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CONTENTS

Medical Tourism: Overcoming Fears and Anxieties

Medical Tourism: Why Travel Abroad for Dentistry Procedures?

Medical Travel as a Money-Saving Healthcare Option

MEDICAL SPOTLIGHT: CyberKnife® System PART TWO: Lung Cancer and Tumors

Hot Spot Destinations
Bolivia
Holland
Macedonia

Latest News in Medical Travel

Hot Spot Destinations

Bolivia

Bolivia is the hidden jewel of South America

Medical Tourism in Bolivia is focused on cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures where they offer the world high-quality care at a fraction of the cost in the United States.

There are countless activities to do while traveling in Bolivia. Explore the Amazon Rain Forest, visit the ancient Incan civilizations, or simply experience great shopping in one of their modern cities like their capitol La Paz!

Holland

For British people seeking treatment abroad, Holland is a popular destination because of loss cost, quality of care, and the simplicity of travel with Eurostar. 

Approximately 90 percent of Holland natives speak English, which makes it an easy transition for people coming from English-speaking countries. 

Holland is a world leader in cosmetic and plastic surgery.

Macedonia
Tunisia

Macedonia is an exotic country with beautiful architecture, perfect climate, and about 50 natural and man-made lakes. 

Cosmetic dentistry is Macedonia's primary focus in the field of medical tourism.  They offer treatments such as restorative and prosthetic dentistry, as well as dental implant treatments and dental crowns.

Many of the Macedonian providers assist with travel and accommodation arrangements at a low price when traveling into the city of Skopje.

Headlines in Medical Tourism

Medical hub strategies drawn up
August 5, 2009
MANILA, PHILIPPINES (BuisnessWorld Online) -- Good news for this sunrise industry! The government targets two million foreign patients and annual medical receipts of $2.3 billion from abroad by 2010.        

American Hospitality ~ Inbound Medical Tourism at International Standards
August 4, 2009
(Medical Tourism Magazine) -- What do Bumrungrad, Cleveland Clinic, and Galicia Heart have in common? Accreditation, high quality standards, and medical tourism are in the spotlight.

Mexico Steps Up Efforts To Attract Medical Tourists
August 4, 2009
(Kaiser Health News) -- Efforts to standardize quality measures for medical tourism are underway as Mexico tries to attract medical tourists. Such efforts come after the swine flu outbreak significantly hurt Mexico's tourism industry, which ranks third as the country's source of foreign income.

Medical tourism spotlighted in CDC's new travel health guide
August 3, 2009
(Examiner.com) -- The Center for Disease Control's (CDC) 2010 travel health guide has a much-expanded section on medical tourism - the practice of going abroad for your medical care. U.S. citizens going overseas for medical or dental procedures often cite lower costs as their primary motivator.

Still packing their bags
July 27, 2009
(Modern Healthcare) -- When stories of outbound medical travel - also known as medical tourism - began making news roughly a decade ago, most of the coverage focused on wealthy patients who sought cosmetic procedures and experimental treatments outside of the United States.

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Volume 2, Issue 5

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 Tourism: Overcoming Fears and Anxieties

The idea of medical tourism raises many concerns for prospective patients, including  unfamiliarity with the culture of another country, language barriers, dealing with new doctors and healthcare facilities, , and the prospect of a  long flight and stay away from home.

Fortunately, all of these concerns can be put to rest with proper research and preparation.  The more you learn beforehand, the easier and more comfortable the experience will be.

Possibly the biggest issue for clients is the potential of a language barrier. The good news is that many international healthcare providers speak fluent English as  their second language. If not, a translator will be available at all times.

As for the facilities themselves, many wonder:

  • Are they up-to-date with modern technology?
  • Do they maintain the same level of sanitation as hospitals in the United States?
  • Are they safe?
  •  What will my doctor be like?
  • Is he or she qualified to the standards of those in the United States?

These are good questions, and you will be given the chance to speak directly with facility representatives over the phone prior to making any commitment. They can answer all your questions and put lingering anxieties to rest by providing you with the hospital's profile, accreditations and affiliations, surgeon qualifications, and first-hand accounts from other U.S. patients who have undergone the same procedure that you have elected.

Overcoming Fear of Travel

Still have fears about the travel itself?  Specialized services are available for potential medical tourists who are new to travel or afraid of flying. For example Therapeutic Taxis, providers of therapy for those who suffer from travel anxiety or travel phobias,  begin your travel anxiety therapy within eight to ten weeks of travel.  On the day of travel, a chauffeur drives you to the airport. They provide a checklist to make sure everything is in order before takeoff and give you personalized relaxation CDs for you to listen to  on the way to the airport and  while in flight, a technique that strengths en the therapeutic hypnosis techniques to enhance travel comfort.

If you are in the Washington, D.C. area, you can take advantage of The Center for Travel Anxiety, providers of both group and individual classes to reduce fears associated with travel. Medical travel can be a wonderful experience if you take the steps to eliminate fears and concerns prior to departure. The more you know about the procedure, your destination, healthcare facility, doctor of choice - and about yourself - the better you'll feel.  

Medical Tourism: Why Travel Abroad for Dentistry Procedures?

Everyday, dental care including annual checkups, filing a cavity, or taking x-rays are basic to what primary dentists provide. You would never consider traveling abroad for such simple procedures. 

But what about  more complicated dental procedures like cosmetic surgery, bone grafts, teeth whitening, bridges, dental implants, or porcelain veneers? Because these can be very expensive procedures that are not covered by insurance, they lend themselves perfectly as a medical tourism opportunity.       

