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Preparing Your Organisation For Re-opening: Duty of Care And Risk Mitigation

By Dr. Adrian Hyzler, Chief Medical Officer, Healix International.

Healix International works with multi-national corporations, NGOs and governments around the world to provide medical, security and travel assistance and help fulfil duty of care obligations.

The world has been on varying levels of pandemic lockdown for months now and one major question lingers for nations, communities and businesses alike - when should we re-open, and what do we need to do to be prepared?

Denmark has led the charge in the EU as the first country to begin the cautious process of re-opening, starting with daycare centres and primary schools on 14 April. “This will probably be a bit like walking the tightrope,” Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a recent press conference." If we stand still along the way we could fall and if we go too fast it can go wrong. Therefore, we must take one cautious step at a time.”

The tightrope analogy applies for businesses as well. Everyone is eager to return to work and get the world economy moving again, but that desire must be balanced with an organisation’s duty of care to protect the health and wellbeing of employees and clients - something that is a greater focus now than ever before.

So, what can your organisation do to move forward? The most important thing, of course, is to adhere to the guidance of local and federal governments. Once your region begins the ‘re-opening’ process, there are several things you can do to mitigate risk and protect your employees.

Point of care (POC) antigen testing before entering the workplace

Testing is one of the key elements that will get the world back to work. While rapid point of care testing currently has limited availability in laboratory settings, wider distribution is likely in the near-term. If employers can reassure workers by performing a point of care swab test that will tell within minutes whether or not they are carrying the virus in their nasal passages, then all workers can be reassured that the working environment is a safe place to be.  There are plenty of rapid diagnostic ‘antibody’ tests to determine who among their employees has been previously exposed to the virus and subsequently developed antibodies. None of these has proven sufficiently accurate to adopt on a widescale basis but when they are, it will make for much more informed planning and decision making. The ability to put those with antibodies on the forefront of public facing and interpersonal interaction will work to protect both employees and those in the surrounding community.

Phased Re-entry

Just as many countries are re-opening with a phased approach, so too should organisations. It would be irresponsible to pack 50 people into an open concept workspace, because that provides an environment for any virus to spread rapidly. A schedule should be set, depending on the roles within the business, for a maximum number of employees to be present at a given time with adequate physical distancing enforced wherever possible. This may well lend itself to a rotating work-from-home arrangement. It is important to remember the impact of school and daycare closures as well. Employees with children and single parents may require an additional level of flexibility.

There must also be consideration given to those of your employees who are considered to be at a greater risk for infection: people over the age of 60, anyone who is immunocompromised or has a pre-existing condition. Where possible, these individuals should be instructed to work from home for the foreseeable future, particularly if a healthcare provider has instructed them to do so.

Business travel policy updates

Business travel will resume in the coming months, and it will start with ‘business critical’ travellers. Organisations will need to outline new policies that include approval by senior leadership for all travel in the near term. It is incredibly important that every decision made around this aspect of ‘re-opening’ is supported by vetted, reliable and up-to-date information. Risk managers will need to provide all travellers with pre-travel advisories, destination information, and the mobile technology and tracking necessary to keep travellers safe and stakeholders informed. Travellers will also need access to 24/7 medical and security assistance in the event that they fall ill or experience a disruption such as the unexpected border closures that were seen earlier this year.

Consideration should also be given to policies around travellers’ return to the workplace. Where possible, it would be prudent to implement a 14-day work from home period following travel in order to minimise the risk of exposure for co-workers in the event that the traveller falls ill.

Social distancing and behaviour changes

Wherever possible, people in the workplace should maintain a minimum 6-foot distance from one another. In the instances where that requirement is not reasonable, there should be other protocols put in place. Simply put, handshakes are a thing of the past. There should be no touching, no hugging, no sharing of food or drinks.

Face covering protocols

In adherence with health organisation and government recommendations, the use of face coverings in public places where social distancing is difficult, could play a part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Employees may therefore wear face coverings on their journey into work, as well as some employees wearing face masks due to the nature of their work. Clear guidelines must therefore be outlined by the organisation on who is expected to wear a mask and at what times, as well as when and where they should be put on and removed. Mask stations with proper receptacles should be set up for mask donning and removal/disposal.

Public transport guidelines

If your organisation has employees that use public transport to get to and from work, it is important to equip them with information and guidelines on how to do so safely, such as wearing face coverings and gloves, carrying disinfectant wipes and alcohol-based hand-sanitiser at all times. Employees should dispose of gloves, wash their hands and wipe down their phones and headphones immediately upon arrival at their destination.

