orthobiologics (including stem cells and other molecular and cellular-based experimental treatments for sports injuries), and activities related to development of new approaches to orthopedic treatments that minimize surgery whenever possible.

In addition, ISS will seek to further develop integrated approaches to the full spectrum of sports medicine and orthopedics, including pediatric sports medicine, sports neurology and concussion, a movement performance center, and a return-to-work program coordinated with employers.

"Starting with founders Robert Kerlan and Frank Jobe, Kerlan-Jobe has pioneered the field of sports medicine and orthopedics," said Neal ElAttrache, M.D., chairman of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Foundation and head of its Fellowship Program. "We are excited to be breaking new ground again with this exciting venture."

"Bringing Kerlan-Jobe together with the Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group and Cedars-Sinai under this common purpose has game-changing potential," noted Ralph Gambardella, M.D., chairman and president of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic. "We are proud to be a part of ISS."

"When our two groups began talking about collaborating, and saw the similar visions that each group had, we were very enthusiastic about the possibilities of what we could do together," said Ramin Modabber, M.D., president of the Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group. "Then, when we both considered what a world-renowned institution like Cedars-Sinai could add to our collective vision, our enthusiasm increased exponentially."

"With the extraordinary skills and expertise of the surgeons and researchers at each of the three entities, we have the unique opportunity to create a global center for all aspects of sports medicine and orthopedics, encompassing clinical care, professional sports team physician activities, translational research and education," said Bert Mandelbaum, M.D., chairman of the Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group Foundation, and head of its Fellowship Program. "This is an opportunity for all of us currently practicing orthopedics and sports medicine to truly impact the future."

"Cedars-Sinai's orthopedic specialists and program are already ranked Best in the West and in the top 10 nationally, so when we partner with renowned specialists at Kerlan-Jobe and Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine, the possibilities are extraordinary," said Thomas M. Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai. "In addition to clinical and research collaborations to benefit patients, this partnership also expands the geographic footprint of each of the partners, enhancing the community's access to high-quality orthopedics and sports medicine."

"The orthopedic surgeons at Cedars-Sinai are internationally known for the depth and breadth of their research and their skills in treating the full spectrum of complex orthopedic injuries, from hand surgery to trauma to joint replacement to bone tumors, and everything in between," said William W. Brien, M.D., director of Cedars-Sinai's Division of Orthopedics and executive vice chair of the Department of Surgery. "The establishment of ISS provides an opportunity to expand our work in sports medicine, in collaboration with the outstanding Kerlan-Jobe and SMOG surgeons, whose work with professional sports teams and elite athletes is equally well known."

The Institute for Sports Sciences was formed by the two groups and Sovereign Healthcare, a private healthcare management company based in Southern California. Sovereign will remain a management partner with the Institute for Sports Sciences and work closely with the physician leadership and the team from Cedars-Sinai.

"The Institute for Sports Sciences is a unique, new model for how physician specialists in different groups can come together and help shape the healthcare landscape in some very impactful ways," stated Jeremy Hogue, CEO of Sovereign Healthcare, who will also serve as CEO of ISS. "And while Sovereign is excited to be a co-founder of ISS, it is the leadership, engagement, and commitment from the physicians of both groups that gives the Institute its strength. Having Cedars-Sinai join ISS significantly supercharges our efforts."   

About Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic: The Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic is a world leader in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic and sports medicine injuries and illnesses. In addition to sports medicine, Kerlan-Jobe specializes in all aspects of orthopedic care, including the diagnosis and treatment of the spine, shoulder, elbow, knee, hand, foot and hip disorders, orthopedic trauma, arthritis, congenital disorders and work-related injuries. Kerlan-Jobe is also a world leading center for education and research in sports medicine and orthopedics. Kerlan-Jobe has six clinic locations, including Los Angeles, Anaheim and Pasadena, along with a diagnostic imaging center and a surgery center at the main Los Angeles location. For more information, visit kerlanjobe.com.

About Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group: For more than 25 years, Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group (SMOG) has been a national and international leader in the care of patients from young to old and athletes from recreational to elite. SMOG utilizes a multidisciplinary approach with fellowship-trained subspecialists in sports medicine, hand surgery, joint replacement, foot and ankle, general orthopedics, and physical medicine and rehabilitation, in addition to podiatrists, pediatric orthopedists and primary care sports medicine physicians. This collective SMOG team is focused on injury prevention and treatment, as well as rapid and safe return to vocational and recreational activities through state-of-the-art solutions. Research and education are an integral part of SMOG's mission, as the group annually trains three fellows and participates in significant research projects. SMOG and its affiliated surgery center - Surgery Center of the Pacific - are located in Santa Monica. For more information, visit smog-ortho.com.

About Cedars-Sinai Medical Center: Cedars-Sinai is one of the world's most respected healthcare institutions, known for high-quality, patient-centered care and innovative research. In the independent National Research Corporation consumer survey, Cedars-Sinai has consistently been voted by Los Angeles residents as their top choice for quality, best doctors and best nurses. Cedars-Sinai's orthopedic program was recently ranked as the best in the western United States by US News and World Report, and among the top 10 in the nation. Physicians from around the nation and the world refer patients to Cedars-Sinai orthopedic surgeons for a wide variety of conditions, including joint replacement, back surgery, trauma and bone tumors. In addition, Cedars-Sinai's orthopedic residency training programs consistently attracts the highest-achieving physicians. For more information, visit cedars-sinai.edu.

About Sovereign Healthcare: Sovereign partners with leading physician specialists, hospitals and health systems in the Southwest U.S. and provides management and other advisory services, specializing in the development and operations of ambulatory surgery centers and physician group practices, including alignment initiatives between its physician partners and ASC's and the leading hospitals and health systems in their respective markets. Sovereign's ability to provide senior-level executive management, strategic guidance and hands-on involvement has resulted in market-leading performance for its affiliated surgery centers and physicians groups. For more information on Sovereign, visit sovereignhealthcare.net.

U.S. Employers Adding Medical Travel Benefits at an Increased Rate in Response to Rising Healthcare Costs

U.S. employers are utilizing medical travel at an increased rate in order to meet the standards and increasing healthcare benefit costs of the Affordable Care Act. Effective January 1, 2014, Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. will be the latest U.S. employer to provide their employees healthcare benefits through SmartChoice, the medical travel healthcare benefit product from SmartCare Worldwide.

Many employer sponsored healthcare plans in the U.S. - especially an estimated 50 percent of small business plans - do not meet the standards set by the Affordable Care Act. In many cases, the Affordable Care Act means increasing benefit levels and benefit costs, where employers are facing higher premiums for plans that comply with the new mandated benefits. With the cancellation of five million or so individual insurance policies and the employer mandate being delayed until January 2015, employers are bracing for a second wave of terminations starting in October 2014.

More employers are responding to the challenges of current healthcare reform by turning to medical travel benefits like SmartChoice, which can reduce healthcare costs when incorporated with a well-designed benefit plan. Not limited by the same restrictions as traditional benefits, medical travel benefits can be added to existing plans without regulatory or accounting issues at any time during the year, without impacting an employer's cafeteria plan. SmartChoice is the fully-administered benefit offered by SmartCare Worldwide, meaning employers suffer no additional risk or pressure on their administrative or customer service departments after implementation.

SmartCare Worldwide attended a series of recent U.S. employer health fairs to educate employers and employees about SmartChoice. Dr. Joanne Huntington, an on-staff medical director for SmartCare Worldwide, collected data about the type of information employees are searching for and how medical travel is being perceived as a viable solution to increasing healthcare costs. Dr. Huntington commented on her findings in a recent interview:

"The response has been enthusiastic. Not surprisingly, we found that many employees are knowledgeable and have done their own research on medical travel. We can report that in most cases, employees are looking for information about the specifics of the day-to-day medical travel process, and information about the quality and convenience of healthcare in Costa Rica. The major area of interest in terms of medical travel procedures remains in major dental work, orthopedic, cosmetic and bariatric surgeries."

Dr. Huntington continued, "With SmartChoice, employees can access important medical and dental services while recovering in a tropical vacation destination. With our team's 30 years of experience designing and administrating employee benefit plans, our start-to-finish medical travel facilitation and an on-staff medical director as our first point of contact, employers who were once apprehensive about adding medical travel benefits to their healthcare plans can move forward with confidence in what we're providing."

