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Apollo Hospitals Group, The Leading Healthcare Provider In India, Has Been Accredited As Preferred Provider Of International Assistance Group

International Assistance Group (IAG), the world’s largest alliance of independent assistance companies recently accredited Apollo Hospitals Group as Preferred Provider for all clients in need of emergency medical care in India.  

As India’s first corporate hospital, the Apollo Hospitals Group has a robust presence across the healthcare spectrum and has emerged as one of the foremost integrated healthcare providers in Asia.

Starting in 1983 with a 150-bed hospital, the Group now operates 9,200 beds across 64 hospitals and has the distinction of receiving the country’s first Joint Commission International (JCI) Accreditation in 2005 and this year the company has been accredited as Preferred Provider Hospital for International Assistance Group (IAG).

The Group’s legacy of ‘touching lives’ stems from the four pillars of their philosophy – excellence, expertise, empathy and innovation. It has touched the lives of over 45 million patients from 121 countries. This focus on quality has become one of the group’s strongest credentials. It is the one of the building blocks in the trust of Apollo brand.

“We are honored to count with five Apollo Hospitals (in Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, and New Delhi), which are now accredited as the IAG Preferred Providers in India. Over the past years we have seen an increase in tourism in India; in consequence our clients need medical services that adhere to the highest international standards. Apollo Hospitals has proven to be the healthcare system in India that our Partners can rely on,” mentioned Cécile Hermetz, General Manager, International Assistance Group.

Apollo has set up an International Patient Services Division to ensure that the experience of overseas patients is safe, comfortable and hassle-free. Apollo’s International Patient Services offer a host of additional services such as: airport pick-up & transportation, accommodation, direct admission arrangements, scheduling of appointments, language assistance, liaison services with insurance companies and travel related assistance.

The Group has dedicated Centers of Excellence for several key specialties. They are unique and state of the art facilities spread across several of the Apollo hospital location and each Centre of Excellence stands out as a citadel of quality.

Apollo considers as their prime responsibility to provide high quality clinical care to all patients, putting the patient at the core of their operations. The Group has developed robust quality standards, used expert diagnoses and treatment plans and enhanced infection and safety protocols to render patients the most appropriate treatment. Centers of Excellence include: Heart Institutes, Cancer Institutes, Spine Surgery, Institute of Neurosciences, Critical Care, Institute of Robotic Surgery, Institute of Orthopedics, Institutes of Transplant, Nephrology & Urology, Institutes of Gastroenterology, Institutes of Robotic Surgery, Preventive Medicine, and Institute of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Technology driven

At Apollo, healthcare systems leverage technology to build integrated healthcare delivery models, which facilitate seamless electronic medical records, hospital Information systems and telemedicine-based health outreach initiatives, for enhanced access to medical care.

Another critical manifestation of widespread technology has been the amazing advancement in medical equipment and Apollo has repeatedly pioneered the introduction of such innovations in India – Robotics, Cyberknife, Novalis TX, 320 Slice CT Scanner, TrueBeam, PET Suite, Proton Beam.

International Assistance Group is proud and pleased that its network of Partners is able to rely on the excellence of Apollo Hospitals, a pioneer of modern day emergency care in India.


IHH Healthcare Posts 74% Jump In Q4 Net Profit On Exceptional Gains

IHH Healthcare Berhad, the world's second-largest listed private healthcare provider based on market capitalisation, on Thursday posted a 74 per cent jump in net profit for the fourth quarter of 2015 to RM415.8 million (S$138.3 million), as a result of exceptional gains.

These gains include revaluation gain of RM49.2 million on investment properties, investment tax allowance granted of RM93.1 million and exchange gain on non-Turkish Lira denominated loans of RM121.3 million. Excluding the exceptional items, profit after tax and minority interests (Patmi) for the quarter was down 11 per cent year on year to RM214.6 million.

Revenue for the three months ended Dec 31, 2015, grew 18 per cent to RM2.3 billion, driven by sustained organic growth at existing hospitals and ramp up of its newer hospitals. These include the Acibadem Atakent Hospital and Acibadem Taksim Hospital in Turkey, as well as Pantai Hospital Manjung, Gleneagles Medini Hospital and Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu Hospital in Malaysia.