Workplace sanitation and hygiene

The cleanliness of a workplace (and the people in it) has never in history been as paramount as it is now. Whatever cleaning schedule and rules existed before this pandemic are simply not going to be enough in the ‘new normal’. Plan to speak to your facilities manager and cleaning teams at length about increased frequency of cleanings, as well as a checklist of thorough disinfecting to include all high-touch surfaces, workstations, eating areas and restrooms.

Disinfectant wipes should sit on every surface so that they can be wiped frequently. Where possible, there should be handwashing stations set up with reminders of proper handwashing protocols - hot water, soap, 20-30 seconds of washing. Alcohol-based hand sanitiser - ideally the automated ‘no touch’ design - should also be available throughout the workspace, particularly at entrances. Reminders for individuals to clean their own personal high touch surfaces, such as phones, tablets and keyboards multiple times per day should also be hung around the office or work environment.

Employee mental health awareness

The COVID-19 pandemic has been incredibly challenging for everyone. For some people, there will be lasting effects on mental health due to the traumatic nature of the experience. This is particularly true if an employee or their loved one suffered severe illness, remains at a heightened risk for infection, or if they know someone who passed away because of COVID-19. Long periods of isolation can also impact people in different ways, so it is important to maintain compassion and patience as people begin to return to the workplace.

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Healix International Ensures Successful COVID-19 Repatriations

During the last month global travel risk management and international medical and security assistance provider, Healix International, has been working closely with clients around the world to bring their employees and students home before borders closed due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

With the situation changing rapidly, and differing vastly between countries and regions, Healix used its international network of experts to help clients navigate the crisis and repatriate their people located overseas, before it was too late and international travel became impossible.

For example, the University of Western Australia (UWA), contacted the Healix Global Security Operations Centre to assist with the repatriation of 160 students and staff members from around the world. Evacuees were spread across almost 20 countries, many deployed on fieldwork in isolated areas away from transport hubs, many with underlying medical conditions and many more having spouses and dependents requiring simultaneous repatriation.

Mike Webb, CEO of Healix International commented: “Managing this volume of evacuations can be challenging at the best of times, but with the additional complications of COVID-19-related travel disruption and border closures, there was a particular need for an efficient, well co-ordinated response. Of course, this is what Healix is built for and where our network excels. Some of those we were bringing home had non-COVID-19 medical conditions which had to be carefully considered when deciding on the best way to repatriate them, for which the input of Healix’s team of doctors, nurses and aeromedical specialists was invaluable.

Related Reading: iPMI Magazine Speaks With Mike Webb, CEO, Healix International

“Our international team worked closely together to navigate unique and exceptional challenges such as the varying degrees to which different countries had been impacted by the virus to date, obtaining necessary medical clearances, and finding flight routes through countries that were still permitting transit. To add to the challenge, every hour new border restrictions and flight cancellations were being announced – we had never experienced anything quite like it, yet the entire team rose to the challenge and showed huge skill and dedication which led to full repatriation of all those requiring homeward travel, and ongoing support for those who opted to stay where they are.”

During the mass repatriation Healix experienced several occasions where evacuees’ flights were cancelled. In one case a major airline suspended all flights after an evacuee had already undertaken the first leg of their journey.  However, because the Healix intelligence team were constantly monitoring each individual case, they were able to make alternative arrangements whenever necessary.

By providing timely updates, assessments and forecasting to the operations team, Healix was able to overcome these hurdles. Through a combination of commercial and charter flights, Healix repatriated all evacuees to their country of residence or origin.

The University of Western Australia’s Risk Management Team added: “We were impressed with the speed Healix was able to mobilise support for our staff and students across the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The range of resources Healix deployed showed an involved and connected network across the globe, providing direct hands-on support to our travellers, embassy support and efficient global communication. 

“Communication back to UWA was consistently of exceptional standard. And updates by email and telephone as required ensured we were always informed of the current situation in a changing environment. Healix’s transition and handover between on call contacts was seamless and we always felt assured in getting the same high level of service regardless of the hour.”

Mike Webb concluded: “These types of cases are where the Healix Global Security Operations Centre thrives and adds real value to a client’s risk management team. Although the global pandemic itself is an unprecedented event, we are well versed in undertaking evacuations and repatriations, supporting our clients with decisive, proactive and intelligence-led action which is also cost effective. We were delighted to have played a role in reuniting our clients with their families and friends before travel restrictions made it impossible to do so. And for those who have opted to remain in-country, Healix continues to provide medical and operational advice and support as required.”