About SmartCare Worldwide
SmartCare Worldwide is an innovative medical travel firm with corporate headquarters in Houston, Texas. As medical travel facilitators, SmartCare provides a wide range of flexible medical travel benefits and services for individuals and companies of all sizes, including global enterprises. Our experienced consultants work closely with clients to design and administer the most cost-effective, adaptable medical travel benefits solutions. We provide full implementation and administration of our medical travel benefit product for U.S. employers, SmartChoice, and are committed to providing exemplary, ongoing responsiveness that assures measurable, long-term value in each client relationship.

Corporate contact: Rick Huntington, Principal, SmartCare Worldwide, 855.762.8227
Media contact: Victoria Marasco, V2G Interactive, 512.306.1988

2013 WEDI Report Released Today - Will Serve as a New Roadmap for Health IT
Ten Key Recommendations That Will Shape the Next Generation of Healthcare Information Exchange

Reston, VA - December 5, 2013 - Today, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) Foundation, a leading authority on the use of health IT to improve healthcare information exchange, in partnership with industry leaders, released the 2013 WEDI Report. The culmination of a nine month public-private effort with more than 200 subject matter expert volunteers, the 2013 WEDI Report will serve as a new roadmap for Health IT over the next decade.

WEDI founder, Dr. Louis W. Sullivan, served as the Honorary Chair of the 2013 WEDI Report Executive Steering Committee and worked directly with healthcare business, association and government leaders to identify solutions that could be implemented quickly and driven by business.

Key Report Areas of Recommendations

The 2013 WEDI Report identifies four critical areas of focus:

  • Patient Engagement: consumer (patient) engagement through improved access to pertinent healthcare information.
  • Payment Models: Business, information, and data exchange requirements that will help enable payment models as they emerge.
  • Data Harmonization and Exchange: Alignment of administrative and clinical information capture, linkage, and exchange.
  • Innovative Encounter Models: Business and use cases for innovative encounter models that use existing and emergent technologies

The full report is available at: http://www.wedi.org/topics/2013-wedi-report

"Like the WEDI Report that I initiated in 1993 that became the roadmap for electronic business solutions for healthcare in the 1990s, the 2013 WEDI Report and recommendations will serve as the roadmap that will lead to greater efficiency and improved healthcare delivery in the years ahead", said Dr. Louis W. Sullivan. "I regarded the implementation of the 1993 WEDI Report roadmap as a civic duty for its time, and it is my hope that the healthcare industry will adopt that same spirit for the 2013 WEDI Report recommendations."

"The 2013 WEDI Report is the culmination of an entire year's work by industry leaders and we are grateful for the countless hours spent by those that dedicated their efforts to this endeavor," said Jim Daley, WEDI chairman. "We are excited to share this significant body of work with all healthcare stakeholders and look forward to the report's adoption and implementation."

"The 2013 Report will help to set a common direction for the healthcare industry as we continue to evolve to greater focus on patients managing their own healthcare information, the movement towards fee-for-value arrangements, and the rise of new payment models and technologies", said Dr. Devin Jopp, president and CEO of WEDI.

For more information on the 2013 WEDI Report, contact Leanne Cardwell at lcardwell@wedi.org, (202) 618-8789 or visit http://wedi.org/topics/2013-wedi-report.

About WEDI
The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange (WEDI) is the leading authority on the use of Health IT to improve healthcare information exchange in order to enhance the quality of care, improve efficiency, and reduce costs of our nation's healthcare system. WEDI was formed in 1991 by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and was designated in the 1996 HIPAA legislation as an advisor to HHS. WEDI's membership includes a broad coalition of organizations, including: hospitals, providers, health plans, vendors, government agencies, consumers, not-for-profit organizations, and standards bodies.

About The WEDI Foundation
The WEDI Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to scientific research and education in order to foster the improvement of healthcare. Through its activities, WEDI works to improve the exchange of administrative and clinical healthcare information. Through the success of its work, Americans can rely on more effective and efficient healthcare delivery and improved personal health. - See more at: http://www.wedi.org/about-us/wedi-foundation#sthash.XC4Fgkdp.dpuf

With sincere gratitude to the 2013 WEDI Report Founding Sponsors: Availity, Juniper Networks, McKesson, RTI International, URAC, Verizon and WEX, Inc.

Healthcare Staffing Agency Aureus Medical Announces Top Job Searches for November 2013

Aureus Medical Group has released its November results for the healthcare careers most searched online via its website. Aureus Medical is a leading medical staffing agency specializing in travel nursing jobs, travel physical therapy jobs, travel occupational therapy jobs and other allied health medical careers.

