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International Healthcare - Mary Saadat
International Healthcare - Mary Saadat

Mary Saadat
Mary Saadat was born in Tehran, Iran. Resided in London, England from 1962-1964 and 1974 - 1978. Resided in the United States from 1978 - 2000 and is an American Citizen. Presently resides in Tehran, Iran since March 2000. Fluent in English and Farsi. Semi-fluent in French.

Her education consists of a Masters of Arts: University of Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA. USA., Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Business Administration and Bachelors of Arts: California State University, Fresno, CA. USA, Communicative Disorders/Speech Pathology. Magna Cum Laude (Honors).

Work experience is vast in scope. Currently Saadat is working in Translation Services: Farsi to English: specializing in Business Documents (Tehran, Iran) and a Middle East Representative: For US Company: Premier Air Parts, Inc. She has 20 years experience in administration, management, marketing and public relations in the United States. She was founder, prinicipal, and manageing director of Saadat & Associates. The company was acquired in Jan. 2000. Those clients included major profit and non-profit organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Kaiser Permanente and others. Company serviced 15 clients in a three-year period. Services included: Business Planning, Mergers and Acquisitions, Financial Management, Marketing Management, Public Relations, Fundraising, Human Resources Management, International projects, Training and Development, Strategic Planning, Web-site Creation, Contracting, Operations Management, Operations Turnarounds, Sales, Sales Training, Negotiations Training, Market Research, Development of Tracking and Performance Systems, and Organizational Development. Previous positions held were Executive Director of Stony Logde Hospital, Inc. in Briarcliff Manor, New York, Business Development Consultant in Costa Mesa, California, President and COO of National Alternative Care, Inc in Newport Beach, California and many other management positions.

Presentations: 'Gaining Competitiveness Through Alliances, Mergers & Joint Ventures', Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Annual Conference 'How to Market Your Private Practice Successfully', One-Day Workshop at University of Santa Clara, California, 'The Occupational Therapist Surviving in the Business World: A Role Shift', Occupational Therapy Association of California, Annual Conference, Numerous other workshops and lectures training professionals in business, marketing, and management.

Mary Saadat,
Gheitarieh, Shabcheragh Avenue, # 23
Postal Code 19389
Tehran. Iran. Tel: 2706100.
Email: msaadat @kanoon.net

Our host has an 11 hr. time difference from U.S. eastern time, so please allow some time in answering your questions.


Question 1 - What inspired you to go into International Healthcare consulting? by HBInterview on July 31, 2000

Answer 1 - I was born in Iran, raised in England and moved to the US in 1978. I am an American Citizen, yet I am a real multi-cultural person and have always been fascinated with other cultures. I always knew that I wanted to learn more about other systems and cultures and wanted to do International work. So I embarked on this adventure! by Mary Saadat on July 31, 2000
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Question 2 - What does International Healthcare Consultants do? by HBInterview on July 31, 2000

Answer 2 - As an international consultant of anything one has to first understand what it is one is really hired for. Sometimes the assignment is not what one thinks. One needs to understand the assignment by digging very deep. Then, hopefully, one understands what one is supposed to do. by Mary Saadat on July 31, 2000
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Question 3 - How is the International consulting different than your U.S. experience? by HBInterview on July 31, 2000

Answer 3 - I cannot emphasize enough understanding culture. I speak fluently, yet I have so much to learn about how to work in another country. I am not familiar with the rules of the game, yet. In the US, I was in familiar territory. My expertise is valued, but I know that I make major mistakes politically. I am way too task and results oriented and this can be a major turn-off in the Middle East. People work and accomplish tasks, but the way they work is so entirely different than what I am used to. There is no word for time management in Farsi. Planning is also not appreciated very much. I am in a country where things change almost daily, so there is no point in writing a 5 year strategic plan. One has to roll with the punches and be VERY FLEXIBLE! by Mary Saadat on July 31, 2000
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Question 4 - What has been your lessons learned (positive and negative)? by HBInterview on July 31, 2000