The number of Americans traveling abroad for medical reasons this year has reached almost 750,000 -- many of them as dental patients. This is an astonishing number that is expected to increase to six million by 2010. For more information regarding these figures please see the article "Explosive Growth in Medical Tourism and Rise of Retail Clinics Provide Huge Cost Savings"

Savings on Dental Care

Dentistry abroad can save patients up to 70 percent on the cost of the  same procedure in the United States. Many patients view having a medical procedure performed abroad as a chance to get away for a relaxing, exotic vacation. With the growth and construction of dental clinics across the world, patients can choose from a wide variety of destinations. For dental work, the most popular destinations include  India, Mexico, Thailand, Greece, and Turkey.

Shantanu Jaradi, D.D.S, director of One Dental Care Center in India, believes that dental tourists are headed for Asian countries, specifically India, because of the high level of quality combined with low cost.

Dr. Jaradi states, "Dental patients from the region generally look to dental tourism in India for preventive healthcare and cosmetic medical and dental procedures. They have a great deal of confidence in India's reputation for world class medical services, and Indian dental tourism aims to give the perfect oral health status through an exceptionally professional and systematic approach." Read more

One reason for the growth of dental tourism is the lack of dental insurance in the United States and Europe. With only approximately 50 percent of the population having insurance, an increasing number of people are opting for dental tourism.

For additional information on dental travel visit www.treatmentabroad.com and search dentistry.

Medical Travel as a Money-Saving Healthcare Option

by Lynn B. Johnson

Want to save 40 to 80 percent of the cost of a domestic Total Knee Replacement, heart procedure, plastic surgery, or any other typically high-cost medical procedure? You might look into medical travel, which can save you up to 80 percent of the typical costs for an equivalent procedure in the United States.

"If the procedure you're considering costs more than $6,000 in the United States, it might be worthwhile and money-saving for you to evaluate a medical travel option," says Patrick Marsek, managing director of MedRetreat and co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Medical Tourism.

Medical travel companies, such as Bridge Health International, Satori World Medical and MedRetreat, provide low-hassle options for people considering traveling abroad for health procedures.

The arguments for medical travel are compelling, and can include: low to no-cost procedures, hospitals with standards meeting or exceeding U.S. levels of care, and ease of use.

If you are insured, and your employer offers a health reimbursement account (HRA), a company like Satori World Medical would be a good place to start your medical travel inquiries.

"Through our model, the patient has no out-of-pocket costs," says Steven Lash, CEO of Satori World Medical. "If you use our network, not only will you avoid out-of-pocket costs, but you will also avoid receiving a bill. In addition, your employer will fund a portion of the savings because it's so significant with the HRA. You could get home and find that there's a deposit in your HRA that you can use to fund future healthcare."

Some of the member countries might be considered Third World, but the care is first-rate. Satori's world network only uses hospitals that are accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), the international arm of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals.

MedRetreat, a medical travel company founded in 2003, reaches a different target audience. "Our core market is comprised of uninsured or underinsured Americans," says Marsek.

A case study on the MedRetreat Web site states that a woman who received an initial cost estimate of more than $90,000 for a total knee replacement in the United States ended up spending only $17,000 total, including airfare and deluxe hotel accommodations, by using MedRetreat to "facilitate her entire medical retreat."

Although Satori and MedRetreat reach out to different types of patients, both companies handle all of the travel planning and procedure scheduling.
Ultimately, it's about receiving an equal caliber of care while lowering healthcare costs. As patients become more savvy as consumers, medical travel offers an intriguing option for those facing a significant health procedure.

Lynn B. Johnson is a writer at Evolution Finance, the parent company of Wallet Blog and Card Hub, an online marketplace for credit cards.

MEDICAL SPOTLIGHT: CyberKnife® System PART TWO: Lung Cancer and Tumors

More than 150,000 Americans will likely die of lung cancer this year. It's estimated that only 25 percent of lung cancer patients are good candidates for traditional surgery. In the past, removal of the surgery option was essentially a death sentence. But that's all changed thanks to the non-invasive, low-stress treatments offered through the use of CyberKnife.
The CyberKnife's accurate delivery of high dose radiation has caught the attention of many oncologists and thoracic surgeons.

According to the system manufacturer Accuray, 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.

This significant growth is due in part to the increased availability of lung cancer treatments at CyberKnife centers, of which there are now 164 worldwide. Many of the centers feature the Synchrony® Respiratory Tracking System, which continuously synchronizes radiation beam delivery with the motion of the tumor, and the Xsight® Lung Tracking System, which uses the body's internal anatomy to precisely track lung tumors non-invasively.

"In cancer care, the paradigm is shifting toward less invasive treatment alternatives that exhibit fewer risks, fewer side effects and decreased recovery times," says Euan S. Thomson, M.D., president and CEO of Accuray. "The rapid increase in lung cancer patients treated with our system proves that this is a reality. More and more patients are opting for CyberKnife radiosurgery as a non-invasive means of treating their cancer and maintaining their quality of life."

James G. Schwade, M.D., FACR, FACRO, FASTRO, executive director of the CyberKnife Centers of Miami and Palm Beach, notes that 30 to 40 percent of the patients seen in his Miami facility receive lung treatments.
"CyberKnife is very good for patients in which the cancer has metastasized or for those whom conventional radiation or surgery is not an option," says Schwade. "The greatest application is for lung cancers where it's resectable but inoperable."

According to Schwade, patient satisfaction levels are extremely high.
"CyberKnife treatments are considerably easier to undergo from a patient perspective. It's totally non-invasive and in one-half to one-and-a-half hours, depending upon the condition and nature of treatment, the patient literally gets up and walks out. I don't think it could be easier."

Schwade also notes that currently 10 percent of the Center's patients come from abroad.

"We don't actively recruit patients from abroad," says Schwade, "but we maintain good relationships with physicians and insurance companies in the Caribbean and Central and South America. In fact the first insurance company that ever paid us when we opened was Blue Cross of Jamaica."

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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.