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New Frontier Group Wins Cost Containment And Claims Management Company Of The Year At The 2019 ITIC Awards In Malta

New Frontier Group, www.newfrontiergroup.com, leader in Cost Containment and Global Assistance solutions, was named Winner of the ITIC Malta Awards 2019, for Cost Containment/Claims Management Company of the Year. 

The annual award, presented by the International Travel & Health Insurance Journal (ITIJ), was announced on Thursday, October 31st, 2019 in Malta, at the International Travel and Health Insurance Industry Conference (ITIC).

Each year ITIJ's Global Conference concludes with an award gala honoring companies for their outstanding contributions of excellence and innovation. Winners are selected by a panel of industry leaders who are experts in the area of the travel and health insurance industry.

As the recipient of the 2019 Cost Containment/Claims Management Company of the Year, New Frontier Group was selected from a large field of global competitors.  Most notably as the recipient of the 2019 Cost Containment/Claims Management award, New Frontier Group was presented this prestigious award based on recognition of outstanding achievement throughout the year.

Accepting the award before hundreds of industry associates, clients and guests, New Frontier Group President and CEO, Ms. Gitte Bach, and COO, Mr. Randall Condie, proudly acknowledged the other nominees in the category and Ms. Bach thanked and expressed her appreciation for the extraordinary performance of the New Frontier Group team which was watching the event live.

Ms. Bach states, "The last 12 months have been phenomenal for our company. I am so proud of the New Frontier Group team for its year-long dedication and commitment. Our team strives daily to provide superior client service and leverage the competitive advantage we have built using technological advancements to serve our clients, providing the very best global healthcare solutions.

Being awarded in this category at this year’s ITIC for 2019 Cost Containment/Claims Management Company of the Year and winning is extremely rewarding and we are truly grateful. We will continue our exciting journey and focus on service excellence, development, innovation and leadership."

About New Frontier Group

New Frontier Group is a global leader in Cost containment/Claims management and Global Assistance solutions. They act as first point of contact for worldwide International Insurance and Assistance Teams. New Frontier Group leads the travel and health insurance industry's global healthcare management services by providing a business suite of customized assistance, full-service solutions and cost savings for its worldwide clients.  New Frontier Group is an independently owned U.S. based International Company established in 2002.

Website: www.newfrontiergroup.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/frontier-international-group

 

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Healix International Identifies The Big Health Risks For Workers Travelling Across The Globe In 2019

Healix International, the global travel risk management and international medical and security assistance provider, has set out the big health challenges the company believes businesses sending employees abroad may face in 2019.

"Diseases that tend to be more associated with far-off regions remain top of the list of concerns – including Ebola, the Zika virus and Malaria. But employers also need to be mindful of the risks of some diseases that are just as common at home. For example, measles and mumps can present serious risks and both remain prevalent thanks to the fact that many parents shun the MMR vaccine. Employers therefore need to ensure that they're monitoring all health risks when posting staff abroad."

Ebola continues to be a high risk in Democratic Republic of Congo

As the number of cases of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo approaches 800, and fatalities almost 400, it is clear that this outbreak is far from over.

Now established as the second largest Ebola epidemic in history, further infections are to be expected far into 2019. A particular challenge in trying to bring these outbreaks under control is the resistance of local communities to accept the guidance of healthcare professionals.  The on-going militia activity in the region is also a major factor, halting vaccination and quarantine efforts, as well as causing the withdrawal of some healthcare experts many hundreds of miles away from Ebola-affected cities. If other epicentres of disease are established in neighbouring countries to DRC, as is feared, control of the epidemic will take much longer to establish.

Zika predictions for India and the Americas

Zika is likely to be widely reported in 2019, if not for new epidemics, then for the delayed consequences of past infection - only now receiving attention. Around 6% of babies infected in the womb will have profound neurological deformities resulting in microcephaly, the abnormally small head seen in many images of babies from Brazil during the 2016 epidemic. But what has only recently come to light, is that of those born with a normal appearance, a further 8% of babies can have developmental delay, movement problems, or even seizures.

It has also been predicted that in 2019 it is likely that further outbreaks will continue in India and its population of 1.3 billion.

Poorer tropical countries face potential increases in malaria cases

Although malaria cases are still counted in the hundreds of millions each year, deaths from this mosquito-borne disease have decreased by around 30% over the last decade. However, over the past year, epidemics of malaria have occurred in countries facing particular economic hardships including Venezuela and Angola. A reduction in mosquito prevention programmes, or simply a failure in basic hygienic measures such as refuse collection both lead to increase the environments permissive for mosquito propagation.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome a threat for workers

The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), is the severe respiratory infection that first produced a handful of cases in 2012. Since then over 2,000 individuals have been infected, mostly in Saudi Arabia and often caught directly from its animal host, the camel, after which the disease is particularly severe.