Answer 4 - I have learned so many lessons during the last 5 months overseas that I feel that I am like a child learning to walk again. My perceptions and beliefs are changing almost daily. I have learned that I cannot walk into a country and be an expert, as an American, and claim that I know it all. What I know worked in the US and does not necessarily work in another country. I am learning to study and understand first, before I state my opinions. I have also learned that being an American, if handled tactfully, can be advantageous. People respect our knowledge and technology and it opens doors. There is respect, but the irony is this can indeed be a test and may have a hidden agenda to proove that as Americans we don't know it all. So the major lesson is that even if one speaks the culture, one cannot assume that one understand that which is really being said! Mary Saadat by Mary Saadat on July 31, 2000
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Question 5 - Is there a group that meets regarding International healthcare issues? A network for you. by HBInterview on July 31, 2000

Answer 5 - I am not aware of such a network. I would love to be a part of one; however, it would most probably need to be automated and meetings would need to be via the internet. It would be very difficult to hold face-to-face meetings with folks all over the world. Mary Saadat by Mary Saadat on July 31, 2000
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Question 6 - Ms. Saadat, There have been many news atricles recently about the World Health Organization's rating of the United State's healthcare system as among the lowest overall. It would be a fair assumption to say that most of us here are puzzled by such a low rating. We may not have the best statistics across the board, but we certainly don't have the worst.

I am interested to read your interpretation of the WHO study, as well as your assessment of the American healthcare system and how it compares to other countries' systems. Thank you. by drembry on July 31, 2000

Answer 6 - Mr. Embry, I most certainly don't claim to be an expert on each and every countrie's healthcare system. I have read the WHO report and that which I can claim, is that in my estimation, the healthcare system in the US, while not the best that can be, is certainly one of the best at present.

One of the most important lessons I have learned while overseas, is that each and every country has to be assessed and studied individually, not collectively. When I was in the US, I had a tendancy to bulk international healthcare in one category and speak of it as one. Now I am begining to understand the unique nature of each country; thus needing a unique and customized system and approach for each entity or country.

I have not seen a better system yet than that of the US. I do believe the US system, for the US is evolving and needs drastic improvements. The danger, in my opinion, is to take the US system, as is, and "paste" it in another country. We have to study the culture of the country first, and not assume anything BEFORE implementing any systems. Thank you for your question. Mary Saadat by Mary Saadat on July 31, 2000
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Question 7 - Ms. Saadat, There has been much struggle and debate in the U.S. regarding the issue of parity or lack thereof when it comes to coverage via third party payers for psychiatric treatment. I was curious regarding the availability of psychiatric services there,the willingness to seek such treatment,and the parity of coverage for treatment. by scotty on July 31, 2000

Answer 7 - Your question requires a whole text! I am working with a head nurse from a private psychiatric hospital and there is alot of room for improvement in terms of treatment and the availability of treatment here. Pschiatric disorders and Addiction disorders are very prevalent here, yet noone seems to want to confirm this, including the significant ones of the person with such a disorder. Taboo is the word all around. The system is partly managed care, and an HMO model, mostly; however, the best available psych care is cash and is paid by the family. Treatment is truly very sketchy and it is mostly nursing care with some therapy mostly from a Psychiatrist. Most, if not all, private hospitals are owned by MD's or MD groups. Outpatient treatment is available, yet once again, out of date, in terms of treatment models. Alot of room for improvement. There is alot of effort to deal with addiction. There is alot of good basic prevention via TV and radio and people seem to be gaining more of an awareness about Mental Health. I am not aware of reimbursement of true psych disorders by the HMO models here. So managed care is here... by Mary Saadat on August 1, 2000
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Question 8 - As you mention in drembry's question each country has its own customized system for healthcare. Have you seen or experienced any aspects of other healthcare systems that you feel could be implemented in the United States to improve our system? by HBInterview on August 1, 2000

Answer 8 - Frankly no...I was such a critic of our system, until I moved overseas!!! The only thing I have noticed, that frankly has been a breath of fresh air, is that MD's are more patient oriented and seem to spend more time with the patient and provide more care..they don't educate well, but they do have good bed-side manners. This ofcourse is a generalization, but I have noted this. Also, house calls, while not common, are still not entirely out. by Mary Saadat on August 1, 2000
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Question 9 - How is the United States healthcare system perceived abroad? by HBInterview on August 1, 2000

Answer 9 - In Iran, the US medical expertise is appreciated and respected. Administratively, there is suspicion about the US healthcare system. We have to consider the politics, when we consider healthcare internationally. by Mary Saadat on August 1, 2000
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Question 10 - What affect has being a female had on your ability to obtain work and implement your recommendations in Iran? by HBInterview on August 1, 2000

