Volume 2, Issue 4

Our hearts and prayers go out to the residents of France-our strong allies.

Dear Colleagues,

Editor's Note: While traveling in Africa earlier this month, I was plagued by a severe upper respiratory infection and in desperate need of foreign medical care. Not only did I receive high-quality, cost-effective care, but the entire visit - including wait time - was under an hour and a half. Read more about my very own medical travel experience in this issue!

In July 2015, Health Fidelity, a company that develops innovative technologies for the era of value-based care, entered into a partnership with Evolent Health, an organization that assists health systems and their physician partners transition seamlessly to value-based care.

Today, healthcare organizations manage risk in their Medicare and Affordable Care Act commercial plan initiatives using just 20 to 30 percent of available clinical data. With Health Fidelity's technology, they can leverage the entire medical record - 100 percent of available clinical data - to make decisions about managing and adjusting risk.

Health Fidelity is able to search for evidence of risk factors not only from the patient's primary care physician (PCP) or electronic health record (EHR), but also all information from a specialist to create a clearer, more specific picture of a patient's health history.

As long as Health Fidelity has access to a particular Medicare Advantage or commercial plan member, the company is able to receive information on ALL treating doctors, no matter the location.

Using Health Fidelity's solution, Evolent Health will be able to provide actionable risk adjustment data to provider-sponsored health plans, which will inevitably lead to better healthcare decision-making nationwide.

This week, Steve Whitehurst, CEO, Health Fidelity, discusses the ultimate goal of its recent partnership with Evolent, which is, of course, to improve results, drive efficiency and achieve transformation in today's value-based environment.

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.

"Rising health insurance premiums, lack of transparency and increased awareness of how varied medical costs and quality vary dramatically between hospitals and across regions, have pushed consumers right into the arms of international and domestic medical travel. The growing industry provides the perfect solution for patients to receive the high-quality, cost-effective care that they need AND rightfully deserve!" - Laura Carabello, Executive Editor& Publisher, Medical Travel Today & U.S. Domestic Medical Travel.

READERS: I invite you to send quotes relevant to domestic medical travel to editor@usdomesticmedicaltravel.com to be featured in upcoming issues of U.S. Domestic 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


SPOTLIGHT: Steve Whitehurst, CEO, Health Fidelity

210 S. B St.
San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 727-3300

About Steve Whitehurst, CEO
Steve has over 20 years of leadership experience in the healthcare technology space, with a strong background in leading companies through new market expansion and growth. He joined Health Fidelity after previously serving as the senior vice president and general manager of Stericycle, where he successfully scaled the company for an emerging market, improving top-line and profitability through organic and acquisition growth. Steve joined Stericycle via the acquisition of BerylHealth, where he built a strong commercial and operational scale to achieve a strategic exit after doubling valuation in just two years. Prior to Beryl, Steve served as executive vice president and executive managing director of H5 Inc., the leading technology-assisted information retrieval and data analytics service provider in the legal sector. At H5, Steve worked with the venture capital-backed board to accelerate the commercialization and position the company for rapid growth.

Steve also served as senior vice president and general manager at McKesson Corporation, a Fortune 20 company and leading healthcare technology innovator, where he led several key developments, new market expansion and revenue growth initiatives in the laboratory, life sciences and automation space. 

About Health Fidelity
San Mateo, California-based Health Fidelity delivers innovative solutions for the value-based healthcare era. Using groundbreaking NLP and analytics technology, Health Fidelity's risk adjustment solution is changing the way risk is identified, quantified and managed for organizations that participate in Medicare Advantage, Health Insurance Exchange and Medicare ACO programs. To learn more, please visit www.healthfidelity.com

Click here to read the full story

Out of Africa:  "Accidental Medical Traveler" on Safari
by Laura Carabello, executive editor & publisher, Medical Travel Today and U.S. Domestic Medical Travel

When a treasured friend invites you to his safari wedding at the Singita Saskwa Resort in Tanzania, Africa, is there any rational RSVP other than "I’m in!?"

The adventure began with an over-the-top experience spanning game and balloon rides on the Serengeti, fabulous meals and an African-style wedding replete with an interesting question to both bride and groom:  Do you wish to commit to a monogamous or polygamous relationship?

On the final day of the festivities, however, I had a scratchy throat and runny nose, but assumed it was just allergies. We headed for the airport to make our way to Cape Town, the final leg of our African trip - a journey involving flights through Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar, and Johannesburg.  My condition worsened to a full-blown upper respiratory infection, and by the time we landed in Cape Town, I was barely breathing.

It’s pretty scary being out of the U.S. and without easy access to medical care, but that’s the plight of the "accidental medical traveler."  Thankfully, a call to our physician friend in Johannesburg pointed us to the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital - a private hospital.*

"Go right from the airport to the Casualty Department and they will take good care of you," he suggested.  "It’s not too far from your hotel (The Table Bay Hotel).

I thought to myself, "If this is anything like an ER in the U.S., I am in for a nightmare."

