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International SOS Clinics In Tianjin And Tianjin TEDA Remain Open

The fire at a logistics facility in the Binhai Port area of Tianjin Municipality resulted in two large explosions on 12th August at around 11.20pm. 

Immediately after the explosion International SOS staff provided triage and first aid treatment for the seriously injured. In addition, International SOS sent a team to Tianjin to ensure continued support to our clients and members. 

Both International SOS clinics in Tianjin and Tianjin TEDA remain open.

The authorities have given the following travel advice:

• Avoid the vicinity of the fire and explosion in Binhai until the situation has normalised.
• Follow all directives issued by the authorities, and observe any exclusion zones and road closures established around the site of the explosion.
• Anticipate traffic disruption in coming hours in Tianjin, particularly in and around the Binhai area, due to road closures and related safety measures.
• International SOS clients are encouraged to monitor travel security alerts for further developments.

For additional information or support, International SOS clients please call the Beijing Assistance Centre on (0)10 6462 9100.


Employers Plan To Expand Use Of Onsite Health Centers

Nearly four in 10 (38%) large U.S. employers with onsite health facilities plan to add new centers over the next two years, according to new research by global professional services company Towers Watson (NASDAQ:TW). The Towers Watson 2015 Employer-Sponsored Health Care Centers Survey found these employers to be confident that onsite or near-site health centers improve the health and productivity of their employees.

A majority of the 120 responding employers that already have onsite or near-site health facilities, or are planning to implement them, share these objectives for their centers: increase productivity (75%), reduce health care costs (74%) and improve convenient employee access to health care services (66%). Nearly all centers also offer a similar range of primary care services. Immunizations (99%), care for acute conditions such as upper respiratory and urinary tract infections (99%), and blood draws (95%) top the list.

“For employers with a critical mass of employees in one or more locations, onsite and near-site health centers can be an integral component of a high-performance health care program,” said Dr. Bruce Hochstadt, senior consultant at Towers Watson. “Encouraged by their experience to date, many employers with these centers believe providing convenient access to health services increases employee productivity by reducing time away from work. What’s more, many are ready to increase their investment.”


By 2018, two-thirds of survey respondents (66%) expect to expand or enhance the already broad services they offer. In addition, employers expect their centers to play an even greater role — above and beyond their current use — in the management and coordination of employee wellness. Wellness programs are already available at 86% of centers, and lifestyle coaching to promote and reinforce behavior changes is currently offered at nearly two-thirds (63%).

Employers have also been expanding the scope of their onsite and near-site health centers beyond primary care. Half of employer-sponsored health centers now offer some type of pharmacy services, a considerable increase from 38% in 2012. “Pharmacy services interest employers because they offer convenient access to prescription drugs for employees, encourage medication compliance and help decrease overall medical and pharmacy spend,” said Dr. Allan Khoury, senior consultant at Towers Watson.

Another interesting finding is the growth in telemedicine. More than one-third (35%) offer telemedicine services, with another 12% planning to in the next two years. “Telemedicine and onsite health centers are perfect complements,” adds Khoury. “They help employers make it easy for employees and other eligible members to see a doctor and get informed medical expertise — even on evenings and weekends. They also support an overall employer strategy of keeping workers productive and eliminating wasteful costs such as unnecessary emergency room visits.”

Outsourcing to vendors is the most popular option (64%) for managing staffing and services at the health centers. Roughly one-quarter of survey respondents (23%) report that they run the centers themselves, and almost one-fifth (18%) use local or regional provider groups or health systems.


Given cost control pressures, more employers are now measuring their centers’ ROI. Three in four (75%) employers with onsite health centers calculate their ROI, up significantly from 47% in 2012. However, just 12% of employers have the analysis performed by an independent third party; 33% use their vendors, and 30% rely on internal staff analysis.

Towers Watson’s experience demonstrates that employer-sponsored health centers’ ROI is highly dependent upon employee utilization and staffing levels, for example, clinics increase preventive care while decreasing emergency department and inpatient use. Members with higher health risk scores are more likely to use the employer-sponsored health center, and using the center to refer them to a preferred network of specialists can lead to substantial cost savings.

