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CONTENTS

Medical Spas: Where Rejuvenation Meets Medication

DESTINATION USA: Krongrad Institute

MEDICAL SPOTLIGHT: CyberKnife® System

Should Swine Flu Stop Your Travel Plans?

BridgeHealth Medical Announces Its US Domestic Network for Medical Travel: Employers, Health Plans Access High Quality, Cost Effective Hospitals and Providers

Hot Spot Destinations
Australia
India
Singapore

Latest News in Medical Travel

Hot Spot Destinations

Australia

Australia is always a popular vacation destination due to its wild life and beautiful beaches

Australia is equipped with the latest medical technology

It is a popular choice for United States citizens because there is a comfort in going to an English-speaking country

India

India serves as the most popular destination in the Medical Tourism industry

Most common treatments are heart surgery, knee transplant, cosmetic surgery and dental care

India has built some of the best facilities and treatment centers in the world

Singapore
Tunisia

The international city of Singapore draws in approximately 200,000 international patients annually

They are a leading destination for cosmetic surgery

It is known for its cleanliness, safety, and peaceful atmosphere.

Headlines in Medical Tourism

More medical tourism groups from China to come to Taiwan
June 23, 2009
TAIWAN (Taiwan News) --
Several medical tour groups from China will come to Taiwan in the latter part of the year, the semi-official Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) said Monday.

Medical Tourism Business Takes Root in San Diego
June 17, 2009
SAN DIEGO, CA (KPBS) -- Today, the U.S. Government estimates that health care costs account for 16 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. The high cost of medical treatment may be the number one issue in health care reform. And it's already caused some patients to go elsewhere to save money on major operations.

Medical tourism keeps growing
June 15, 2009
PHOENIX, AZ (The Arizona Republic) -- Bob Light's prosthetic hip was eight years overdue for a replacement last summer. He couldn't work, was in constant pain and needed a cane to walk.

Op-Ed Contributors Overseas, Under the Knife
June 10, 2009
NEW YORK, NY (New York Times) -- One consequence of the high cost of medical care in the United States has been the rise of medical tourism. Every year, thousands of Americans undergo surgery in other countries because the allure of good care at half the price is too good to pass up.

Medical Tourism's Most Distant Outposts
May 21, 2009
(Forbes.com) -- In December 2008, Carlene Gregg Victor left Houston's George Bush International airport with a wheelchair and a flicker of hope. After a 10-hour plane ride and a five-hour snowy drive from Amsterdam to Cologne, Germany, she and her husband arrived at a hotel near the Xcell-Center for Regenerative Medicine, where they would mount a desperate offensive in their battle with her Parkinson's disease.

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Dear Medical Traveler,

Welcome to Your Medical Travel, your personal resource for tips and information on the newest opportunities in medical tourism.

Questions? Comments? Contact Alyson Kuritz at editor@yourmedicaltravel.com

The information in Medical Travel Today and Your Medical Travel is believed to be accurate, but in some instances, may represent opinion or judgment. The newsletter's providers do not guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any of the information and shall not be liable for any loss or damage caused - directly or indirectly - by or from the information. All information should be considered a supplement to - and not a substitute for - the care provided by a licensed healthcare provider or other appropriate expert. The appearance of advertising in this newsletter should in no way be interpreted as a product or service endorsement by the newsletter's providers.

Medical Spas: Where Rejuvenation Meets Medication

There was a time not too long ago when a wrinkle was an indication of time passing; now, it is seen as a stamp of old age. Millions are looking for ways to cover and fill lines on their face, minimize spider veins, and reduce age spots. Medical Spas have become the "go-to" place when it comes to feeling youthful, refreshed, and gorgeous.

John Goldhar, M.D., a dermatologist with over 31 years experience and medical director of CosMedix MD in Toronto, states that "the treatment of facial hyperpigmentation -- better known as aging or sun spots, is one of the many reasons why women, and increasingly men, seek out medical spas."
Read more.

What is a Medical Spa?

According to the International Spa Association (ISPA), a medical spa is "a facility that operates under the full-time, on-site supervision of a licensed health care professional whose primary purpose is to provide comprehensive medical and wellness care in an environment that integrates spa services with traditional, complimentary, and/or alternative therapies and treatments. The facility operates within the scope of practice of its staff, which can include both aesthetic/cosmetic and prevention/wellness procedures and services."

In a recent trend, medical spas have become the hot destination spot for tourists. Many trek from the United States and Europe to Asia for a bit of Old World healing and rejuvenation while India offers rich cultural history and holistic treatments such as the 3,000- year old ayurveda, yoga, siddha, and unanni. (www.asiasmedicaltourismcom/category_story_1434.html)

Bottom line: medical spas provide an experience for the client while offering treatments for reducing the signs of age weight loss, and backaches - to name a few -- in comfort and under the supervision of a licensed healthcare professional.

DESTINATION USA: Krongrad Institute

Based just outside Miami, the Krongrad Institute is the first and longest running program for Laparoscopic Prostate Surgery (LRP) in North or South America. The Institute's founder, Arnon Krongrad, M.D., introduced Minimally Invasive Laparoscopic Prostate Surgery to the world in 1999. His surgical technique is credited with changing nearly 100 years of medical practice with improved patient safety, ease in recovery, shorter hospital stay, and better medical economics.

