Although treatment of foreign nationals has long been the province of America's elite medical centers, experts say the magic of the Internet and increasing ease of travel may help other hospitals become the destination of choice for those from outside the U.S. seeking care.
International patients represent a small portion of the healthcare market, and they tend to use the most prestigious healthcare institutions in the U.S., according to researchers who will make a presentation at the international summit.
Two executives from Medimetrix, a Cleveland-based healthcare consulting firm, will present the results of their company's study on the delivery and financing of care in the U.S. for foreign nationals. Joseph Davis, Medimetrix chief executive officer, and Richard von Rueden, M.D., a principal, will conduct a seminar titled "State of the Market Report: Implementing International Patient Programs." Misty Hathaway, Mayo Clinic's international marketing consultant and regional coordinator for Canada, will share a provider's perspective on the international healthcare business.
"The provision of care (to foreign nationals) is heavily concentrated to a few, what would be considered premier institutions in the United States," von Rueden says.
The study, completed in January but not yet published, found that less than one one-thousandth of all inpatient admissions in the U.S. each year are foreign nationals. Even for the "premier institutions," foreign nationals represent a small piece of their total business.
While they may be few in number, foreign nationals tend to be part of a nearly extinct patient group--one that pays full price. "These patients, to a significant degree, are paying (full) charges and paying in cash," von Rueden says. And the number of such patients is likely to grow.