There is, however, also a risk to acquire the illness from MERS-infected patients, albeit the symptoms are generally milder - but this is not true for those who also have a chronic medical condition.  Understanding employees' health before they are posted to this region is therefore important, particularly as a low level of new MERS infections persists in the Middle East, and will continue to do so into 2019.

Predictions for cholera in Africa

2018 saw many outbreaks of cholera. From Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Niger, to Cameroon, Somalia, and the much-beset DRC, thousands of cases occurred, particularly in countries that have a compromised sanitation infrastructure.  In 2019, further epidemics of cholera are sadly inevitable as countries continue to have unsafe water provision, compounded by times of particular hardship.

Poor take-up of MMR vaccine perpetuates measles and mumps

Both measles and mumps saw outbreaks in 2018 and this is very likely to continue in 2019. The uptake of the MMR vaccine is still poor in many regions, not least Europe which still suffers from misconceptions concerning vaccines. Despite the MMR vaccine being shown to be safe, over 14,000 cases of measles alone were confirmed in 2018. Employers should therefore monitor reports of outbreaks – particularly where pregnant employees are travelling abroad.

Pandemic planning essential for 2019

The possibility of a bird flu capable of infecting humans continues to concern health experts. In recent years the bird flu, H7N9, has produced a modest number of infections in China; most associated with bird farmers or those who have had direct contact with poultry. Transmissibility between humans is poor with H7N9, however, meaning that an epidemic (or its big brother, the pandemic - during which transmission to several countries occurs) is very unlikely to occur.

However, as over the last century pandemics of other viruses have regularly resulted, many think that a novel bird flu might be a candidate for the next large pandemic. Whether this will occur in 2019, or in a later year, the important issue is to ensure that an organisation has adequate pandemic planning – knowing what to do when an outbreak occurs, reducing the risk for businesses and their employees.

Read more Healix International news on their iPMI Magazine micro news web site, click here.

 

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Save 25% When You Join iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory - Black Friday Sale Starts Now

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The IPMI industry use the iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory to source the best information and data on worldwide medical payors and providers. They may be searching for a new partner, looking for a contact number of a current provider, or researching the payor and provider market for future cross border network development.

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TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OFFER: Write to iPMI Magazine on ipmi[at}ipmimagazine.com

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Pages: 80+ (currently).

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Readership: 40,000 + unique readers PCM.

Classifications: IPMI, Assistance, Air Ambulance, Cost Containment And Claims Management, Funeral Directors, Ground Ambulance, Healthcare Insurance Management, Pharmacy Benefits Management.

 

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Healix International wins at EMEA Expatriate Management & Mobility Awards

Healix International, the global provider of travel risk management and international medical, security and travel assistance services was named International Healthcare & Risk Management Provider of the Year at last Friday’s FEM EMEA Expatriate Management & Mobility Awards (EMMAs) in London.  With a clear focus on delivering solutions underpinned by hands-on medical and security experts, the win reflected the fully integrated service model with both medical and security staff in the same office.

The judges said:  “Healix International should win for their benefit to organisations and individuals with their innovative, fully integrated Global Risk Management service and model of Nurses, Security Specialists and Travel Co-ordinators to eliminate delay and repetition.”

Commenting on the win, Mike Webb, CEO, Healix International said:  “As international travel is fundamental to commercial success in today’s global economy, it is crucial that employers can implement risk management strategies that put employee wellbeing front and centre.  The focus at Healix International is to provide a service that combines the best possible insight for risk mitigation, with hands-on expertise when support is required.  Having all our teams in-house and located in the same office further ensures that medical and security issues can be addressed efficiently and effectively.

“We are delighted that our service and expertise has been acknowledged by the EMMAs. Receiving the International Healthcare & Risk Management Provider of the Year Award demonstrates that Healix International is at the forefront of the employee risk management sector, with a commitment to innovation as well as a sustained focus on the highest standards of customer service.”

The entry by Healix International demonstrated the global footprint and expertise of the firm to deliver travel risk management and international medical, security and travel assistance services. Working on behalf of multinational corporations, governments, NGOs and insurers to look after the welfare of expatriates, business travellers, offshore workers and local nationals in every country of the world, Healix International helps employers fulfil their duty of care towards staff travelling and working abroad.

The Healix International integrated Global Travel Risk Management service provides an exceptional level of care for employees and an effective solution for employers.

