Volume 1, Issue 1

by Laura Carabello, Editor


Welcome to U.S. Domestic Medical Travel™, a U.S.-based newsletter focusing on the fast-growth phenomenon of medical travel: inter-state to Centers of Excellence (COEs) throughout the country, inbound to the U.S., and outbound to destinations worldwide.

The United States is now one of the top three destinations worldwide for medical travel, and receives as many as 800,000 international patients seeking help with the most difficult health conditions. As a result, and in the new era of health reforms, Americans are witnessing:

  • Rapid adoption of domestic medical tourism: travel to another state or region within US borders
  • Employer receptivity to introducing a medical travel benefit
  • Consumer willingness to travel to other parts of the United States to access quality care with improved outcomes
  • Increased demand for more cost-effective care that meets budget requirements

Articles and coverage of U.S. inbound medical travel will also focus on the opportunities to attract foreign patients to this country. This newsletter will complement Medical Travel Today www.medicaltraveltoday.com which serves the international market.

U.S. Domestic Medical Travel™ will follow the industry, and our opening interview with Ruth Coleman, CEO of Health Design Plus, showcases a professional who is largely regarded as a leading pioneer.

Our coverage also includes initiatives by some of the nation’s largest employers – such as Wal-Mart -- to introduce a Centers of Excellence program for its employees. With the implementation of healthcare exchanges, and amid mounting challenges for balancing quality and cost-savings, we anticipate this trend will continue to build in the years ahead.

You are also invited to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, which will further address medical travel.

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

Ruth Coleman, CEO, Health Design Plus

US Domestic Medical Travel (USDMT): Give our readers an update on your involvement with US domestic medical travel and where you think it is headed.

Ruth Coleman (RC): The growing interest among employers and payers is really amazing.

Short term - over the next year -- we are going to be bringing up some very interesting groups. We'll add a lot of lives, possibly as many as an additional 5 million individuals with access to these programs. WalMart has over a million members by itself!

I think the regional model that we rolled out with WalMart - patients traveling for care within a smaller geographic region -- is definitely the way to go. It is more complicated and takes more to implement. But when you start to aggregate it, which is what we are doing, it becomes more doable.

What I am finding is if there is a heck of a lot of over-capacity in the healthcare system in the U.S. Of course, this is not really a surprise to anybody.

Cardiac, for example, has lots of capacity due at least in part to the advances in medical treatment, reducing the number of necessary surgeries. There must be fewer surgeries, in general, because many medical centers are calling us with a query: "Would you do a cardiac surgery program with us?"

After a while, we found it truly unbelievable. So I started asking our centers, "What is going on?"

There seems like there is a lot of overcapacity and the volume of inquiries appears to confirm that. Some of it may be the result of preventive care, as well as stents, statins and other drugs which appear to have at least anecdotally a very positive effect on surgical avoidance.

USDMT: Tell us more about the success of the regional model.

RC: I think the regional model will prove successful largely because it is just easier to travel within a patient's geographic region.

It's feasible for people to drive a reasonable distance to access care, particularly for some things like joint replacement surgery. Let's not forget that there is some inherent risk to flying. It is just easier on everybody if they can drive because they are more likely to participate. So far, several of our clients have said that their employees are not used to traveling.

I think one of the interesting things is that this option is now made available companywide at organizations such as Lowes. It doesn't matter if it is the CEO or the young guy in the stock room who has a heart condition. Everyone has the same access, the same benefit.

And some of the folks had some interesting experiences. We had a patient whose wife was in tears in January because her husband had surgery (Cleveland Clinic), was being discharged and they needed to fly home -- but it was snowing in Cleveland and she didn't think that planes would fly in that weather. Of course, we wouldn't have any airports in Cleveland if planes didn't fly in the snow!

The bottom line is that there's a lot of education we have to do to support people through this process. The other thing is the employers and providers looks to us for help in how to do this - getting set ups and starting the program.

So there's more complexity to this and there's more value if you could do a regional program. Also, it's more likely that members will utilize the program and feel more comfortable doing that.

USDMT: Will there be more programs like this going forward?

RC: I think these types of programs are going to advance -- you're definitely going to see more, if we have anything to do with it.

And it's going to be more than just surgical. I foresee travel to Centers of Excellence for complex medical cases, particularly with conditions such as difficult to manage diabetes where it is a precursor for so many other serious conditions.

