Conference touts medical tourism as catalyst for pricing transparency

Speakers lined up for the first Leadership Forum on Medical Tourism say the industry could prompt a movement to transparency in healthcare pricing.

Key topics that the forum will discuss include: a critique of the U.S. healthcare system, healthcare pricing transparency; risk management/liability issues; the relationship between health insurance and medial tourism; accreditation; standards and quality guidelines; and future trends in medical tourism.

The Conference aims to bring together employers, health plans, hospital systems and international medical tourism providers, in order to define and implement best practices in what it calls "The Next Generation of Global Healthcare."

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Speaking at the conference will be David E. Williams, chief executive of, a website devoted to medical tourism.

"Medical tourism may accelerate the move to transparency in healthcare pricing. Faced with clear, simple pricing plans from overseas competitors, U.S. hospitals and physicians are likely to sharpen their pencils and commit to pre-specified, guaranteed prices for common procedures," Williams said. "This will be particularly true in specialties such as cardiology and orthopedics where competition from abroad is keenest."

Recently, and MedPharma Partners LLC, a healthcare and life sciences consulting firm, released a whitepaper on medical tourism, which highlights the panel discussion on challenging American hospitals to rethink their business models.

"This could be a good way to get local providers to increase transparency and to improve their performance as they compete to demonstrate preeminence. And payers shouldn't rule out the possibility of using comparisons with overseas pricing to help hold the line on local reimbursement rates," from the October whitepaper, Medical Tourism: Implications for Participants in the US Health Care System.

John F.P. Bridges, Assistant Professor at the Department of Health Policy & Management of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, will be presenting on myths in the healthcare tourism market and will discuss the relationship between health insurance and health tourism.

Attendees will also get an insider's look at medical tourism with author, Maggi Grace, who chronicled her story in State of the Heart: A Medical Tourist’s True Story of Livesaving Surgery in India.

The Conference will be held at the Sheraton Crystal Hotel in Arlington, Va. on Nov. 9.