The consolidation of newly acquired Continental and Global Hospitals in India also contributed RM44.4 million to the group's Q4 revenue. For the full year, net profit went up 24 per cent to RM933.9 million, while revenue grew 15 per cent to RM8.5 billion. Excluding exceptional gains, Patmi in 2015 grew 15 per cent year on year to RM899.2 million.

The group has declared a first and final dividend of 3 sen per share for the full year. As at end December 2015, the group has RM2 billion in cash and cash equivalents. Net gearing increased to a still-healthy and manageable 0.19 times from 0.08 times as end December 2014, on planned capital expenditure and allocation of cash into money market funds and fixed deposit.

"IHH expects to face continued headwinds from the slowing economies and fluctuation of regional currencies in the countries it operates in. However, we are confident that the robust demand for quality private healthcare services in the region, especially in India and China, continues to present growth opportunities for IHH," the group said.


Bupa Chief Legal Officer Announces Plan To Retire

Bupa announced the intention of Chief Legal Officer Paul Newton to retire at the end of the year, after 29 years of service. 

Paul joined Bupa as a legal adviser in 1987. He became Bupa’s General Counsel in 2005 and joined the Bupa Executive Team in 2013.  

Stuart Fletcher CEO Bupa paid tribute to Paul’s contribution and commitment to the organisation.  

"Whilst I'm personally very sorry to be losing Paul from the company and the Bupa Executive Team I fully understand and respect his decision to retire following 29 years of outstanding service. 

"Paul has built our Legal function into an externally recognised world-class team. I value his counsel, experience and contribution immensely.  He has been a true champion of Bupa’s values and purpose and has played a key role in the development of many long-term careers at Bupa. His deep commitment to growing others has enabled us to set a standard for leadership across the global Legal function that few organisations can match.   The appointment of Penny as Paul's successor is evidence of the effective talent management framework we have established."

Penny Dudley, currently Director of Legal and Corporate Affairs, Bupa Global Market Unit, will succeed Paul and be appointed Chief Legal Officer from 1 April 2016.  She will also join the Executive Team from the same date.  

Penny joined Bupa in 2010 as a Head of Legal for Bupa's international health insurance business and has held a number of roles within the organisation before being appointed Legal Director for Bupa Global in May 2013.  

Paul will remain a member of the Bupa Executive Team ahead of his retirement and will work closely with Penny during the transition period, acting as Bupa’s General Counsel and leading a number of specific significant business projects.


Carter Review Says Hospitals Must Standardise Procedures

Implementing the recommendations will help end variations in quality of care and finances that cost the NHS billions, Lord Carter has advised Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt in his final report. The executive summary is available and the full report will be published shortly. His review found unwarranted variation in running costs, sickness absence, infection rates and prices paid for supplies and services.

As part of the review, a ‘model hospital’ has been developed which will advise NHS trusts on the most efficient allocation of resources and allows hospitals to measure performance against other trusts.

Following the model hospital examples could save hospitals £5 billion a year by 2020 to 2021 and put an end to the variations the review uncovered across the NHS, including:

  • average running costs for a hospital (£ per square metre) vary from £105 at one trust to as high as £970 for another
  • infection rates for hip and knee replacements vary from 0.5 to 4%
  • prices paid by different hospitals for hip replacements range from £788 to £1,590
  • the use of floor space - one trust uses 12% for non-clinical purposes and another uses as much as 69%
  • sickness absence rates differ from 3.1% to 5%

As well as reviewing hospitals across England, Lord Carter’s review looked at healthcare systems abroad, including in the US, Germany, Australia, Italy and France where hospitals have a greater focus on efficiency because they have established the clear link it has with patient care.

