THIS WEEK IN U.S. DOMESTIC MEDICAL TRAVEL

Volume 2, Issue 5

Dear Colleagues,

A group of Harvard Business School (HBS) students are examining the domestic medical travel industry during their course work at HBS. They are undertaking research to determine appropriate ways for hospitals and providers to market directly to consumers, engage employers or stimulate health plan participation.

A first for U.S. Domestic Medical Travel, this spotlight interview reverses roles, with the students posing the questions and Laura Carabello, editor and publisher, U.S. Domestic Medical Travel, providing information and guidance. Let us know what you think!

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.

We wish all of our readers a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday season, with much joy and success in the coming year.

"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 and Publisher, Medical Travel Today and 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: A Team of Graduate Students, Harvard Business School (HBS)

The HBS asked Laura Carabello to provide a brief overview of how providers market a domestic medical travel offering.

Recently, I moderated a program at the Self Insurance Institute of America's (SIIA) annual event, and recruited four outstanding panelists: Cheryl DeMars, CEO, The Alliance - a large employer group based in Wisconsin; Trisha M. Frick-Hall, M.S., R.N., assistant director, Managed Care Contracting, Office of Managed Care, John Hopkins Healthcare LLC; David LaMarche, MBA, administrative director of Finance, Virginia Mason Medical Center; and Ruth Coleman, CEO, Health Design Plus - a third party administrator (TPA) that handles medical travel for a number of the nation's largest employers.

The discussion addressed direct-to-employer contracting, which seems to be one of the leading methodologies for attracting patients (U.S. domestic or international) to facilities. The facilities position themselves as Centers of Excellence (COE) and then market through employers, coalitions, purchasing organizations, TPA's, or others.

The students asked, are providers implementing successful direct-to-consumer marketing initiatives?

"To date, a handful have undertaken these campaigns with varying degrees of success. This is understandable, because a targeted direct-to-consumer campaign requires significant resources.

Providers must be willing to invest in large-scale advertising and marketing, including television, radio, print and online initiatives, to really articulate a value proposition to the patient.

Additionally, there is still a slightly negative mindset among consumers regarding medical travel. Some individuals may not want to travel for care without the company of their family members. This is a barrier that is not easily resolved. COEs need to stress that the level of care they are offering is often higher quality and more affordable than what is available close to home. This transcends not only the cost of a procedure, but also touches on lower readmissions, infections and/or problematic outcomes.

Educating patients on the value of medical travel is a primary focus, and articulating the benefits is key to attracting individual consumers."

The students asked, how can hospitals of all sizes position themselves as medical travel participants?

"Hospitals all over the U.S. want to position themselves to deliver this kind of care, but these facilities must present information to consumers in terms that are readily understood.

For example, do most consumers know what a bundled payment is? A lot of the terminology goes right over consumers' heads unless they are well-versed in healthcare.

I'm not even sure that I, as a consumer, with all that I am involved in, could go online and successfully compare the cost of a knee surgery at five different hospitals. The information is so convoluted and hard to digest."

They asked for my best recommendations for sharing information to consumers.

"First of all, I wouldn't market traveling for care as ‘medical tourism.' It is a misnomer for the industry.
Also, when discussing cost, facilities have to talk apples-to-apples - they cannot compare locations that offer the same procedure at different costs.

Access to care, safety and quality measures, and total cost is all information that needs to be communicated.

While advertising on TV may get a message across, the most important components are education and awareness. Facilities need to hit the consumers hard with the benefits of traveling for high-quality, cost-effective care."

The next question involved continuity of care, and whether it exists within the realm of medical travel.

"To my knowledge, a number of programs do not connect patients back to a follow-up provider when they return home from treatment - although there is pressure to make this connection.

What is unfortunate is this: A patient travels for a knee replacement and when he/she returns home it is advisable to get physical therapy. Well, now the patient discovers that PT isn't included in their bundled rate, and often times, rather than spending additional money, they will forgo the follow-up care.
It is amazing to think that this is what happens."