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24 Hours Left - Save 25% When You Join iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory - OFFER ENDS 23RD Oct 2018

Commit to the IPMI industry and be seen each and every day in the right place at the right time by the right people: an active global audience of buyers and decision makers. 

Uniting industry leaders under 1 roof the iPMI Magazine provider network directory delivers all the pertinent company intelligence your business needs to navigate the complex world of IPMI.

The IPMI industry use the iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory to source the best information and data on worldwide medical payors and providers. They may be searching for a new partner, looking for a contact number of a current provider, or researching the payor and provider market for future cross border network development.

Cover Includes:

  • Complete inclusion in the e-magazine version of the directory;
  • 1 company micro website on ipmimagazine.com under the COMPANIES tab with 3 banners and all media modules;
  • Inclusion in main classification and the a-z section;

    Enter full screen click the small rectangle above ↑

The IPMI industry use the iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory to source the best information and data on worldwide medical payors and providers. They may be searching for a new partner, looking for a contact number of a current provider, or researching the payor and provider market for future cross border network development.

Rate Card: £5950 REDUCED TO £4462 FOR 1 ENTIRE YEAR!* 

*: OFFER ENDS 23rd Oct 2018

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OFFER: Write to iPMI Magazine on ipmi[at}ipmimagazine.com

Publication Frequency: Monthly.

Format: Digital, Online. Free to read, no registration required.

Pages: 80+ (currently).

Language: English.

Readership: 40,000 + unique readers PCM.

Classifications: IPMI, Assistance, Air Ambulance, Cost Containment And Claims Management, Funeral Directors, Ground Ambulance, Healthcare Insurance Management, Pharmacy Benefits Management.

 

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Save 25% When You Join iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory*

Commit to the IPMI industry and be seen each and every day in the right place at the right time by the right people: an active global audience of buyers and decision makers. 

Uniting industry leaders under 1 roof the iPMI Magazine provider network directory delivers all the pertinent company intelligence your business needs to navigate the complex world of IPMI.

The IPMI industry use the iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory to source the best information and data on worldwide medical payors and providers. They may be searching for a new partner, looking for a contact number of a current provider, or researching the payor and provider market for future cross border network development.

Cover Includes:

  • Complete inclusion in the e-magazine version of the directory;
  • 1 company micro website on ipmimagazine.com under the COMPANIES tab with 3 banners and all media modules;
  • Inclusion in main classification and the a-z section;

    Enter full screen click the small rectangle above ↑

The IPMI industry use the iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory to source the best information and data on worldwide medical payors and providers. They may be searching for a new partner, looking for a contact number of a current provider, or researching the payor and provider market for future cross border network development.

Rate Card: £5950 REDUCED TO £4462 FOR 1 ENTIRE YEAR!* 

*: OFFER ENDS 23rd Oct 2018

TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS OFFER: Write to iPMI Magazine on ipmi[at}ipmimagazine.com

Publication Frequency: Monthly.

Format: Digital, Online. Free to read, no registration required.

Pages: 80+ (currently).

Language: English.

Readership: 40,000 + unique readers PCM.

Classifications: IPMI, Assistance, Air Ambulance, Cost Containment And Claims Management, Funeral Directors, Ground Ambulance, Healthcare Insurance Management, Pharmacy Benefits Management.

 

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iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory October 2018

Uniting #IPMI industry leaders under 1 roof the October edition of iPMI Magazine provider network directory delivers all the pertinent company intelligence your business needs to navigate the complex world of IPMIClassifications covered include IPMI, Assistance, Air Ambulance, Cost Containment And Claims Management, Funeral Directors, Ground Ambulance, Healthcare Insurance Management, Pharmacy Benefits Management.

The IPMI industry use the iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory to source the best information and data on worldwide medical payors and providers. They may be searching for a new partner, looking for a contact number of a current provider, or researching the payor and provider market for future cross border network development.

    Enter full screen click the small rectangle above ↑

 

PAYORS AND PROVIDERS IN FOCUS:

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FUNERAL DIRECTORS

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PHARMACY BENEFITS MANAGEMENT

About iPMI Magazine Provider Network Directory

Publication Frequency: Monthly.

Format: Digital, Online. Free to read, no registration required.

Pages: 80+ (currently).

Language: English.

Readership: 40,000 + unique readers PCM.

Classifications: IPMI, Assistance, Air Ambulance, Cost Containment And Claims Management, Funeral Directors, Ground Ambulance, Healthcare Insurance Management, Pharmacy Benefits Management.

 

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