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Do you have questions health travel, accreditation, facilitation, marketing and branding, pricing, and health tourism cluster and destination development topics?
Here's your one stop resources for any questions you want to ask.

Dr Maria Todd, author of the best selling BOOKS ON MEDICAL TOURISM BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT will answer!

About Your Expert

Trusted by more than 4500 healthcare organizations, facilities, physicians, and ancillary providers in the USA and 116 countries, Dr Maria Todd is frequently hired to help with a variety of healthcare business administration, health travel, accreditation, medical and dental travel facilitation, hotel and accommodations partnering, marketing and branding, pricing, and health tourism cluster and destination development topics​.

She's been an active entrepreneur in health travel since 1983, and leverages her OR nursing experience, hospital and clinic administrator hands-on experience, and health law paralegal and mediator work experience and training. She's completed many international development assignments at the request of international development banks, national and regional tourism boards and authorities, the WHO, IMF, ERDB, ADB, and large investment firms. She's also developed several software programs and applications for medical travel pricing, quotation management, patient movement and care coordination.

She's been the expert on medical tourism business development and a leading trainer for many healthcare industry professional development associations in the USA and abroad. She has been recognized with several lifetime achievement awards in medical tourism and health travel in Mexico, Turkey, Ukraine, among others.

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Whether the problem is an operations, accreditation and certifications, pricing, contracting directly with self-insured employers and their TPAs, or strategies and tactics to raise brand awareness and growth,  Maria can probably help you.

In most cases, these problems are not unique, personal, or limited to your organization. Others have had similar situations and Maria has been able to come up with workarounds, solutions or reassurance that they were on the right pathway. 

Maria will schedule a time to take your call so you can explain what’s going on or what has you stuck. She’ll tell you if she can help, or if she believes another expert with whom she works from time to time can offer a better solution. 

If you decide to work with her, she’ll quote a price – by the hour, by the assignment, or for training via web-based conference or at your location.

What you’ll find on this Ask the Expert section of her website are answers she’s provided to others in a similar situation to yours in the past. Reading her responses will provide you inspiration, hope, and tips and pointers you might not have considered. 

From there, you can read more tips, research the topic further on your own, decide you’d like to learn more about working with her on a detailed solution, or get a recommendation for what to try next.  Or, alternatively, you can ask Maria if she has time on her schedule to meet your deadline to handle the matter for you. The choice is yours.

But first, read on to learn what others have asked Maria Todd and the answers she’s provided.


Where can I find medical tourism facilitator training, educational seminars, webinars, master classes or conferences for 2020?

The majority of medical tourism facilitator training, seminars and conferences in 2020 that are open to anyone in the industry will be held in St George, Utah.  From time to time, I agree to travel to offer these educational sessions to other industry events open to the general public for an additional workshop fee in addition to the price of the general admission registration fees.

What is the average salary for a medical tourism facilitator?

There really isn’t one that has been accepted as an “average salary”.  Most facilitators don’t last longer than 18-36 months in business because they are so tremendously under-capitalized that they cannot afford to pay themselves a salary. Hence there is no average. Everything is anecdotal.

Do many hospitals and clinics employ international patient department managers?

While some hospitals and clinics employ international patient department managers, there has been little in the way of standardizing the job description and salaries range all across the board along with compensation arrangements. 


I am a new surgeon in private practice. How can I get employers to send me contracts to take care of their plan participants outside my area?

First, determine which employers and unions offer medical travel benefits in your targeted markets. Next, contact human resources or benefits management to discover their benefit details for medical travel and if they even offer such an option. Next, create a contracts strategy to target a few employers or unions or TPAs that interest you. In your strategy, include solutions to the problems they have and how you might help them arrive at a solution with what you do that’s different from the rest of their providers.  Then prepare cover letters that address each employer’s needs and what you offer to help solve for that need and that you’d like to discuss the possibility of joining their network or providing a medical travel option fully built out for them.  

Realize that there may be silent forces working against you in your area. Someone may have an exclusive deal carved out, someone may have disparaged you, your social media feedback and stars may be less than wonderful, or you may lack privileges at the facilities they are contracted with – or other market forces which you may lack influence or control. If you find some nasty or shady deals, contact an antitrust attorney for guidance.


In your opinion, which accreditation scheme should we pursue for medical tourism to attract international patients? 