We will be able to help people that are weak or challenged by a condition. Our goal is to try and get them educated, save money down the road and save surgeries. We haven't introduced this aspect of the program yet, but it is something we are looking at and working with interested parties on the provider side.

USDMT: Do you get any push back from the individuals themselves that are going on these trips? For example, do your high profile clients provide the education to their constituents? Do they incent them?

RC: Yes, definitely. So far, for all of our clients -- and I assume this will be the case ongoing -- it is a 100 percent benefit with all travel paid for the patient and his/her friend or family member -- what we are now calling a caregiver. We were calling that individual a "companion," but we are now calling them caregivers because the message is that there is a lot of responsibility here.

We want these caregivers to be attentive to the patient and to understand the instructions the patient is getting post-op. Or, if we are preventing the surgery, we want them to understand why and help the patient understand why the center said that she or he does not need surgery, and support the patient by working with a home physician in following an appropriate care plan.

So the answer is "Yes" -- the employers are educating them along with the carriers, to some extent. The process varies on how they get people to us, but the carriers, in some cases, are providing education along with our team, of course.

We are now looking at other ways to encourage members to utilize the program, and are now conducting some surveys to determine what really rings true with patients of all types. It is definitely an education.

I think the other thing that is really helpful is not simply the involvement of our nurses, but also our member advocates. We found very early on that the nurses could be patient advocates, but we really needed a more down to earth approach that would help people get from Point A to Point B. They need to understand: "What I am supposed to do and when should I do it?" So we brought on what we call "member advocates" that are there to help the person walk through the whole program because it is complicated.

But we are also requiring that certain things are discussed in advance with our nurses who perform triage to determine appropriate referrals and make sure that they get necessary care before traveling based upon the medical centers protocols and requirements. Patients get a lot of education.

USDMT: Are most of your clients interested only in domestic medical travel? Is that the future of this industry?

RC: Right now it is just domestic, but I think there are things going on that will make it more attractive for people to go internationally. Right now, the folks we are working with really aren't looking at that, they are really looking at domestic.

Outside of the U.S., there is so much room for growth.

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

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

About Health Design Plus
Established in 1988, Health Design Plus, initially a care management company, expanded its suite of services to include network development and management, claims administration, and acquired Professional Nurse Associates, a recognized leader in maternity management. Health Design Plus primarily employs professionals in the greater Cleveland/Akron to serve clients with innovative care management, utilization management, disease management, and claims administration. Focusing on mid to large companies fitting the self-insured model, Health Design Plus offers a consultative approach to provide the right solutions for most challenging healthcare needs. With over 20 years of continued success, Health Design Plus continues to innovate new products, such as Good Health by Design®, a suite of wellness programs including LifeStart®, a maternity management program, Wellness Counts®, a biometric screening and coaching program, Carewise®, a care management program, and Healthy Living™, a disease management program, designed to fit all wellness readiness levels, promoting healthier lifestyle choices and behavior modification to reach personal health goals. Health Design Plus helps clients fuel their fiscal health in the marketplace while improving the health of their employees and members.

Health Design Plus has emerged as the national leader in creating and managing domestic Centers of Excellence travel surgery programs, beginning with working with Mercer in implementing its heart surgery program with Cleveland Clinic. They then worked with Mercer to build a program for PepsiCo in their relationship with Johns Hopkins Health System for heart and joint replacement surgeries. In 2012, HDP worked directly with WalMart to create and manage their regionally based Centers of Excellence travel surgery program for both heart and spine surgeries, which launched January 1, 2013. HDP continues to work with employers and groups of employers to enhance the offering through additional types of surgeries and Centers of Excellence.

For more information on Health Design Plus, please visit the company's website at www.hdplus.com.

Health Design Plus
The Center of Health Plan Innovation
1755 Georgetown Road
Hudson, OH 44236
Main: 330.656.1072

When it comes to healthcare systems, bigger doesn't necessarily translate into better quality. That's what we are learning from new research, and frankly, it should not be an eye-opener. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/10/seven-factors-driving-your-health-care-costs.html.

Consolidation and mergers have historically created monopolies in every industry, resulting in higher prices for products and services across-the-board. With hospitals now buying up practices, directly employing doctors and forming Accountable Care Organizations that negotiate at-risk contracts, local systems may not be the "best bet."  
That's why many employers are introducing a Center of Excellence program and incenting their workforces to travel so that they can access the optimal setting for specific surgeries and procedures.