Aureus Medical Group (aureusmedical.com), a nationwide leader in healthcare staffing, including travel nursing jobs, travel physical therapy jobs, and other allied health medical careers, releases its list of the job titles most searched online through its website, aureusmedical.com, for the month of November 2013.

The top medical jobs searched include the fields of travel nursing, travel imaging, and travel physical therapy, and travel medical laboratory as well as direct hire opportunities within these fields.

  1. Ultrasound Technologist / Sonographer 
  2. Medical Technologist - MT / MLT / MLS 
  3. Medical Laboratory Technician - MT/MLT 
  4. RN / Registered Nurse - OR 
  5. PT / Physical Therapist

Search results are based on data provided by Indeed.com.

ABOUT AUREUS MEDICAL GROUP:
Aureus Medical Group is a national leader in healthcare staffing specializing in the successful placement of Nursing, Advanced Practice, Cardiopulmonary, Diagnostic Imaging, Medical Laboratory, Neurodiagnostics, Radiation Oncology, and Rehabilitation Therapy professionals, as well as Physicians, in hospitals and medical facilities nationwide. With more than 25 years of experience, Aureus Medical offers a full range of staffing options, including national contract (travel), local contract, and direct hire. Aureus Medical is the largest affiliate of Omaha-based C&A Industries, a leading provider of human capital management solutions for more than 40 years.

To view the original release click here.

Well-Being Travel to Launch the First-Ever Well-Being Travel Symposium

December 2013: Well-Being Travel, the leading industry marketing organization dedicated to educating travel professionals about the trend of health, wellness and medical travel, announces the inaugural Well-Being Travel Symposium today. The Well-Being Travel Symposium is a by-invitation-only two day conference that will bring together travel professionals with wellness experts, top hotel executives, spa directors and travel suppliers to discuss the growing trends in wellness travel and opportunities for travel sellers and consumers. Sponsored in collaboration with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitor's Bureau, MGM Grand Hotel and The Travel Institute, the symposium takes place February 18-19, 2014 at the MGM Grand. Early bird registration rates starting at $99 are available through December 31, 2013; to learn more and to register, visit www.wellnesstravelsymposium.com.

"We're very excited about the upcoming Well-Being Travel Symposium," says Anne Marie Moebes, Executive Vice President of Well-Being Travel. "With wellness tourism accounting for more than $438 billion* of travel business, it's an incredibly lucrative niche for both travel sellers and suppliers to take advantage of. Our by-invitation-only symposium will cater both to those who want to first gain a deeper understanding of the market and those who want to get involved."

Attendees will participate in thought-provoking sessions led by the brightest minds in the health and wellness industries. The agenda will provide an overview of what wellness travel is exactly and cover how to package it, what consumers are looking for in wellness vacations, wellness tourism research findings, a student panel, a trade show and more. Guest speakers include Dr. Stowe Shoemaker, Dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at UNLV, Anne Dimon of Travel to Wellness and others.

As part of the symposium, travel sellers will have the opportunity to become Well-Being Travel specialists by completing the first-ever health, wellness and medical travel specialist course, available exclusively through Well-Being Travel and The Travel Institute. The course includes interactive modules that explore selling health and wellness vacations, selling medical travel as well as a 'how to' session on successful marketing tactics for this niche. Participants will earn 10 continuing education credits from The Travel Institute upon completion of the course.

About Well-Being Travel
Well-Being Travel is a leading marketing organization which is open to the industry that focuses on educating the travel agent community on the growing trend of health, wellness and medical travel. Through its partnerships with leading suppliers as well as with Companion Global Healthcare, Well-Being Travel helps distinguish its member travel professionals as instant health and wellness aficionados while also serving as an expert consulting service that seamlessly manages medical travel needs around the world from one source. For more information, visit www.well-beingtravel.com.

*Source: SRI International, Global Spa & Wellness Summit Research

Media Contact:
Robyn Levy
Director of Corporate Communications
Tel: 516.730.2649
rlevy@well-beingtravel.com

 

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™

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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2013 WEDI Report Released Today - Will Serve as a New Roadmap for Health IT

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Well-Being Travel to Launch the First-Ever Well-Being Travel Symposium