A giant has formed and its name is medical tourism, sometimes referred to as global healthcare. In the past few years, rapid growth, greater media attention and patients word of mouth has grown this industry into an industry where millions of patients cross borders each year spending billions of dollars on healthcare.
For those of you who are lucky enough, you will get to see this Giant first hand, confirmed for Los Angeles, October 26th-28th, 2009. This year’s World Medical Tourism and Global Health Congress brings together an even larger and more dynamic group than last year. This year we will have more governments and ministries of health participating from countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Philippines, Barbados, Antigua and more.
We have organized at the congress in Los Angeles a special minister’s roundtable with some of the leading ministers of health and tourism from around the world and moderated by a member of the OECD. We also will be having a VIP private roundtable between MTA member hospitals and senior executives at top US and international insurance companies and governments to discuss privately, but openly issues in cross border healthcare to help grow this industry.
There is a larger participation this year from both US and international insurance companies and employers such as CIGNA International Expatriate Benefits, Aetna Global Benefits, Swiss Re and others. I am very excited about the presentation on cross border healthcare organized by UCLA School of Public Health that has as a featured speaker Healthnet, one of the US largest health insurance companies, which has an active cross border healthcare program in place with Mexico and insures over 6.7 million Americans.
This year we have invited hundreds of medical tourism facilitators from all over the world, and are expecting some exciting participation from new facilitators in emerging regions such as Africa, Afghanistan and other exciting places. Also, in attendance will be top US medical tourism facilitators that have actively entered into agreements with US insurance companies and employers to send patients overseas.
One of the most important factors of this upcoming congress is the advanced educational sessions and expert speakers that will take place from where we left off in San Francisco at last year’s congress and push the industry forward faster than ever. With over 125 exhibitors and sponsors, almost 200 speakers, and up to 2,000 attendees this is going to be one GIANT event. I’ll see you in Los Angeles.
Renée-Marie Stephano is a Founder and President of the Medical Tourism Association, also known as MTA, the first international non-profit trade association for the medical tourism industry. Ms. Stephano also serves as general counsel for the MTA and is Editor of the Medical Tourism Magazine.
Ms. Stephano received her Juris Doctorate degree in Law in Pennsylvania. She has a background in international marketing and health law and then went on to open her own law firm, spending six years serving as general counsel for a US national healthcare administrator which was the first US healthcare administrator to implement medical tourism into both self-funded and fully insured health plans in the United States.
Ms. Stephano works full time for the Medical Tourism Association and is considered an expert in medical tourism. In her role at the Medical Tourism Association, Ms. Stephano helps countries and hospitals create strategic marketing plans and helps identify target markets. She has helped many countries and hospitals achieve their goals of attracting foreign patients and international insurance companies. Ms. Stephano works with global health care providers to maintain transparency with respect to quality of care as they increase their flow of patients and she also works with medical travel facilitators to establish best practices to ultimately ensure patient safety.