The hospital system "down the block" may no longer be the best choice.  Maybe it's time to jump on a plane or take a train to the healthcare setting that delivers better quality at better cost.  

Another U.S. Domestic Medical Tourism Program: Boeing Offers Cardiac Care Specialty Program at Cleveland Clinic
by Laura Carabello

Boeing, the world's largest aerospace company and leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and defense, space and security systems, has announced that it now offers approximately 83,000 of its non-union employees and retirees, and their eligible dependents, the opportunity to travel to the Cleveland Clinic for its cardiac care specialty program. The program covers comprehensive treatment for certain cardiac conditions, such as heart-valve replacements, coronary bypass procedures and other non-emergency cardiac procedures.
"The program is available for our US-based non-union employees and non-Medicare-eligible retirees and their covered dependents enrolled in Boeing medical plans administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, United Healthcare, Aetna and Cigna," says Joe Tedino, Corporate HR Communications, Boeing. "While the program is initially open to non-union, we would eventually like all employees to have access to this specialized care."

The aim of this specialty care benefit is to ensure that employees and their dependents have access to high-quality cardiac care from a leading medical facility with a proven track record of specialized cardiac care. Known for its sophisticated care and exceptional outcomes for heart surgery, the Cleveland Clinic has served as a pioneer in domestic medical travel partnerships with large employers. Lowe's, the nation's second largest home-improvement retailer, offers its full-time employees and covered dependents heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic for no out-of-pocket costs. Recently, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced that the Cleveland Clinic will serve as one of four Centers of Excellence for its COE Program for insured workers who need heart surgery.

Boeing and the Cleveland Clinic have a decades-long relationship, with the two working jointly to find innovative ways to deliver high-value healthcare for Boeing's employees, retirees and families, including a program to manage healthcare for workers with chronic conditions. This program has significantly reduced hospital admissions, days of hospitalization and absenteeism, while also cutting direct costs of care by more than 20 percent, according to the Seattle Times.

Cost Advantages
The primary motivation for large employers to adopt a domestic medical travel option is to meet goals for keeping costs under control while moving toward paying for quality care - rather than simply paying per service. Such programs give employees a significant cost advantage on heart procedures, as well as free travel and lodging. Employers benefit from a fixed-price menu for complex, often unpredictably expensive surgeries.

Terry White, president, BridgeHealth Medical, Inc., provider of SurgeryPathSM, a proactive program designed to help self-insured companies manage and control their surgery costs, says, "Contracting with hospitals known for high quality has shown promising results in avoiding unnecessary surgeries, which is meaningful, given that large and small employers alike face the same burdensome costs of surgery. In addition to partnering with COEs, a growing number of employer organizations are beginning to focus on educating members about surgery implications and alternatives to achieve quality, cost-effective care."

In the Boeing program, patients who need certain cardiac procedures, such as valve replacements and bypass surgery, have access to care for little or no out-of-pocket expense, according to the Seattle Times. The fixed-price, bundled-payment arrangement gives the self-insured company additional predictability because all expenses for a given procedure are wrapped into one payment. Patients can choose other medical centers but would likely pay more, in keeping with the provisions of their individual insurance plan.

Traveling for Healthcare - What Should You Do? Part I

Stewart M. Hamilton MD, CMO, The Medical Travel Commission

The decision to travel to seek medical care is not insignificant and may well be life changing! There are many reasons to go, many to stay. This article is a brief synopsis of some of the thoughts and considerations that should occur before making that decision.

Why go? Cost is often the principal reason. Do not forget that the cost of the procedure may be but the tip of the iceberg. There are travel expenses, often for yourself and a companion. What about postoperative recuperation? Is it a requirement of the surgeon that you stay close at hand in the initial days or perhaps months post operatively? Where do you stay, how much will it cost? What happens when you get home? Who will take care of any postoperative complications? Do remember that physicians in your home area may not be willing to get involved in another physician's complications for reasons that include the malpractice risk and that they might not know exactly what has been done and how it has been done. Increased privacy is often a reason to go; as is the chance to take a vacation in a better climate. A shorter wait prior to a procedure may be another driving force. Each of these reasons have validity but should always be added up and judged carefully against the potential problems that care overseas might bring! 

Assuming that you have resolved any financial concerns, there are more potential issues to weigh. Let us try and address those that can significantly impact your care and which you really should try and resolve. Some would apply whether you choose to travel for care or remain at home. 