To my surprise and delight, however, this proved to be one of the best healthcare experiences on record. After a quick check-in at 11 pm where we agreed to a $76.00 doctor fee and a modest hospital charge of $175.00 - the RAND is very devalued these days - I was whisked into a private room where a technician took my vital signs and medical history.  All in English.  All high-tech equipment.

Within minutes, they escorted me to the "ER" where I was one of three (yes, 3) patients.  More history taking and vitals, but within 15 minutes, the doctor appeared. A South African-trained physician, he quickly assessed my condition -- severe acute bronchitis -- and prescribed nebulizer therapy and meds. He even suggested some sightseeing opportunities.  Everyone spoke English.

The next day, I filled the prescriptions at the local pharmacy including the following:
Solphyllex cough syrup
(2) Two, 5-dose packages of Tavaloxx 750 mg (Levofloxin; Levaquin)
(3) Additional 5-dose packages - just in case I needed them for further travel.
Total Cost of Meds:  $96.00

The bottom-line expenses, coupled with rapid access to high quality care, resulted in a good outcome for me personally and high patient satisfaction.  The entire visit, including wait time, was 1.5 hours.

This is clearly a BARGAIN by U.S. standards and put me on the road to recovery.  Knowing where to go for care is the key, and it always helps to have a friend in the healthcare system - wherever you travel.

I also learned a good lesson:  always travel with medications that may be needed and get some good medical contacts in the destination where you are traveling.

*Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital 
181 Longmarket Street
Cape Town 8001
South Africa
+27 21-480-6111
+27 21-480-6111 
email: info@netcare.co.za
web: www.netcare.co.za/live/content.php?Item_ID=250

The Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital is based in Cape Town, South Africa, and is part of the Netcare Group of private hospitals. The Netcare Group is one of the largest private healthcare foundations in South Africa, and is trying to promote health tourism to the region, building on the already established regular tourism industry. The hospital is a large facility, possessing 247 beds and 14 theatres, and performs a wide and varied range of procedures.1,2 The hospital was the first in South Africa to perform a heart transplant and is a major destination for health tourists from all over the world.8

In 2001, this hospital was the first facility in the world to transplant an artificial Berlin heart into a patient, keeping him alive until a donor could be found.1 Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital is also a premier center for cardiac research, employing some of the foremost specialists in the world.1 It is a member of the International Heart and Lung Transplantation Society, which shares knowledge between some of the premier institutions in the world. The hospital also performs other types of transplant, having completed its 250th kidney transplant in 2005.8

The hospital does not appear to have its own website, instead taking up a section on the general Netcare site. Specific information is therefore a little lacking, but it does give a good general overview of the departments and facilities at the Hospital. There is not a lot of information for international patients, but South Africa is a very easy place to reach by regular flights and to find good quality hotels and guesthouses.9 In addition, some of the plastic surgeons based at the clinic have their own websites, which is full of useful links about plastic surgery as well as places to stay in and around Cape Town.2,4

Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital provides most of the procedures that would be expected in such a large facility serving a large city. These departments include; dentistry, dermatology, plastic surgery, general surgery, neurosurgery, orthopedics, pediatrics and a whole host of other procedures. As would be expected from the name, the hospital is a Centre of Excellence for cardiology and heart surgery, being amongst the foremost establishments in the world. From checkups to full open heart surgery and transplants, CBMH provides a full and complete range of cardiac procedures.1

The facility possesses some ultra-modern equipment, including a skin laser, Fresenius dialysis machine and state of the art operating theatres and technology, for performing transplants.1,2,5 The hospital also possesses a Ablatherm® HIFU ultrasound machine for the treatment of prostate cancer.5 

There are a number of reviews and news items about Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital. Chelsy Davy, girlfriend of Prince Harry of the British Royal Family, had an emergency appendectomy there.3  The hospital also saved the life of the world’s most premature baby, gently nursing it back to full health against all the odds.6 One reviewer, suffering from Multiple Sclerosis, was delighted with the care and attention spent by all the staff at this hospital.7

(1)    www.netcare.co.za
(2)    www.plasticsurgerysa.co.za
(3)    www.rexusa.com
(4)    www.plasticsurgeon.co.za/prac.htm
(5)    www.dialysis.co.za/cbmh.htm
(6)    www.dailymail.co.uk
(7)    www.hellopeter.com
(8)    www.transplant.netcare.co.za
(9)    www.lonelyplanet.com

SIIA Wrap-Up:  Standing-Room Only Crowd at Break-Out Session

It was not business as usual for the medical travel industry during the recent annual meeting of the Self Insurance Institute of America. 

At this well-attended event, and with four outstanding panelists, the presentations and discussions were lively and thought-provoking. Here's an overview:

Click here to read the full story

SIIA Conference: Is Direct Contracting Ready for Takeoff?
by Jeff Byers

Healthcaredive.com-Conferences, generally speaking, are not a lively experience during educational sessions. It is with that mentality audience applause during a panel discussion on employer direct contracting warrants consideration. At the Self-Insurance Institute of America's 35th Annual National Educational Conference and Expo, Cheryl Demars, CEO of employer-owned and -directed healthcare purchasing cooperative The Alliance, shared her thoughts on health insurance cost transparency and direct contracting.

