As part of the 4th World Medical Tourism & Global Healthcare Congress, the annual MTA membership meeting - led by association President Renée-Marie Stephano, Global Program Coordinator Gabriella Vicuña and Membership Manager Lisbeth Stein - devoted an entire day to news, information, updates and presentations at the core interests of its valued members.
In May 2007, the Medical Tourism Association™ (MTA) was founded as a 501(c) 6 non-profit trade association. This trade association was designed to develop industry initiatives and promote the interests of its membership. Throughout the years, the MTA has grown and continues its mission to promote positive and stable development of the medical tourism and global healthcare industry with a strong focus on transparency and communication. The Medical Tourism AssociationTM, comprised of so many strong and passionate members, maintains its position to educate patients, insurance companies, agents, brokers, consultants and physicians from around the world about the growth of medical tourism and the ultimate globalization of healthcare.
At the top of the membership agenda, Ms. Stephano addressed the captive membership audience with information regarding the past year and the Medical Tourism Association'sTM expectations for the coming year. Her presentation included a discussion about the past year’s focus on emerging markets, which was realized at the congress with attendance by various groups and industry leaders from areas of the world such as China, Korea, Ukraine, Bosnia, Croatia, Latvia, Hungary, and the Russian Federation. It was reiterated that the medical tourism industry is expanding and growing thanks to all of the MTA members as well as future members of our association. Ms. Stephano thanked everyone for their participation and high standards of services that ensure all patients, regardless of their geographical location, receive the highest level of quality care. She also detailed the re-launch of the consumer driven website www.MedicalTourism.com. This website currently offers Spanish and Arabic translation, with Russian, Chinese and more to follow. Since the website appeals to the consumer at large, readily available member information helps lend to greater visibility and subsequent patient referrals received through this venue go directly to the members via the “Member Only Website” found at www.MTAMember.com.
Ms. Stephano also introduced the “Excellence Certification for International Patient Services” as a new MTA initiative. “This certification process will assist hospitals with the final goal of achieving a consistently outstanding patient experience,” she stated. Hospitals and clinics that undergo this certification process will possess the training and knowledge to implement international service staff and IT requirements for seamless patient management as well as appropriate policies, procedures and risk management protocols. “This will assist in attracting medical tourism patients through honest and transparent marketing.”
MTA Global Program Coordinator, Gabriella Vicuna, discussed destination guides and announced the arrival of the long-awaited first publication of the Las Vegas edition at this year’s Congress. This destination guide has an exclusive focus on Las Vegas with detailed information about the quality of healthcare and the healthcare infrastructure of the notorious “Sin City”. The guide contains comprehensive information on hospitals, clinics, medical spas, wellness centers, hotels and tour operators for patients and also features tourism information with full color photos. The colorful and informative Las Vegas Destination Guide was received with much enthusiasm and was one of the greatest highlights of the Congress.
Membership Manager Lisbeth Stein was more than happy to discuss one of the newest membership benefits – Hospital Trade Missions. As Ms. Stein explained, “The Medical Tourism Association’s™ International Healthcare Trade Missions offer an opportunity for elite MTA member hospitals and organizations to learn firsthand about global and emerging markets.” She went on to explain that the MTA hopes to be involved in approximately 10 to 15 trade missions in emerging markets around the world each year. These elite MTA members will participate in the trade mission travel together as a delegation where they may attend a briefing on the international healthcare market in that specific locale and engage in hospital/clinic site visits, destination-focused workshops, and potentially take part in networking meetings. During these missions, elite MTA members are typically introduced both to important business contacts in the private healthcare sector in a specific country and to well-placed government officials.
Ms. Stein further explained that participating in this initiative holds great prestige and provides exclusive access to form part of an official MTA delegation. MTA International Healthcare Trade Missions are available exclusively to Gold, Platinum and Diamond members
The membership day agenda itself included many workshops geared for MTA members only. Some of these roundtable discussions included consumer markets, legal issues, understanding the LEED for healthcare rating system, how to create a world class international patient department, becoming a medical tourism facilitator, and concluding with the future of medical tourism marketing. There was also a Networking Luncheon for the members to allow for more personal interactions and a better opportunity to get to know one another.
As stated by Dr. Javier Lopez of the Regenerative Medicine Institute of Mexico: “I was impressed by the number of things I was able to learn as a new member and appreciated the opportunity to share my experiences at RMI with members from around the world.”
All in all, the MTA member day was a great success and produced many new relationships as well as bolstered past liaisons amongst the membership body. This was truly a fantastic way to begin the 4th Annual World Medical Tourism Congress and we’re looking forward to another inspiring and positive year at the MTA.
Lisbeth Stein as Membership Manager for the Medical Tourism Association™. Ms. Stein provides recruitment, coordination and retention support for members of the MTA in over 100 countries around the world. Prior to joining the MTA, she was involved in the U.S. HealthCare Insurance industry. Ms. Stein can be reached at Lisbeth@MedicalTourismAssociation.com.