What is the reputation of the hospital or clinic that you are considering? This should be easier to evaluate in your own country but across international borders may be more difficult. Simply surfing the Internet may yield clues. Check newspapers close to the locale to which you are considering traveling, if they are available and can be translated / understood. A more reliable and objective means may be to look for accreditation by national or international bodies whose principal concerns are the quality and safety of care delivered in an institution.

Joint Commission International (JCI) based in the United States but accrediting hospitals and clinics in some 60 plus countries worldwide - is the probably the best known and has the most accredited entities but there are certainly others based in Britain, Canada, France to name but a few countries. Only a handful, however, visit and assess hospitals internationally. Accreditation, for example by JCI, demonstrates, at a minimum, an institutional commitment to quality and safety and a medical staff that has been carefully vetted, assessed and reassessed as far as qualifications, quality of care and current competence. This does not, however, necessarily mean that an individual physician has carried out a large number of the particular procedure that you are requiring or seeking; nor does quantity necessarily mean excellent and consistent outcomes.

As a prospective patient you need to be sure that your surgeon or proceduralist has the appropriate recent experience and that his or her outcomes are favorable in terms of survival, success, length of stay, complications and patient satisfaction. Any institution or surgeon should be more than happy to provide such outcomes compared not only to his own hospital or clinic colleagues, but also on a regional, national or international basis. I would avoid those institutions or physicians unwilling or unable to provide such data! 

Read Part II in the next issue of US Domestic Medical Travel Today

REUTERS: Traveling for healthcare, but not that far

Editor's Note: A recent Reuters' story entitled "Traveling for healthcare, but not that far" caught my eye. The story briefly chronicles one man's quest for an affordable hip replacement, and introduces North American Surgery, a company specializing exclusively in domestic-based medical travel facilitation. What I found interesting is the fact that the company is now contracted by hospitals to maximize empty operating rooms.

(Reuters) - For Jim Kucera, the pain was just getting worse. The salesman from New Hope, Minnesota, needed a hip replacement urgently, but the cost of treatment would also be painful: Lacking health insurance, he would have to pay out of pocket. Read more.

TRAVELMARKET REPORT: 2012 - Year of Milestones in Medical Travel

(TravelMarket Report) - 2012 was a landmark year for medical tourism, as news-making events drew attention to the sector's rapid growth as well as its emerging potential for travel sellers.

High points included the first-ever Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference; Walmart's introduction of medical travel coverage for employees, and the continuing development of internationally accredited medical facilities around the globe.

The approval by the Supreme Court of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, was a significant development, though its impact on medical tourism in the years ahead remains uncertain.

In the travel trade press, Travel Market Report took the lead in its coverage of medical tourism, featuring in-depth interviews with medical tourism experts about key trends as well as practical advice for travel sellers on how to tap this lucrative niche market.

Here's a look at important medical tourism developments in 2012. Read more.

Domestic Medical Tourism Fuels Nueterra's Network Growth

(bizjournals.com) As more employers become self-insured, they're looking for ways to save money on health care costs. And that's meant expansion for Leawood-based Nueterra's Global Alliance.

Nueterra's network builds partnerships and joint equity agreements between hospitals, physicians, insurance companies and others that allow patients to seek care from a global network of care providers. Since it was launched last year, it has added five providers to its portfolio.

By negotiating bundled payment options with providers, Global Alliance helps keep costs down for patients willing to travel for treatment. Read more.

AMERICAN MEDICAL NEWS: Wal-Mart gives major boost to domestic medial tourism movement
The retailer joins the ranks of companies sending employees to hospitals far from home in the name of less expensive and better care.

(amednews.com) - A small but growing number of U.S. corporations are offering their insured employees the option of undergoing certain procedures at highly ranked health systems across America at almost no out-of-pocket cost to them - travel included.

The companies believe sending heart and spine patients elsewhere would result in improved care for patients and lower costs for employers. Although companies are just getting started in pushing what is often called domestic medical tourism, analysts say it's something doctors should keep an eye on. Physicians may find patients bypassing them on the way to health systems elsewhere. Others may be handling pre- and post-care for procedures performed hundreds or thousands of miles away. Read more.

Johns Hopkins Medicine to Offer PepsiCo Employees New Travel Surgery Benefit
Program gives PepsiCo employees access to top surgeons specializing in cardiac and joint replacement operations

Johns Hopkins announced today that PepsiCo, the world's second-largest food and beverage business, will offer its employees the option to travel to Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore for cardiac and complex joint replacement surgeries.