Finally, a student asked if there was any other information about the domestic medical travel industry that would be helpful for him to share with his peers.

"In the near future, research estimates that self-funded employers are going to make up as high as 80 percent of the market, and when they have to pay the bills and foot these costs, providers are going to come out of the woodworks with the right costs and services.

My money is on the employers!"

Executive Editor and Publisher, Laura Carabello, Talks U.S. Domestic Medical Travel

Executive editor and publisher Laura Carabello authored an article entitled: "U.S. Domestic Medical Travel: Making the Move toward Value-Based Care," which was recently featured in Accountable Care News (Volume 6, Number 11).

Read the intro below:

"In today's complex healthcare environment, self-insured employers and health plan advisors recognize that reining in healthcare costs is the key to long-term sustainability. "Medical Travel" or "Travel for Treatment" -- leaving one's home state or region to travel to a Center for Excellence (COE) for high quality, more affordable surgical procedures or episodes of treatment - has emerged as a key strategy for this type of value-based purchasing."

To read the full article, subscribe to the publication here: http://www.accountablecarenews.com/.

Employer Direct Contracting: Significant Benefits for Employers, Providers & Patients
by Laura Carabello

Original Source: The Healthcare Savings Quarterly- Healthcare reform is kicking into high gear, impacting Employers, Providers and Patients across the United States. Many large Employers face substantial monetary penalties for non-compliance with the new regulations, even as the cost of providing health benefits continues to rise. In response, business leaders are adopting new strategies to combat the impact on the bottom line and ensure quality outcomes.

To view the original article click here.

Medikey™ Partners with Teladoc and eDocAmerica to Offer Consumers Direct Access to Healthcare Providers by Video Chat or Telephone
Quality, convenient medical services and savings tools now available for individual purchase: https://www.yourmedikey.com

Medikey™, a health data aggregator that empowers consumers and employers to take greater control over healthcare costs, today launched a partnership with Teladoc (NYSE:TDOC) and eDocAmerica to offer underinsured and uninsured consumers unprecedented access to quality, affordable medical care online or by telephone. A benefit once available only through employers and health plans, consumers can now access directly from Medikey™ this type of convenient, non-emergency care from board-certified physicians, nurses, psychologists, pharmacists, dentists and fitness experts for $50 annually.

"Our bundled toolsets enable consumers to make smarter healthcare choices," says Joe Truscelli, founder and CEO, Medikey™, whose team helped to pioneer the current electronic data interchange rails in place, providing healthcare revenue cycle management tools for one-third of today's healthcare providers. "Combined with our unique retail and online digital channel partner agreements which connect to millions of Americans nationwide, Medikey fills the gap for the underinsured/uninsured consumer market. Today, we're opening the floodgates for consumers to take advantage of many healthcare services -- like Teladoc and eDocAmerica -- which have not yet reached their true potential market penetration."

The MediKey™ program enables consumers to email a physician and get a response within 24 hours at no charge. A $45 co-pay allows card holders to talk with a Teladoc physician via mobile devices, the internet, secure video and phone, and receive a personal response within an average of 10 minutes.

"Medikey™ is growing and evolving, with expanded offerings to include pricing and comparative shopping tools for any procedure -- from minor injuries to bypass surgery - as well as a medical tourism option to access care worldwide," says Truscelli. "Our programs steer people away from costly ER visits, provide answers and options for saving money, and help to relieve the burden of unpaid medical bills, bad credit and bankruptcy."

About Medikey™
Medikey™ is a healthcare data aggregator providing consumers, third party administrators (TPAs), self-insured employers and insurance companies an online search engine for exact healthcare pricing and purchasing. Medikey™ enables smarter healthcare choices and cost savings with HIPAA-compliant technology. Visit www.YourMedikey.com, www.facebook.com/medikey, www.twitter.com/MyMedikey.

