A Medical Device Daily

Two of the nation's biggest competitors in the growing market for sending patients abroad for healthcare reported a merger that they said would combine important strengths and extend global operations.

Medical Tours International (MTI; Cold Spring, New York) has merged with PlanetHospital (PHI; Calabasas, California), which said it is now “the nation's premier medical tourism company, providing services to healthcare consumers choosing to travel overseas for high quality, affordable complex medical procedures.”

“This is an ideal fit that brings together PlanetHospital's infrastructure and expertise for sending patients to the Far East and Mexico with MTI's leadership in providing services in Central America, especially the key destination of Costa Rica,” said Rudy Rupak, CEO of the new company.

The companies said the merger creates what they believe to be the largest company of its kind, and poised to capture “the lion's share of what analysts currently estimate at $20 billion worldwide growing to $40 billion by 2010.”

“Consumer spending for medical services outside their own countries is skyrocketing, with high standards of safety meeting patient expectations,” added Stephanie Sulger, RN, former CEO of MTI with 35 years' experience in healthcare. “Our Corridor of Safety program ensures end-to-end quality and safety when traveling for healthcare,” said Sulger, who will be PHI's director of international medical services.

The new company said it will maintain offices in California and New York, increase relationships with world-class medical hospitals and facilities in India, Thailand, Singapore, Belgium, Mexico, Costa Rica, Argentina and Brazil, and expand European operations.

In addition to providing global healthcare options for consumers, the company said it is developing insurance products for medical tourism.

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