The travel surgery benefit will be extended to PepsiCo's domestic employees and their dependents - almost 250,000 people - making the finest in medical care available regardless of geography.

PepsiCo, which sponsors its own self-funded medical plans, will waive deductibles and coinsurance for those who elect to have their surgery at Johns Hopkins. The company will also cover the travel and lodging expenses to Baltimore for the patient and a companion. The payment methodology for these procedures is a bundled rate, an all-inclusive rate for hospital and physician charges and certain preoperative testing. This innovative reimbursement model provides payment for all the patient care over the course of a clinical episode instead of paying for each service on a fee-for-service basis.

"We're excited about the opportunity to work with an innovative company like PepsiCo that is committed to ensuring cost-effective, higher-quality care as part of its employee health benefits," says Patricia M.C. Brown, president of Johns Hopkins HealthCare LLC, the managed care arm of Johns Hopkins Medicine. "We're offering their employees some of the best health care available, which should mean fewer complications and should result in employees being able to return to work sooner. At the same time, we're offering PepsiCo predictability regarding cost."

Brown adds that Hopkins is open to similar arrangements with other large companies.

"We are pleased to work with Johns Hopkins to offer PepsiCo employees and their families access to this outstanding health care institution," says Bruce Monte, senior director, PepsiCo Health & Welfare Benefits. "This is a great example of the distinctive programs we provide on top of our already strong healthcare benefits. These programs are designed to help our employees and their families live healthier lives and ensure a high level of workforce support, which, in turn, helps PepsiCo to be a successful company."

To be eligible for the new program, the patient must be approved for surgery in advance and be healthy enough to travel. Other types of surgery may be made part of the program in the future.

Read More

More From PepsiCo on their Medical Travel Benefit with Johns Hopkins Medicine

We shared news of an exciting new partnership between PepsiCo, Inc. and Johns Hopkins Medicine. Through the arrangement, PepsiCo's domestic employees and their dependents - nearly 250,000 individuals - will be eligible to travel to the Baltimore facility for cardiac and complex joint replacement surgeries.

In speaking about the decision to pursue domestic medical travel, Bruce Monte, Jr., Senior Director, Health & Welfare Plans at PepsiCo, stated, "We don't feel geography should be an impediment to receiving the finest in medical care. Cardiac surgery and joint replacements are significant, complex and costly enough to warrant travel to a world-class system like Johns Hopkins. These procedures also show a wide variation in quality of care depending on facility. We're excited that we can offer the best care in the world to our employees and their families across the country."

In an effort to promote the opportunity to employees, PepsiCo has developed a comprehensive communication program to both employees and Human Resource teams. Monte notes, "The benefit was announced during our annual enrollment period this fall as part of the 2012 benefits changes. Communication included HR training, employee meeting presentations and a print enrollment guide mailed to the homes of all employees. We are also featuring the travel surgery benefit in a promotional brochure that employees will receive in early January."

PepsiCo intends to position the benefit as one of the "exceptional extras" that PepsiCo provides employees.

Currently, the PepsiCo benefit provides care only at Johns Hopkins' Baltimore facility, but additional domestic and international care locations are a possibility for the future.

Monte states, "PepsiCo's arrangement with Johns Hopkins is our first foray in this area. As we evaluate the results of this initial program, we will look for opportunities to further develop it-either by adding surgical procedures, expanding to other, premier healthcare facilities, or including PepsiCo employees outside the U.S. Depending on how we expand the program, working with international healthcare facilities may be an option."

But for now, PepsiCo is very pleased with the choice of Johns Hopkins as a provider.

"The decision to go with Johns Hopkins was influenced by its perennial status as a premier facility for cardiac and orthopedic care, as well as the fact that Johns Hopkins is already a well-known name in PepsiCo communities across the country," says Monte. "PepsiCo has had a relationship with Johns Hopkins since 2003, when we opened our first on-site wellness clinic in Baltimore. Today, Johns Hopkins manages and staffs 36 of our on-site wellness clinics across the country."

Announcing The EdisonHealth Network LLC, a breakthrough approach to centers of excellence for complex surgeries

The Chelko Consulting Group, headquartered in Westlake, Ohio, and Emerick Consulting of Fayetteville, Arkansas, have formed a joint venture, The EdisonHealth Network LLC. EdisonHealth was created to provide medical destinations of excellence and related services to employer-sponsored health plans.