About Teladoc
Teladoc, Inc. (NYSE: TDOC) is the nation's first and largest telehealth platform, delivering on-demand healthcare anytime, from almost anywhere via mobile devices, the internet, secure video and phone. More than 12.5 million U.S. members are connected to Teladoc's network of over 2,000 board-certified, state-licensed physicians and behavioral health professionals who provide care for a wide range of non-emergency conditions. With a median response time of less than 10 minutes, Teladoc physicians will perform more than 525,000 telehealth visits in 2015. Teladoc and its physicians consistently earn a 95 percent member satisfaction rating or better, and Teladoc is the only telehealth company to be certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for its physician credentialing process.

Recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of its "50 Smartest Companies 2015," Teladoc works with health plans, employers, organizations and individuals to provide access to affordable, high-quality healthcare on demand. Teladoc is transforming the access, cost and quality dynamics of healthcare delivery. For more information, visit www.teladoc.com, www.twitter.com/teladoc, www.facebook.com/teladoc or www.linkedin.com/teladoc.

Contacts
Media: CPR Communications Katelyn Petersen, 201.641.1911 x 18 Kpetersen@cpronline.com

Study Finds One in Three Family Physicians Are Already Pursuing Value-Based Payment
Lack of time identified as one of the top barriers to implementing value-based care delivery

One in three (33 percent) family physicians are already actively pursuing value-based payment opportunities today, with another 19 percent developing value-based payment capabilities, but waiting until results are better known before fully pursuing, according to a study conducted by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and sponsored by Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM).

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' goal of tying 50 percent of traditional, or fee-for-service, Medicare payments to value-based payment models by 2018 is fast approaching. Considering the urgency of this transformation, the AAFP conducted the 2015 Value-based Payment Study to gauge family physicians' perceptions of and progress toward making the shift from fee-for-service care to value-based care.

Key findings from the study were:

  • Family physicians have contracts with a substantial number of health plans. Sixty-one percent of family physicians receive payment from seven or more health plans, and of that 38 percent receive payment from 10 or more.
  • A substantial proportion of family physicians remain uninformed regarding value-based payments. One in four don't know or are not sure of their practice's status or current strategy toward value-based payments, and 32 percent don't know if value-based payment models are available in their market. Among those participating in value-based payments, 33 percent didn't know how the payments were being distributed within their practices (e.g., administration, physicians).
  • The necessary time commitment is a major concern among physicians. More than 90 percent of physicians surveyed indicated lack of staff time as a barrier to implementing value-based care delivery.
  • Health information technology investment and necessary resources to report, validate and support data affects practice sustainability. Eighty-seven percent of practices said they will have to make substantial investments in health information technology to be successful in a value-based payment model. In addition, 81 percent provided that lack of resources to support reporting, validation and use of data also impacts their practice's sustainability.

In addition, the study found that physicians are skeptical about the impact value-based payments will have on care outcomes. Of those surveyed, 69 percent of physicians believe value-based payments will not improve patient care and 59 percent believe they will increase work for physicians without a benefit to the patient.

"It is encouraging to see that many physicians are moving toward value-based payment, but what's clear from this study is that there is significant work to be done," said Wanda Filer, M.D., MBA, president of the AAFP. "Accelerating the adoption of value-based payment will require a commitment from physicians and health plans to share in the responsibility of delivering value-based payment."

Among other key findings from the study, physicians chose the following success factors as most important in implementing a value-based payment model:

  • Practice sustainability - 92 percent
  • Clinical outcomes - 91 percent
  • Physician and staff morale - 87 percent
  • Coordination of patient care - 86 percent
  • Cost savings for physician's practice - 84 percent

"The results of this study tell us that physicians are genuinely concerned about the time needed to transition to value-based payment and want to ensure that their efforts translate to care improvement," said Roy A. Beveridge, M.D., Humana's Chief Medical Officer. "The healthcare industry would benefit from improving its understanding of physician needs and how they can best alleviate burdens. Partnering with the AAFP through this study gives us an understanding of the unique needs of the family physician to accelerate their journey to value and realize improved care outcomes."