As the world's only private program exclusively devoted to LRP, the Institute takes care of inbound patients from around the globe. Minor procedures are performed in the office while more involved procedures take place in the operating room of one of the major hospitals nearby. All procedures are performed by Dr. Krongrad. The Institute also employs a clinical sexologist and therapist to provide services as needed.

In addition to the Institute's reputation for state-of-the-art care, it also provides amenities that increase patient-appeal. These include no-wait appointments, airport pick-up for luxury packages, and corporate rates at affiliated accommodations, including the Fairmont Turnberry Resort and Hollywood Diplomat Resort.

According to Dr. Krongrad, "(The Institute) draws foreign and domestic patients by word of mouth and payer relationships. Since we introduced laparoscopic radical prostatectomy the 'brand' is very well known." He adds, "We're also very willing to work with foreign and domestic insurers and third party administrators."
Earlier this year,Dr. Krongrad launched a new initiative designed to help patients of all paying means receive care. Through Mobile Surgery International (MSI) Krongrad travels with patients to a pre-selected facility outside the United States where they can receive care at a greatly reduced cost. MSI coordinates all necessary arrangements at a cost agreeable to the patient and/or the payer. 

MSI currently travels to Trinidad and anticipates expanding to a Latin country soon and possibly as far as the Ukraine and Israel.

Speaking to the Krongrad Institute's patient base, Dr. Krongrad states, "There is a trend to broader and broader geographical distribution for inbound travelers. But with the launch of Mobile Surgery International we may be seeing the start of a trend to our foreign destinations too."

For more on the Krongrad Institute visit www.laprp.com
For more on Mobile Surgery International visit www.emeseye.com

MEDICAL SPOTLIGHT: CyberKnife® System

The CyberKnife System is the world's first and only robotic radiosurgery system designed to treat tumors, both cancerous and non-cancerous, throughout the body non-invasively. Through its nonsurgical technology, the System targets, reduces, or eliminates certain lesions and tumors that were once considered inoperable. The System has also been proven very effective at treating arterial-venous malformations, typically in the brain.
The CyberKnife System offers a number of significant advantages over traditional surgery including:

Pain- and incision-free procedures. Because the procedure is a nonsurgical approach, there is no need to create an incision or administer anesthesia. The absence of an incision means recovery time is shorter and the risk of post-operative infection at the incision site is zero.

No overnight stay. CyberKnife treatments are typically performed as outpatient procedures keeping costs and recovery time down.

No patient stabilization. The CyberKnife system uses the body's bony structures or implanted markers to target tumors or lesions so that patients do not need to be stabilized with a head or body frame.

Greater accuracy. CyberKnife's robot uses a crossfire technique to deliver as many as 1,400 highly targeted and concentrated beams of radiation from all angles at a tumor. The device's pinpoint accuracy largely avoids normal tissue -- meaning unintended harm to nearby healthy tissues or organs is largely avoided.

According to Accuray, the leading developer and distributor of the CyberKnife System, more than 60,000 patients worldwide have been treated to date using CyberKnife radiosurgery.

The company currently has 164 Systems installed worldwide including 107 in the Americas, 15 in Europe, 21 in Asia Pacific, and two in Japan.

While the System can be used to treat tumors anywhere in the body, including the brain, spine, liver, pancreas, and kidney, Accuray notes that lung and prostate indications have seen significant growth over the past year.

Lung tumors are currently the leading extracranial indication in calendar year 2008. In fact, the number of lung cancer patients treated with CyberKnife radiosurgery in the United States grew 52 percent from calendar year 2007 to 2008 and 43 percent worldwide. Currently more than 90 percent of CyberKnife centers around the world are treating lung cancer with more than 6,300 lung patients having been treated to date using CyberKnife radiosurgery.

The number of prostate cancer patients treated grew approximately 95 percent worldwide during Accuray's 2008 fiscal year with more than half the patients ever treated for prostate cancer treated during that fiscal year. To date, more than 3,000 prostate patients have been treated to date using CyberKnife radiosurgery.


Source: Accuray

According to Terry White, managing director, Signum US Healthcare, his organization is currently looking to install several Sytems in China, the first of which will operate in Guangzhou. 

When asked if China has the potential to become an epicenter for the technology, White responds, "I wouldn't say that...There are only two operational sites in the country and their population is about 20 percent of the whole planet. In a country with an emerging economy of the magnitude of China, there is growing demand for high quality healthcare technology.  Many people are able to afford the treatment, when the need is present."
He adds, "Often, the financial and regulatory environment plays a role in whether this type of technology is deployed.  For example, to date, there are no centers in Latin America and few in Europe and only one in India.  The potential caseload is certainly there."

Should Swine Flu Stop Your Travel Plans?

Approximately two months have passed since the initial outbreak of the Swine Flu (H1N1), but it is important to remember that this virus is still spreading.