Through EdisonHealth, members of contracting health plans will gain access to heart, valve, spine and transplant care at some of the highest-performing clinics and health systems in the United States.  Other high-cost surgical and evaluative services are planned for the future. Its unique network model builds on the groundbreaking work of one of the founders, Tom Emerick, who has managed benefits for some of the largest companies in the world and is a long-time leader in company-sponsored centers of excellence.   

The EdisonHealth Network will contract with first-rate hospitals and clinics, and then extend the exclusive benefits of these contracts to participating employers and health plans along with a suite of care coordination, claims payment, performance reporting and related services. EdisonHealth will also collaborate with contracted health centers to share best practices and to foster continuous improvements in diagnosing and treating these complex surgical cases.

The new joint venture will help plan members travel to surgical destinations that are specially designed to properly diagnose and treat individuals facing the prospects of these complex, risky, and expensive surgeries. These medical destinations will meet EdisonHealth's proprietary quality and ethical practice guidelines as well as more common provider performance measures.

 "Documented variations in treatment, even among high-reputation teaching hospitals, are amazing. Variations in care and outcomes are even more dramatic in rural and regional settings," says co-founder Tom Emerick who was recently recognized by Forbes as one of 13 to Watch in 2013: The Unsung Heroes Changing Health Care Forever. "In most of the surgeries EdisonHealth will handle," continues Emerick, "we are dealing with matters of life and death.   Where people go to be diagnosed and treated can have a tremendous impact on their outcomes."

"Tom's work with large employers has truly been groundbreaking. I am excited to partner with Tom to extend the benefits of this work to other large employers," stated Rick Chelko the other co-founder of EdisonHealth. "It is the ultimate win-win-win of quality care, great outcomes and lower costs. We have already had a number of high profile health centers ask ‘how can we become qualified to be included in The EdisonHealth Network?' As more employers participate, it will help drive needed quality improvements in hospitals throughout the country." 

Health plan sponsors generally motivate plan members to take advantage of these physician and hospital arrangements through communications, the elimination of health plan deductibles and copays related to these services and targeted interventions. EdisonHealth's medical destination care coordinators will also provide educational assistance to plan members, facilitate patient and family travel arrangements and support smooth transitions of care.

To learn more about The EdisonHealth Network LLC contact Rick Chelko at 440-892-2600 x102 or visit edisonhealth.net.

Co-founder Tom Emerick is the President of Emerick Consulting, LLC. Prior to starting his consulting career, Tom was Vice President, Global Benefits Design for Walmart Stores, Inc. where he designed and managed benefits for over 1.3 million associates in the U.S. In 2009, Tom was named by Healthspottr as one of the top 100 innovators in health care in the U.S. for his work on medical ethics.  Tom along with Al Lewis is co-author of the soon-to-be-released book, Cracking Health Costs, published by Wiley.

Co-founder Rick Chelko is President and Founder of The Chelko Consulting Group. He is recognized as an industry expert in the areas of health care consumerism, benefits design and management, and health promotion. Rick also serves as the National Co-President of WEB (the Worldwide Employee Benefits Network). Rick's articles and perspectives have appeared in a number of national publications.

CompHealth: "Going Under the Knife"

Millions of Americans will have surgery this year. Whether it's the result of an emergency, an exploratory procedure or even elective, some surgical procedures are more common, depending on your age. To view a snapshot of total surgeries in the U.S., download the PDF here.

To learn more about CompHealth, please visit www.comphealth.com.

DotHealth, LLC Passes ICANN’s Initial Evaluation for the .HEALTH New Top Level Domain

Reaching a critical milestone in the generic Top-Level Domain (gTLD) approval process, the DotHealth, LLC ("DotHealth") application to operate the .HEALTH new top level domain registry has passed the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) initial evaluation. DotHealth plans to enable a safer online namespace for global health and which also enhances the discoverability of quality online health-related information.

"Passing ICANN’s initial evaluation is an important milestone for our Company and those who share our vision for a safer and more trustworthy online namespace for health," says Andy Weissberg, DotHealth’s Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer. "This accomplishment further reinforces the merits of the policies and safeguards we have planned for .HEALTH, which have been uniquely tailored and orchestrated to address the safety and security concerns of public health in the status quo."

