U.S. Department of Commerce Awards University HealthSystem Consortium with 3-Year Cooperative Agreement


OAK BROOK, Ill., Nov. 5, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC) has been awarded a Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Commerce as part of the National Export Initiative, which aims to increase the number of foreigners coming to U.S. healthcare providers for medical care, also known as medical exports.  The three-year, $500,000 award will be used to better quantify and grow the number of medical exports, which researchers and the government believe may have a large impact on the U.S. healthcare economy.

The project will be led by UHC's Comparative Data & Informatics department, headed by Senior Vice President Steve Meurer, PhD, MBA, MHS and will be completed in partnership with Rush University Medical Center.  

"Our goal is first to define and measure medical exports coming to the U.S. and quantify their impact on our healthcare economy," said Dr. Meurer. "Subsequently we will develop strategies to stimulate growth in the number of international patients choosing U.S. healthcare providers."

Dr. Meurer and Samuel Hohmann, PhD, who are both on the faculty at Rush, will establish a forum for international patient programs; create a standardized set of data elements to be reported on international patients; host a series of meetings focused on strategies to increase the global competitiveness of U.S. healthcare providers; and develop strategic relationships with foreign ministries of health and private payers.

The award is part of the National Export Initiative, which intends to double medical care exports by 2015.  The U.S. is experiencing increasing competition from hospitals abroad for patients with specialty-care needs, and researchers estimate the current trade surplus for medical travel to the U.S. could be as high as $1 billion.

"Through improved measurement, analysis and data transparency, better networking among U.S. providers that receive international patients, and implementation of strategic business development best practices, we believe we can grow the number of medical exports," said Dr. Hohmann, senior manager of clinical research at UHC.

About UHC

The University HealthSystem Consortium (UHC), formed in 1984, is an alliance of 111 academic medical centers and 255 of their affiliated hospitals, representing approximately 90% of the nation's nonprofit academic medical centers. UHC offers its members specific programs and services to improve clinical, operational, financial, and patient safety performance. The mission of UHC is to advance knowledge, foster collaboration, and promote change to help members succeed in their respective markets. For more information, visit www.uhc.edu.

SOURCE University HealthSystem Consortium