The 2015 Value-based Payment Study was sent to 5,000 active members of the AAFP; a total of 779 surveys were completed and 626 were evaluated after a screening process. For a more detailed review, click here.

Humana has approximately 1.6 million individual Medicare Advantage and 200,000 commercial members, cared for by approximately 44,000 primary care physicians in more than 900 value-based payment relationships across 43 states and Puerto Rico. Currently, approximately 59 percent of Humana individual Medicare Advantage members are in value-based payment relationships. Humana's goal is to have 75 percent of individual Medicare Advantage members in value-based payment models by 2017. For more information, visit humana.com/accountable-care.

About The American Academy of Family Physicians
Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 120,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that's 214 million visits annually -- 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America's underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine's cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about healthcare, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP's award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org.

About Humana
Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is a leading health and well-being company focused on making it easy for people to achieve their best health with clinical excellence through coordinated care. The company's strategy integrates care delivery, the member experience, and clinical and consumer insights to encourage engagement, behavior change, proactive clinical outreach and wellness for the millions of people we serve across the country.

More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company's website at www.humana.com, including copies of:

  • Annual reports to stockholders;
  • Securities and Exchange Commission filings;
  • Most recent investor conference presentations;
  • Quarterly earnings news releases;
  • Replays of most recent earnings release conference calls;
  • Calendar of events; and
  • Corporate Governance information.


Contacts
American Academy of Family Physicians
Megan Moriarty, 800-274-2237, ext. 5223
mmoriarty@aafp.org
or
Humana Corporate Communications
Alex Kepnes, 502-580-2990
akepnes@humana.com

To read the original release click here.

After One Year of Use Dallas Area Medical Group Finds Paperless Solution Dramatically Cuts Billing Costs
PatientPay Cuts Billing and Payment Expenses 59 Percent for Pediatric Associates of Dallas After 12 Months of Use

A survey conducted by PatientPay, the leader in healthcare payment solutions, found changes in healthcare have forced doctors across America to closely examine the business side of their practices. In particular, the expansion of high deductible health plans (HDHPs) have changed who doctors look to for their money.

Before HDHPs, doctors could reasonably expect more than 90 percent of their revenue from insurers to be paid within two weeks. Now that's shifted to 50 percent, which means half of their revenue is now coming from the patient.

Medical groups that have reduced account receivables and billing costs have turned to a paperless payment solution from PatientPay. One such group is Pediatric Associates of Dallas, with offices in the Dallas MetroPlex. "We normally pay $2,400 per month on statements. After using PatientPay for the first time our bill was $1,700. Wonderful news," said Maria Guerra, the practice's business office manager.

Over the past year, Pediatric Associates of Dallas' cost to produce a paper bill has been cut by 59 percent, or up to $4.00 per payment collected with PatientPay. Savings are actually greater because using the paper method meant three monthly statements would need to be issued before any payment was made, reports the MGMA, an organization of medical office professionals.

Now Pediatric Associates of Dallas provides bills online that are clear and with the PatientPay exclusive feature that matches charges with Explanation of Benefits (EOB).

"I founded PatientPay because doctors' bills need to be as easy and convenient to pay as cable or electricity bills, and be available online, which is the way most other bills are paid today," said Tom Furr, PatientPay's CEO. "Our healthcare payment solutions give medical groups a way to better control business expenses and give patients bills they can understand in a secure, compliant environment. Pediatric Associates of Dallas is just one of the many groups across the U.S. that are seeing the value in PatientPay, not only for them but for their patients too."

The process begins when Pediatric Associates of Dallas sends an email, instead of a paper statement, to a patient alerting them that there's a bill due. The online bill is accessed and, in most cases, paid immediately. PatientPay reports more than 7 out of 10 people using its service pay the bill after they see it. This results in practices getting paid on average in under 14 days, more than 10 times faster than with a traditional paper statement.