Other notable survey findings include:

  • The more the better. Of employers that sponsor onsite or near-site health centers, 40% have two to five centers.
  • Staying power. More than half of employers (56%) have had onsite health centers for over five years.
  • Accessibility is essential. Many centers offer employees access during extended hours: 55% are open before 8:00 a.m.; 32% are open after 5:00 p.m., and 16% are open on weekends.


The Towers Watson 2015 Employer-Sponsored Health Care Centers Survey surveyed mid- to senior-level benefit professionals from 137 U.S. employers in February-March 2015. Out of the respondents, 105 currently offer employer-sponsored health centers, and 15 are planning to offer by 2018. Collectively, the respondents offering ESHCs represent 4.6 million employees. The survey provides a snapshot of 2015 to gain insight into the goals, operations and performance of onsite and near-site health centers, and the key actions organizations anticipate taking over the next few years.


Al Wakra Outpatient Department to Start Fixed Time Appointments

From 8 December 2013, Al Wakra Hospital will be implementing a new fixed time appointment system for outpatient appointments, which will ensure patients see the right doctor at the right time.

The new system will also give priority to urgent or critical cases. Under the new system, if a patient in Al Wakra is referred to see a specialist by their Primary Healthcare doctor, this referral will go straight to the Referral Management Office at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). There, a specialist will review the patient’s case and determine the level of urgency.

A hospital representative will then call the patient to arrange an appointment within the clinically advised time frame and at a convenient time for the patient. This means that there will be no need to visit the Outpatient Department at Al Wakra Hospital to book an appointment if a referral has been made from Primary Health Care. If a patient is referred from a private doctor, they should visit Al Wakra in person with their referral and their referral will be sent to the Referral Management Office, to be handled in the same way as those referrals from Primary Healthcare.

Executive Director of the Center for Healthcare Improvement, Mr. Nasser Al Naimi, whose team has developed the new system, said that it is all about patient centered care. “The new system is very beneficial to patients. It means they know they will see the right specialist to treat their condition, because their referral has been assessed by a doctor. It also saves the patient referred from Primary Healthcare from travelling to the hospital to fix their appointment, as our call center team will phone them to arrange an appointment for the right time, based on clinical advice. All patients will also receive reminder phone calls about their appointments a few days before so they don’t forget.” Mr. Al Naimi explained.

Chief Executive Officer of Al Wakra Hospital, Mr. Wilson Ross, sees the new appointment system as a valuable service enhancement as it prioritizes patients according to clinical needs and offers the convenience of a fixed time for specialist consultation. “With a properly assessed referral and fixed time appointment system in our Outpatient Department, we have the opportunity to improve patient access, reduce waiting times in the clinics, and help ensure patients receive the attention and care they need, when they need it. The implementation of the fixed appointment system is a vital part of HMC’s commitment to providing the safest, most effective and compassionate care to our patients.”

This is part of the ongoing roll out of a fixed time appointment system across Hamad Medical Corporation. Hamad General Hospital, the Department of Dentistry, Women’s Hospital, Al Khor Hospital and the Maxillofacial Department all provide a fixed time appointment system for outpatients.

To ensure clinics run smoothly for the benefit of all patients, HMC is asking all patients to respect their appointment times and arrive at least 15 minutes early, in case any pre-assessment is required.

If they are unable to keep their appointment, they should call the Patient Contact Center ahead of time on +974 4439 5777 to reschedule a new appointment at a time convenient for them.


Egypt Travel Advice and Warnings: Demonstrations Planned for October 19th 2013 Central Cairo and Alexandria

Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel to Egypt.

