Kraft Embarks on Second Healthcare Trade Mission

Aug 09, 2016 at 04:11 pm by Staff

Following last year's successful tour of Cuba, Scott Mertie, president of Kraft Healthcare Consulting, has partnered with Li Weaver, managing partner of JC Partnership Forum, to plan a Sept. 25-Oct. 1 healthcare industry trade mission to Beijing and Shanghai.

Mertie, who attended a Tennessee trade mission to China nearly seven years ago during the Bredesen Administration, was interested in revisiting one of America's top trade partners with a specific eye toward healthcare. Working with JC Partnership Forum, which provides a platform to facilitate business engagement between the United States and China, Mertie said attendees would spend three days in Beijing meeting with government healthcare officials and private sector healthcare companies. On Wednesday afternoon, the delegation will fly to Shanghai for additional meetings, including a tour of Chinaco Healthcare Corporation's flagship hospital in Cixi. Chinaco has deep Tennessee ties, as the company was co-founded by Nashvillians Thomas F. Frist Jr., MD and Chuck Elcan.

"The primary goal is really for the healthcare community here to have an updated understanding about the healthcare development in China and what the opportunity would be for healthcare companies here," said Weaver. She added healthcare laws and regulations have changed significantly in China since the 2009 statewide trade mission. "China now allows healthcare investors to own hospitals in China 100 percent. Before, they would allow private investment, but you had to be under 50 percent."

While the new rule for Wholly Foreign Owned Hospitals (WFOH) only applies to seven Chinese cities and provinces, including Beijing and Shanghai, Weaver and Mertie said the changing regulations allow for a new level of partnership as China works to meet demand for care and services. "They realize the government can't do everything," Weaver said.

Mertie added, "China has a huge baby boom population, similar to what the U.S. has, and is starting to struggle in certain ways ... in particular with their elderly care.

"Access," he continued, "has always been an issue in the rural areas." Shifting geographic patterns have only exacerbated the problem. Mertie noted that while younger generations have traditionally cared for their elders within the home, that familial system is rapidly changing as workers move to the larger cities, leaving no one at home to care for aging parents and grandparents. For that reason, he noted, there is an emerging opportunity for long-term care services.

"This is a business trip that's very focused on developing business opportunities and potential partnerships between U.S. and Chinese healthcare companies," said Weaver. "It's our goal to continue the discussion until it becomes a project."

Mertie added this trip isn't in competition with the trade missions planned by the Nashville Health Care Council (see box) but is meant to be yet another opportunity for the area's diverse healthcare industry to explore international opportunities.

There is a limited amount of space remaining on the China healthcare trade mission. At this point, Mertie said those interested in attending would need an expedited travel visa, which is still possible as it usually only takes two to three weeks. However, he added, the sooner interested individuals get the ball rolling, the better. For more details about the itinerary, costs, and necessary steps to participate, email Mertie at


JCP Forum

Kraft Healthcare Consulting China Trip

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