Fortunately, most cases have been mild - in fact no more dangerous than the common seasonal flu.

But it's still no picnic, so whether traveling for pleasure, business, or medical tourism don't let H1N1 hinder your travel plans. Margaret Chan, M.D., chief of the World Health Organization (WHO), recently announced that WHO continues to recommend "no restrictions on travel and no border closures.

It is nevertheless important to stay conscious of H1N1 and its spread by taking preventative measures against it. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends these simple preventative measures for staying healthy while traveling.

  • Wash Your Hands Regularly - It is essential to wash your hands with soap and warm water many times a day. This is especially important after using the bathroom, sneezing or coughing, or coming in contact with someone who appears sick.
  • Boost Immune System - Make sure you are getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, and eating well.
  • Avoid Public Surfaces - Be conscious of the public surfaces you come in contact with. For example, railings, doorknobs, etc. It is important to avoid touching your face until you have washed or sanitized your hands.

Medical tourism provides an excellent opportunity for many. As long as you take preventative measures to enhance your health, there is no need to fear H1N1 or other such flus.

BridgeHealth Medical Announces Its US Domestic Network for Medical Travel: Employers, Health Plans Access High Quality, Cost Effective Hospitals and Providers

DENVER, Co. - June 1, 2009 - Responding to the growing demand among employers, health plans, and other stakeholders for a comprehensive, network of US-based healthcare centers of excellence for medical travel, BridgeHealth Medical (BridgeHealth; www.BridgeHealthMedical.com) today unveiled its initial US system of providers comprised of over twenty superior hospitals and hundreds of health professionals in over a dozen states across the United States (www.BridgeHealthNational.com). With a focus on serving businesses and individuals for the delivery of exceptional US medical care, BridgeHealth unveiled its World-Class Provider Network™ to expand upon its existing international footprint (www.BridgeHealthInternational.com), offering an extensive range of high demand medical procedures, a wide choice of top hospitals, and options for accessing expert providers at significant savings.

"BridgeHealth selects only top rated hospitals for its domestic network," says Victor Lazzaro, Jr., CEO of BridgeHealth, explaining that at minimum, each hospital must be in the top decile in terms of overall quality as rated by The Delta Group (www.TheDeltaGroup.com) as well as score highly with other ratings agencies. "By partnering with high quality providers and tracking their outcomes, we can best optimize the utilization of a medical travel program. This focus relies upon the use of both external and internal quality criteria in selecting provider partners for our network."

BridgeHealth has established stringent evaluation criteria including the review of major areas such as hospital accreditation, patient flow, nurse-to-patient ratios, Quality Improvement programs, staffing and other performance-related activities. It also encompasses benchmarks for travel coordination, including transfers, hotels and other concierge services.

The BridgeHealth World-Class Provider Network™ represents the widest range of choices now available for domestic medical travel, offering patients a vast array of surgical options including:

  • Orthopedic
  • Bariatric
  • Cardiology
  • Cyber Knife (Radiation Therapies)
  • General Surgery
  • Neurological

"BridgeHealth is an established industry leader in medical travel, and now brings to market a nationwide network that delivers high quality care and treatments to Americans traveling within the country as well as for international patients seeking care in the US," says Lazzaro. "We have built a quality domestic network that offers greater transparency and greater consumer choice while providing significant savings for healthcare stakeholders. This network mirrors our rigorous international standards, with Joint Commission accredited hospitals here in the United States and JCI-accredited institutions throughout the world."

Patients will benefit from experienced care support through world-class concierge services assisting throughout the HIPAA-compliant process, from the gathering of an individual's medical history to scheduling procedures, arranging travel and lodging, and coordinating post-surgical, follow-up care. Employers can share in significant healthcare savings and often-increased provider quality over what they may currently have.

In qualifying hospitals and facilities for participation, BridgeHealth utilizes criteria that include:

  • Reputation for quality
  • Indicated experience in selected procedures
  • Accreditation status
  • Ability to provide clinical data
  • Agreement to participate in our quality assurance and reporting program
  • Customer service orientation
  • Excellent nurse-to-patient ratio
  • Choice of geographic location
  • Familiarity with the needs of patients
  • Impeccable standards in clinical delivery and patients' rooms
  • World-class medical infrastructure and equipment

"These centers of excellence give employers, health plans, and consumers another option for accessing quality care." continues Lazzaro. "BridgeHealth's domestic network delivers the same cost savings stakeholders have come to value in international medical travel, with the added benefit of being able to remain within the United States."

About BridgeHealth Medical
BridgeHealth Medical (BridgeHealth) is the premier service provider in the burgeoning medical travel industry, founded with a vision "to create a trusted bridge to the world of medical care." BridgeHealth offers both US domestic and international networks and serves health plans, insurance carriers, employers, third party administrators, individuals accessing benefits via voluntary benefits plans, health and affinity card programs or Consumer Directed Health Care Plans (CDHP), and individual consumers seeking medical travel options. Visit www.BridgeHealthMedical.com

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Copyright © 2009 Your Medical Travel is published by CPR Communications.
Information in this newsletter should not be considered as medical advice.