Opposing groups have called for demonstrations in central Cairo and Alexandria on 19 November 2013 and there is a risk of demonstrations in other cities. You are strongly advised to avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings and be alert for signs of tension. On 3 and 6 October there were political protests in Cairo and other cities in Egypt that resulted in more than 50 deaths. If you become aware of any nearby protests, leave the area immediately. Don’t attempt to cross road blocks erected by the security forces or protesters. There is a serious risk of violence and sexual assault at demonstrations. NGOs report more than 100 rapes and sexual assaults against women in demonstrations since 30 June. Foreign and Egyptian women have been attacked.

For medical and travel assistance in Egypt visit Egypt In Touch Assistance at

About Egypt In Touch Assistance

Egypt In Touch Assistance provides Medical and non medical assistance all over Egypt especially in remote areas. It is the first ISO9001:2008 certified, highly proficient company committed to provide medical, technical and life style assistance services in Egypt in order to increase service quality and to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the overall organization's performance. The strength of the company is the mastering and understanding of the cultural and geographical nature of the different areas in Egypt, also full exploration of the complexity of the Egyptian medical and travel business.

Our Mission is to keep cost always to minimum without affecting the quality of the services applying our unique policy of cost control. Our Goals are to be the leading assistance company in Egypt and the Middle East, providing medical and non-medical assistance services and to be a valuable resource to which all insurance and assistance companies refer when seeking a reliable partner in our area.

The key to our success is our local presence and know how, committed staff, customer focus and quality and transparency in our case processing. 

To find a suitable medical health or travel insurance plan for travel in Egypt, visit the iPMI magazine medical insurance company guide, click here.


Liberia Travel Advice and Warnings: Muggings in the Sinkor Beach Area of Monrovia

The small British Embassy and Honorary Consul in Monrovia can only offer limited consular assistance. There is a low threat from terrorism. Take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance before you travel.

The FCO advise against all but essential travel to Grand Gedeh and River Gee counties where there have been reports of armed groups living near the border with Côte d’Ivoire. The ability of the national authorities and the UN to provide emergency help outside Monrovia is limited. Check the security situation before travelling to any part of the country.

Violent incidents, particularly in rural areas, are possible as a result of land disputes, illegal mining and occupation of rubber plantations.

Illegal rubber tappers have been responsible for a number of attacks on security forces in the Firestone rubber plantation. Avoid travelling away from the major routes within the plantation.

Organised groups of former combatants may be present in areas of the country where there is limited government and UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) presence, including Sinoe rubber plantation and Sapo National Park. The Samuel K Doe Stadium in Monrovia can become overcrowded during major football matches or events.

There is a high level of crime in Monrovia, including armed robbery. The Liberian National Police has very limited capability to prevent or detect crime, or to provide emergency response in any part of the country. Levels of crime are much higher after dark. Don’t walk anywhere in the city at night.

Take care when walking alone and only do so during daylight hours in areas frequented by foreigners. Most crime is opportunistic theft, but there are organised criminal gangs. Thieves are often armed with knives or machetes, but occasionally also carry firearms. While Liberians are the main victims of crime, the relative wealth of international visitors makes them an attractive target for criminals. Avoid carrying valuables in public and be vigilant at all times, especially at night.

Mobile phones and laptops are common targets of theft. Foreigners have been mugged in the Mamba Point and Sinkor areas of Monrovia (including Sinkor beach in broad daylight), where most international visitors stay. Be wary if you are approached by strangers. Criminals also operate in nightclubs and beaches.

Accommodation occupied by international workers has occasionally been targeted by burglars. Thefts have occurred in taxis. You should avoid local public transport. There is a high incidence of rape in Liberia and there have been cases of rapes and attempted rapes involving foreign women.

Take extra care when driving in heavy traffic or off the main roads. Consider your security arrangements carefully before your arrival in Liberia.

Make sure you are supported by a reliable organisation with a comprehensive and adequate security plan.

Stay only in reputable accommodation with adequate guarding and other security arrangements, and arrange for transport for the duration of your stay, including travel to and from the airport.

Roberts International Airport is around 30 miles from central Monrovia, much of the journey passing through rural areas.

Liberia Travel Advice and Warnings: Muggings in the Sinkor Beach Area of Monrovia


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