Answer 10 - I am working with the private sector and learning how to not to be in the forefront. Obtaining work has not been an issue, status has been an issue. I have been the head of organizations in the US; here I have to operate differently. This is as much as I can say, considering my location. by Mary Saadat on August 1, 2000
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Question 11 - Have you or would you like to work in any other countries besides Iran and why? by HBInterview on August 1, 2000

Answer 11 - I have also worked in the UK and am doing a little work with Cypress. I would love to work in other countries, on a short-term basis. That is why I moved to the Middle East, so that I am closer to the rest of the world! by Mary Saadat on August 1, 2000
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Question 12 - Do you know of any online networking sites that focus on International Healthcare issues? by HBInterview on August 1, 2000

Answer 12 - The best I have seen thus far, in my opinion, is HealthBond. I would love to see more international healthcare sites. This does not mean they don't exist, I am just now aware of them, if they do. by Mary Saadat on August 1, 2000
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Question 13 - What suggestions would you give to others wanting to pursue an International focus? by HBInterview on August 1, 2000

Answer 13 - Hang out with people from other cultures. Don't just bulk international into one category, but recognize that each country is unique. Don't assume you know anything about a particular country until you have lived there for a minimum of 6 months. Travel, travel and travel. It is so hard to get in and out of the US and become familiar with the rest of the world. Search international career sites and revise your resume and get rid of the American managed care and healthcare language, as best as you can, so the rest of the world understands what you mean. I mean the great 3 letter and 4 letter words we have ...IPA,PPO etc.

Learn another language and be able to communicate in another language. by Mary Saadat on August 1, 2000
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Question 14 - What are your opinions concerning perceptions in the West about health care priorities in the Third World, especially of major problems such as infectious disease, AIDS, and overpopulation? Other than via W.H.O. what can and should we do about these global problems? Do you anticipate specific health crises in Russia, Asia, and Africa in the next decade? Or in the West? by msturman on August 3, 2000

Answser 14 - Your question is a very interesting one. When I was in the US, I too was very concerned about what, WE as the US, should do about such issues that you raise. Now that I am overseas, I realize that WE should respect that which these countries choose to do. We cannot impose that which we think is right, but rather respect the fact these countries are third world and do not think like US.

It would be great if WE could make available educational materials on infectious disease, AIDS, and overpopulation. WE need to provide materials that do not preach OUR beliefs, but be able to COMMUNICATE in a manner that respects the beliefs of the target country. Otherwise, any education will be rejected and not taken seriously.

In Iran, where I am based, we do have a major problem with AIDS. It is not a subject that can be openly discussed, and I am not aware of any Global organisation that is addressing this issue. If not resoloved, yes, I do predict a major crisis. by Mary Saadat on August 3, 2000
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Question 15 - Interesting forum...Mary can you tell us how the relationship with the pharmaceutical companies are? Are the costs as high? Who is responsible for paying for the medications, gov't -- patient? by Luke on August 3, 2000

Answer 15 - Obtaining American or European medication in Iran is very difficult. Iran does manufacture and has its own pharmaceutical companies and I am told they are quite good. Also, alot of over the counter drugs are made here which I am told by Physicians are quite good. Any meds that are manufactured out of the country, specifically those that are newer medications, are very difficult to obtain. I am not aware of any retionships at present with American Pharmaceutical companies. Ms. Albreight did state about 2 months ago, in a speech, that the sanction would be lifted, but so far, this has not been confirmed here. I am very much hoping that American Pharmaceutical companies can lobby to have meds imported here. We really need them and it could be a very lucrative market for the pharm. companies. I believe both patient and insurance plan pay for the meds. Patient pays co-pay. The plans are different, so this is very much a generalization. by Mary Saadat on August 3, 2000
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Question 16 - Hello Mary, There is much discussion focused on long term care issues considering the fact that our population is getting older. How does Iran handle long term care and chronic illnesses? Do they have an infrastructure or do they still rely upon family almost extensively? by Terin on August 4, 2000

Answer 16 - While there are homes in Iran for long term care, chronic illnesses and the elderly, the reliance is still mostly on the family. Culturally, Iranians respect the elderly and it is not common to place a parent or grandparent in a home, unless, there is a need for special care. by Mary Saadat on August 4, 2000

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