DotHealth, LLC is the only applicant for the .HEALTH TLD which has earned the support of some of the world’s most trusted and respected public health and Life Sciences industry organizations including the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), the Inter-American College of Physicians and Surgeons, the World Federation of Chiropractic and others. The Company is backed by Straat Investments and Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR), the world’s leading provider of telecommunications and back-end TLD registry infrastructure services and a founding member of The Center for Safe Internet Pharmacies (CSIP), a non-profit organization chartered in 2011 to address the growing problem Internet sales of illegitimate pharmaceutical products.

Furthering its commitments to the safety and security of users of the .HEALTH TLD, DotHealth has also exclusively partnered with LegitScript, LLC, a leading provider of online surveillance and investigative services for the world’s leading search engines and e-commerce companies.

LegitScript will help DotHealth to monitor and enforce its Acceptable Use Policies which were developed in connection with LegitScript’s International Internet Pharmacy Standards and which expressly prohibit the use of .HEALTH domains for the illicit sales and marketing of harmful or dangerous substances. Additionally, DotHealth, LLC is the only applicant that re-affirmed to ICANN its public interest commitments toward the protection of the names and acronyms of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the .HEALTH TLD.

"The forthcoming expansion of the domain name system will inevitably change the landscape of online health, creating new opportunities to connect people, systems and information," adds Mr. Weissberg, a 19-year veteran of the digital health, publishing and information services industries. "Passing ICANN’s initial evaluation brings us one step closer to raising the bar for safety and trust in online health."

About DotHealth, LLC
DotHealth, LLC was founded to pursue the launch and commercialization of the .Health new generic top-level domain (gTLD) Registry in conjunction with Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and its official new gTLD Program. Our mission and vision is to establish .Health as the most trusted top-level domain for population health management, health education and healthcare innovation worldwide. For more information, visit www.DotHealthGTLD.com.

About Neustar, Inc.

Neustar, Inc. (NYSE: NSR) is a trusted, neutral provider of real-time information and analysis to the Internet, telecommunications, technology, financial services, retail, media and advertising sectors. Neustar applies its advanced, secure technologies in location, identification, and evaluation to help its customers promote and protect their businesses. More information is available at www.neustar.biz.

About STRAAT Investments, LLC
STRAAT Investments is an investment holding company run by entrepreneurs and internet geeks, providing capital and leadership in technology and real estate. Among our many investments, we’re the parent company of .CO Internet, the operator of the .CO domain and Nu Dotco, an applicant for 13 new TLDs. For more information about STRAAT, visit http://www.straat.co.

Media Inquiries:
Laura Carabello
CPR Strategic Marketing & Communications
201.641.1911 x12 or lcarabello@cpronline.com

Andy Weissberg
Chief Executive Officer
DotHealth, LLC
201.906.2967 or andyw@dothealthgtld.com

Top Travel Destinations for Medical Tourism
by Jordan Robertson

(mobile.bloomberg.com) - Summer's finally here, which means hordes of travelers are packing planes in search of fun and sun. But many others are instead grabbing their passports to get some medical care.

About 7 million people travel abroad each year seeking everything from dental work to weight-loss surgery to cancer treatment. That's fueling an industry worth as much as $40 billion, according to Patients Beyond Borders, a publisher of international medical travel guidebooks.

To attract foreign patients, many countries are touting their medical technology, low prices and safety standards. So what are the top destinations for medical tourism?

To continue reading click here.


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Printable Version

Copyright © 2013
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

www.USDomesticMedicalTravel.com, www.twitter.com/usmedicaltravel, www.facebook.com/USDomesticMedicalTravel


Ruth Coleman, CEO, Health Design Plus
From the Editor

Another U.S. Domestic Medical Tourism Program: Boeing Offers Cardiac Care Specialty Program at Cleveland Clinic

News in Review

Traveling for Healthcare - What Should You Do? Part I

REUTERS: Traveling for healthcare, but not that far

TRAVELMARKET REPORT: 2012 - Year of Milestones in Medical Travel

AMERICAN MEDICAL NEWS: Wal-Mart gives major boost to domestic medial tourism movement

Johns Hopkins Medicine to Offer PepsiCo Employees New Travel Surgery Benefit

More From PepsiCo on their Medical Travel Benefit with Johns Hopkins Medicine

Announcing The EdisonHealth Network LLC, a breakthrough approach to centers of excellence for complex surgeries

CompHealth: "Going Under the Knife"

DotHealth, LLC Passes ICANN’s Initial Evaluation for the .HEALTH New Top Level Domain

Top Travel Destinations for Medical Tourism