About PatientPay E-Billing
To view a video that explains the benefits of PatientPay's e-billing service click here: How PatientPay Works

About PatientPay
PatientPay creates patient payment solutions that help patients, practices and hospitals and revenue cycle management services better control expenses in today's healthcare environment.

Its solutions yield greater operational and financial efficiency for healthcare providers while giving patients a simple way to manage their healthcare-related financial obligations. The billing, payment and reporting services are HIPAA and PCI Level 1 compliant and eliminate time-intensive, error-prone, manual back-end efforts to process and reconcile paper bills or manage a traditional online portal.

PatientPay was founded in 2008 to bring to healthcare consumers the same type of payment solutions they use in retail and e-commerce environments. In 2012 PatientPay was granted three patents (U.S. Patent Nos. 8,155,983, 8,204,764 and 8,214,233) for its innovative process that underpins its solutions, which can be integrated with any healthcare management software.

The company is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. For more information, please visit patientpay.com call (888) 730-9374.

To view the original release click here.

The Leapfrog Group Designates Children's Hospital Los Angeles as a 2015 Top Hospital for Excellence in Safety, Quality and Efficiency
CHLA, one of only a dozen children's hospitals across the nation, named to prestigious Leapfrog Top Hospital 2015 list

The Leapfrog Group has named Children's Hospital Los Angeles as a Leapfrog Top Hospital for 2015. The designation is considered one of the hospital industry's elite benchmarks of patient safety and quality care, and Children's Hospital Los Angeles is the only pediatric medical center in Los Angeles County to receive the distinction.

"Children's Hospital Los Angeles is one of only 12 children's hospitals in the U.S. to meet The Leapfrog Group's rigorous standards for this year's rankings," says Paul S. Viviano, president and CEO of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "What this distinction affirms is the dedication of our doctors, nurses and team members to providing safe and effective medical care."

The annual Leapfrog Hospital Survey compares hospital performance around the country and provides a comprehensive picture of how patients fare at individual institutions. In order to receive a Top Hospital designation, a hospital must fully meet Leapfrog's stringent standards for:

  • Preventing medication errors, including through electronic physician documentation
  • ICU nurse and physician staffing levels
  • High-risk surgery and procedure volume, care and outcomes
  • Infection prevention
  • Quality and resource efficiency

"Top Hospitals have lower infection rates, better outcomes, decreased length of stay and fewer readmissions," says Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. "By achieving Top Hospital status, Children's Hospital Los Angeles has proven it prioritizes the safety of its patients, is committed to transparency and provides exemplary care for its families and patients. I congratulate the board, staff, and clinicians of CHLA whose efforts achieved these results."

In addition, Leapfrog's panel of experts determined that CHLA excelled in providing specially trained doctors for ICU patients, use of safe practices like hand-washing and ventilator disinfection, and in training both staff and leadership on safe patient practices.

"Quality of care and patient safety is ingrained into our organizational fabric - it is that passion that results in our Leapfrog Top Hospital recognition," says James E. Stein, M.D., associate chief of Surgery and chief medical quality officer at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "We are devoted to our patients and families, and we believe this work takes everyone prioritizing safe patient practices, from our CHLA medical team to the ancillary staff."

Children's Hospital Los Angeles was one of 98 total Top Hospitals recognized by The Leapfrog Group this year, only 12 of which were children's hospitals. This is the fifth time in six years CHLA has been named to the list, chosen from 1,633 hospitals that participated in 2015.

The Leapfrog Hospital Survey is the only nationally standardized and endorsed set of measures that captures hospital performance in patient safety, quality and resource utilization. For 15 years, the survey has provided benchmarks relevant to consumers and purchasers of care, while participating hospitals have achieved improvements that translate into millions of lives and dollars saved.