If you are already accredited by a recognized accreditor or certification program, you don’t need two. If you aren’t accredited or certified by any, do some research on ISO 9001:2015.  And if the patients you are targeting don’t recognize the accreditation and assign any value or importance to it, then don’t pursue that accreditation for its marketing value – there won’t be any.


Should I be afraid to drop a contract with a medical or dental tourism facilitator that rarely sends us any business?

Maybe. Why aren’t they referring patients to you? That should be your first detail to research. Perhaps the fault lies with you. Do you have a fully-developed medical tourism “product” for them to sell?  If not, they may be awaiting your product description and catalog and details to feel comfortable describing your offer to their clients.

Is there a published set of tips or business rules I should be using to frame my marketing and branding strategy?

No really. But even if it did exist, having the list of tips or business rules is only part of the solution. You must also know what to do with the tips and business rules and which people you are targeting from which source markets, and why. Have you already determined your ideal customer targets?


A hospital has paid me less than what was agreed. They are in another country. How can I enforce my contract and get my money?

That’s actually a very common problem. Your contract is legal and enforceable right? What does it say in terms of “venue” and “governing law”? Under representations and warranties does it list that the contract must be for a lawful purpose? And is it? Does it say you will be paid from the proceeds of the payment for services rendered or a flat fee? Was the whole invoice paid in full? 

There are many reasons why facilitators are frequently take advantage of under the kickback and success business models. Maybe the hospital learned that your contract terms are illegal and therefore unenforceable and that if you try to enforce it you tip your hand to the authorities that you are engaged in an illegal or prohibited transaction.  And maybe you have a legally enforceable contract and the other party is simply in default. It’s too difficult to determine sight unseen.


A payer wants to audit my bundled price medical travel program invoices. Why?

Good question! If you didn’t specify that they could not or should not require audits, you’ll have to agree, but if your prices were negotiated by CPT code as a bundled service, unless they are auditing for some extra services outside the bundle, the audit is probably a waste of time. That’s as silly as asking a chef to audit the ingredients in a recipe down to 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon vs a little over or under. What’s the point?


Which service lines tend to be the most popular for medical tourism cases around the world?

Cardiovascular surgery, orthopedics, urology and gynecology, plastic and cosmetic surgery, infertility treatments, weight loss surgery, eye surgery, cancer care, and stem cell services.  Addiction recovery services (partial hospitalization and 30-day programs) are also gaining traction. Another area is wellness and check up services as part of a soft-entry customer lifetime value strategy. In Europe and Asia, we also see a lot of wellness and thermal waters (balneo-thalasso) services with week long packages.

Where can I find a thorough Hotel Partner Inspection Checklist?

I have several depending on the type of provider, procedures, and accommodation type for the packages you are creating. I reserve these for clients and attendees at some of my workshops. You can also find a few in my Handbook of Medical Tourism Program Development, and in the Medical Tourism Facilitator Handbook, both available wherever books are sold.

Where can I find a good and fair Medical Tourism Facilitator Contract Template?

I can provide a template but first, you must work out the business model under which the collaboration will work. Many countries don’t permit kickback arrangements and fee splits with facilitators – a common but problematic arrangement in the industry.


Is there an easier way to build fully-inclusive bundled surgery case rates? I’m struggling.

Yes, it exists in my Managed Care Contracting Handbook, 2nd edition. It will be included in the 3rd edition as well.  I’ve also developed a software that is in beta test phase that is very easy to use, cloud based, and fill in the blank. But using the software is only part of the solution. The one prerequisite: You must know your fully loaded costs to have data to enter into the software.  I’ll bet that’s what you are struggling with. Also, if you don’t have any clinical knowledge of the surgical procedures, you’ll need assistance from a colleague with that insight so that each price is actually a number that covers a defined episode of care, start to finish.

Books by Maria Todd on this and related subjects

cover mof medical tourism program development handbook
cover mof medical tourism program facilitator's handbook

Master Classes with Maria Todd on this and related subjects

View scheduled classes and learn which courses are available as a private Master Class just for your team at your location!

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Do you have questions about medical tourism and health travel business development, accreditation,operations, accreditation and certifications, pricing, contracting directly with self-insured employers and their TPAs, or strategies and tactics to raise brand awareness and growth, Maria can help.

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