Click here to read the full story

U.S. Outspends Other Nations on Healthcare, Has Worse Outcomes

Source: California Healthline / iHealthBeat, October 9, 2015 - Compared with 12 other developed nations, the U.S. spends the most on healthcare but has worse health outcomes, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report reports (Mozes, HealthDay/U.S. News & World Report, 10/8).

Click here to read the full story

IMTJ Academic Conference: ‘Medical tourism: Time for a check-up?'

25-26 May 2016
Madrid, Spain

Call for papers

Much research on ‘medical tourism,' ‘international medical travel,' ‘cross-border healthcare' and ‘transnational patient mobility' to date has focused on the hopes, motivations and experiences of mobile patients as well as on the desires, plans and expectations of the national destinations that attract and host them. By contrast, scant scholarly work has examined the concrete effects of this growing phenomenon on the diverse range of places, peoples, health and social systems, and industries in the areas where these patients habitually reside and, for medical travel destinations, in the particular local areas where these patients' (physical, symbolic and economic) presence can most be felt.

Click here to read the full story

Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA) Announces Keynote for 2016 Executive Forum

Sen. Tom Daschle headlines event with keynote session on "An Insider's View on President Obama's Public Policy and Its Implications for the Election of 2016"

The Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA), a leader in advocacy, education and networking for the self-funding industry, announces that its 2015 Executive Forum, February 9-11, 2016, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, will feature Sen. Tom Daschle as the opening keynote speaker of the event. Sen. Daschle will present "An Insider's View on President Obama's Public Policy and Its Implications for the Election of 2016" on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 8:30-10:00 a.m.

Click here to read the full story

Why Shopping for Healthcare Services May Not Be Worth It
Vox reporter says she would pass on using lower cost imaging center in future
by Ron Shinkman

Fiercehealthfinance.com- If consumers shop around for healthcare services to get the cheapest price, they may get a procedure at a lower cost but also lower quality.

To view the original article click here.

New Study Shows Wide Range of Prices for Healthcare Procedures
by Paula Wolfson

Wtop.com-There is new proof that healthcare prices are all over the map. Castlight Health, a healthcare technology company, analyzed medical claims data and found widespread price gaps for eight common procedures, ranging from CT scans to simple blood work.

To view the original article click here.

Hospital Payments for Outpatient Services Rise Faster Compared to ASCs
by Ron Shinkman

Fiercehealthfinance.com-The prices for procedures at hospital outpatient departments have increased in recent years at a much higher rate than ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs), according to a study published in Health Affairs.

To view the original article click here.

Hospital Purchase of Medical Groups Cause Outpatient Prices to Rise
by Ron Shinkman

Fiercehealthfinance.com-Hospitals have been aggressively purchasing medical groups in recent years, and when they do so, prices for patients have a tendency to rise, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital that was published in the most recent issue of JAMA Internal Medicine

To view the original article click here.

Employers, Insurers Reward Consumers Who Shop for Lower Healthcare Prices
by Katherine Moody

Fiercehealthpayer.com-As healthcare costs continue to rise, both insurers and employers are turning to initiatives that reward consumers for shopping for the best prices on healthcare procedures and services.

To view the original article click here.

10 Ways the U.S. Can Prevent Biological Threats, Infectious Diseases
Biodefense plan calls for vice president to head a coordination council to defend against attacks
by Ilene MacDonald

Fiercehealthcare.com-A new bipartisan report outlines the nation's vulnerabilities to growing biological threats and provides recommendations on how the United States can defend itself against biological weapons and infectious diseases.

To view the original article click here.

Leapfrog Group: Across-the-Board Safety Improvements Remain 'Elusive'
Nearly 1,500 hospitals earn A or B score, but more than 1,000 receive a C, D or F
by Julie Bird

Fiercehealthcare.com- Hospitals are improving in eight key measurements of safety but declining in six others, according to hospital safety scores released today by The Leapfrog Group.

To view the original article click here.



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

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

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.

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

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Spotlight Interview

Steve Whitehurst, CEO, Health Fidelity

News in Review

Out of Africa:  "Accidental Medical Traveler" on Safari

SIIA Wrap-Up: Standing-Room Only Crowd at Break-Out Session

SIIA Conference: Is Direct Contracting Ready for Takeoff?

U.S. Outspends Other Nations on Healthcare, Has Worse Outcomes

IMTJ Academic Conference: 'Medical tourism: Time for a check-up?'

Health Care Administrators Association (HCAA) Announces Keynote for 2016 Executive Forum

Why Shopping for Healthcare Services May Not Be Worth It

New Study Shows Wide Range of Prices for Healthcare Procedures

Hospital Payments for Outpatient Services Rise Faster Compared to ASCs

Hospital Purchase of Medical Groups Cause Outpatient Prices to Rise

Employers, Insurers Reward Consumers Who Shop for Lower Healthcare Prices

10 Ways the U.S. Can Prevent Biological Threats, Infectious Diseases

Leapfrog Group: Across-the-Board Safety Improvements Remain 'Elusive'