The Leapfrog Group is a national organization and a coalition of public and private purchasers of employee health coverage founded in 2000 to work for improvements in healthcare safety, quality and affordability. Initially organized by the Business Roundtable, it is now an independent advocacy group working with a broad range of partners, including hospitals and insurers. The annual survey, launched in 2001, is the only voluntary effort of its kind.

The annual class of Top Hospitals was announced at The Leapfrog Group's annual meeting in Washington, D.C. A complete list of 2015 Leapfrog Top Hospitals and the survey results for all participating hospitals are posted on www.leapfroggroup.org/TopHospitals. The site is open to patients and families, the public, and employers and other purchasers of healthcare.

About Children's Hospital Los Angeles 
Children's Hospital Los Angeles has been named the best children's hospital in California and among the top 10 in the nation for clinical excellence with its selection to the prestigious U.S. News & World Report Honor Roll. Children's Hospital is home to The Saban Research Institute, one of the largest and most productive pediatric research facilities in the United States. Children's Hospital is also one of America's premier teaching hospitals through its affiliation since 1932 with the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California.

For more information, visit CHLA.org. Follow us on TwitterFacebookYouTube and LinkedIn, or visit the CHLA blog.   

More Hospitals Closing in America?
by Adel Eldin, M.D.

A recent article showed eight hospitals filed for bankruptcy protection or actually closed since October, and it is happening all over the country as more than 50 hospitals already shut down mostly serving rural America.

For example, St. Mary's Hospital in Illinois plans to discontinue services and sell to another company, which may use it as an outpatient facility.

Bonnie Memorial Hospital in Texas lost critical vote to get property tax revenues and the Board started to shut down the facility with loss of hundreds of jobs. East Orange General Hospital in New Jersey has been financially troubled and filed for bankruptcy. Pioneer County Hospital in Newton, Mississippi, closed their ER doors on Dec.1 as the operations of hospital became no longer financially feasible.

Forest Park Medical Center in Dallas, Texas, shut down and even employees were told "Sorry, funds will not be deposited into your account today!" New York-based Summit Park Hospital and Nursing Care Center is expected to shut down on December 31 as they were losing $800.000 per month!  In North Carolina, Franklin Medical Center was closed due to declining patient volume.

The question now is, what do all of these hospitals have in common? The answer is simple: an unhealthy financial structure where the facilities are spending more than they earn as revenue, so the inevitable decision comes to close hospitals, let go of all of the employees and all other supporting businesses of various vendors.  Unfortunately, the pattern of hospital closure started across America in small towns about one year ago, and it looks like the pattern of more hospitals closing in 2016 will continue, mostly affecting small and medium-sized hospitals.

Hospitals already started to take measures to cut down overhead costs, which will unfortunately include replacing physicians with cheaper workers (nurse practitioners), replace nurses with minimum wage nurse aids, pharmacists with pharmacy technicians, cut health cost benefits to employees with more out-of-pocket cost being shifted to the employees and, sadly, massive layoffs . Some other hospital systems have gotten more creative and offered to issue refunds to unsatisfied patients, ranging from $100 to $2,000. They will download an app on their mobile phone and communicate their concern and input directly to the hospital system, which will issue the refund as a token of appreciation to the patients, according to CEO David Feinberg of the Geisinger Healthcare. .http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/geisingers-bold-move-dissatisfied-patients-offered-refunds.

Here are some practical solutions to help prevent further potential hospital closures.

  1. Adopt Concierge Medicine programs by teaming up with all small- and medium-sized medical practices to make a model of partnership to truly serve the community and help lessen the burden of healthcare cost that is unsustainable and crushing the middle class even further.
  2. Collaborate to bring transparent and discounted (hospital- based services) which will help the cash flow cycle and prevent the looming financial crash and closure of hospitals
  3. Adopt technology and social media to engage the community and inform them on what is the best way to save cost without compromising the quality of care.
  4. Recognize the reality of healthcare shifting trends from in-hospital to outpatient ambulatory care with rapid but efficient turnover of patients, and then restructure hospitals accordingly.
  5. Adopt alternative medicine strategies and wellness, which is cheap and non-invasive, to avoid illness which is costly and involves risky procedures.

