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Medical Tourism in the Fast Lane


The MTA recently concluded its 2nd Annual Conference the World Medical Tourism and Global Health Congress in Los Angeles at the end of October and it was an overwhelming success with over sixty countries participating. At our first annual conference we had almost over 800 attendees and this year we almost doubled those numbers with approximately 1500 attendees.

Most importantly it was not simply a large number of attendees but the quality of the attendees involved or interested in medical tourism was evident. We had 120 exhibitors and sponsors and 160 expert speakers.What is more important than some of these statistics is what really took place and what was accomplished.

Behind the scenes some very important meetings happened from the MTA organized Ministers Summit where ministers of tourism and health met to discuss increasing the quality of healthcare worldwide patient safety policy relations and possible collaborative roles of global agencies in fostering medical tourism development worldwide.

Also at the conference was a meeting of quality experts for the MTAs Quality Indicator Project and Quality Roundtable for which the ultimate goal is to allow patients insurers employers and facilitators from around the world to compare quality. The MTA also organized a healthcare executive luncheon where employers and insurance agents sat down alongside large US and international health insurance companies and top hospitals and frankly discussed medical tourism.

We had the largest turnout yet with hundreds of people from the American health insurance industry attending the conference. Jonathan Edelheit the CEO of the MTA organized a large US health insurance conference in the same hotel as a way to get insurance carriers employers and agents to the MTA conference and it was a huge success. The buzz after the conference has been impressive and the surveys that have come back from delegates have been all positive.

Additionally we have received tremendous feedback from key players in the insurance industry who attended who are now more eager and excited about implementing medical tourism. Meetings such as this one change the industry by connecting the right players together to build strong relationships and networks.

Also very important is the ongoing exchange of knowledge and the sharing of ideas which keeps the medical tourism and global healthcare industry moving.The MTA had its annual membership meeting which was open to members and non members on the last day of the conference.

At the meeting officers of the MTA and strategic regional development officers reported on the success and projects they have been working on over the past year and their plans for further development of medical tourism regionally and worldwide in 2010. Several attendees afterwards gave some very glowing compliments over how much the MTA has achieved to grow and change medical tourism in a positive way in its 2 and half years since inception.

Next year we will have our 3rd Annual World Medical Tourism and Global Health Congress in Los Angeles September 22-24th 2010. We will be making some significant changes to the agenda in order to focus on more quality dedicated networking times a totally new group of speakers bringing new and dynamic content and information and a huge focus of bringing the largest international insurance companies and governments involved in sending patients overseas to the conference and having an even larger presence next year from US health insurance companies employers agents and facilitators.

While this years conference was amazing next years will be one even better!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.

About the Author

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.

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