It is crazy with our current healthcare crisis and shortage of doctors that further devastation is taking place with further losses affecting local economies that depend on hospitals for jobs, services and vendors all across America.

To view the original article click here.

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.

On the Keynote Session...
It's safe to say that politics hasn't been "business as usual" lately. From unlikely Republican frontrunner candidates, to fluctuating poll numbers in the Democratic race, to instability in the market, global immigration issues, our decaying infrastructure, and the continued and evolving discussion around Obama Care (including the proposed Cadillac tax)-the factors impacting the year ahead are more varied and more significant as each week passes. As the architect of the Obama healthcare reform initiatives, Daschle will offer expert perspective on the implications of a range of possible future scenarios, revealing insight into what individuals, businesses and the healthcare industry can expect in 2016 and beyond. In the keynote session, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle will draw upon his more than 30-year career in political service to deliver his predictions of the who, the what and the why that will shape the political landscape over the next year.

"We are incredibly pleased to have Sen. Daschle with us this year," said HCAA CEO Carol Berry, CSFS. "He's a truly compelling speaker with a great amount of experience and knowledge to share. I'm certain that his political perspective and healthcare policy insights will keep our members and attendees on the edge of their seats."

In addition to the opening keynote from Sen. Daschle, the two-and-a-half-day event will feature educational sessions on a variety of pressing self-funding topics. All HCAA members, as well as non-member TPAs, are invited to attend this conference. Registration and more information is now available on the HCAA website.

About HCAA
The Health Care Administrators Association is the nation's most prominent nonprofit trade association that supports the education, networking, resource and advocacy needs of third-party administrators (TPAs), insurance carriers, managing general underwriters, audit firms, medical managers, technology organizations, pharmacy benefit managers, brokers/agents, human resource managers and healthcare consultants. For nearly 35 years, HCAA has taken a leadership role in legislative advocacy, working to increase its influence with policymakers and other stakeholders in order to transform the self-funding industry and expand its role within healthcare.

For more information, visit www.hcaa.org, or connect with us at @HCAAinfo, HCAA LinkedIn or HCAA YouTube.

Press contact
Dave Anderson
Anderson Interactive on behalf of HCAA
678-401-2991
dave@andersoni.com

To view the original release click here.

Health Spending Jumps as PPACA Kicks In
by Jack Craver

Benefitspro.com-After five years of relatively slow growth, U.S. healthcare spending rose significantly in 2014, bolstered by millions of new insurance consumers who gained coverage through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

To read the original article click here.

CMS: Healthcare spending rises significantly in 2014
Up 5.3 percent, reaching $3 trillion for the first time
by Ron Shinkman

Fiercehealthfinance.com-Healthcare spending, which had been subdued to historic lows in recent years, appears to be rebounding in a big way, according to a new federal study.

To view the original article click here.


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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.

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

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Spotlight Interview

A Team of Graduate Students, Harvard Business School (HBS)

News in Review

Executive Editor and Publisher, Laura Carabello, Talks U.S. Domestic Medical Travel

Employer Direct Contracting: Significant Benefits for Employers, Providers & Patients

Medikey™ Partners with Teladoc and eDocAmerica to Offer Consumers Direct Access to Healthcare Providers by Video Chat or Telephone

Study Finds One in Three Family Physicians Are Already Pursuing Value-Based Payment

After One Year of Use Dallas Area Medical Group Finds Paperless Solution Dramatically Cuts Billing Costs

The Leapfrog Group Designates Children's Hospital Los Angeles as a 2015 Top Hospital for Excellence in Safety, Quality and Efficiency

More Hospitals Closing in America?

Health Spending Jumps as PPACA Kicks In

CMS: Healthcare spending rises significantly in 2014

NETWORKING JUST GOT EASIER