Lord Carter said, "My experience of the NHS and hospitals internationally is that high quality patient care and sound financial management go hand in hand. To improve the quality of care hospitals must grasp resources more effectively, especially staff, which account for more than 60 pence of every pound hospitals spend. Giving hospitals the tools and support to better manage resources will make it easier for boards to follow the example of the best trusts and mean every patient can receive the same world class care and taxpayers will also receive a fairer return on their significant investment in the NHS."

Acute NHS trusts spend £55.6 billion every year, £33.9 billion of which goes on staffing. Lord Carter estimates a 1% improvement in staff productivity will save the NHS £280 million a year, which equates to hospitals using new working methods that would save every member of staff 5 minutes on an 8 hour shift.

Other areas covered by the report include:

  • staffing: the review calls for an improvement in the way the NHS deploys its staff, ending the use of outdated and inefficient paper rosters
  • procurement: as part of the review, from April 2016, trusts will publish their receipts on a monthly basis for the top 100 items bought by the NHS such as bandages, needles and rubber gloves
  • use of floor space: trusts’ unused floor space should not exceed 2.5%, and floor space used for non-clinical purposes should not exceed 35%
  • administration costs: these should not exceed 7% by 2018 and 6% by 2020
  • delayed transfers of care: Lord Carter has called for action to be taken on the ‘major problem’ of delayed transfers of care, which affects hospitals and trusts’ earning and spending capacity
  • working with neighbouring hospitals: Lord Carter advises trusts to work closely with their neighbouring hospitals, sharing services and resources to improve efficiency and reduce costs

Lord Carter was asked to carry out the review by Jeremy Hunt as part of his aim to make the NHS the safest and most efficient healthcare system in the world. The efficiency expert has spent the last 18 months visiting hospitals across the country and reviewing productivity to ensure the NHS gets the best value from its £102 billion annual budget and help the NHS to implement a 7-day service.

Jeremy Hunt said, "I want to make the NHS the safest healthcare system in the world, capable of providing the same world class care every day of the week, powered by a culture of transparency and learning. This groundbreaking review will help hospitals care for patients, making sure every penny possible is spent on frontline patient care and bureaucracy is slashed so doctors and nurses can concentrate on caring. I’m grateful to Lord Carter, his team and those trusts involved in identifying the recommendations and urge all trusts to implement them immediately."

Lord Carter will continue to engage with and support trusts to achieve the efficiency improvements they can make over the coming months. NHS Improvement (NHSI) will lead the implementation of the recommendations and Lord Carter will become a non-executive director of the regulator in April. Lord Carter has also called for trusts to have closer support and management from NHSI, both locally and nationally, to ensure the review is fully implemented across all trusts.


New Online Claims Tool For Expats And Business Travelers

SOS International has launched a new online self-service tool for expats and business travelers on This new tool makes it possible for all expatriates and business travelers to file a claim anywhere, anytime at their convenience.

The tool makes sure that all relevant information and documentation is enclosed to the application which entails a more smooth and quick claims handling process to the benefit of both the insurance company and the policy holder.

The development of this tool is part of SOS International’s digital development approach and a response to the demand from the market. Today, policy holders want to be able to service themselves when it suits them and not abide to office opening hours and heavy case handling processes entailing paper work and sending documentation by regular mail.

To access the online solution, follow this link.


Punter Southall Health & Protection Launches Post Hospital Service

Following the launch of its Med24 GP app in October 2015, Punter Southall Health & Protection, one of the largest health and protection advisers in the UK, has continued its innovative approach to healthcare and protection benefits with the launch of a unique Post Hospital Discharge product.

Available to all employers wishing to extend their health and wellness benefits at a minimal cost per member, it bridges the gap between discharge from hospital and full recovery.

The Post Hospital Service has been designed to look after employees when they come out of hospital after a stay of 48 hours or longer. The stay can be for any reason (except pregnancy), whether planned or emergency, and includes NHS or private care and so is relevant to the whole work force, not just those in a corporate health scheme.

To create the service Punter Southall Health & Protection has teamed up with Red Arc Personal Nurse Advisers and Collinson Group to offer seamless, medical, emotional and practical support for employees when they come out of hospital.

As well as unlimited nurse adviser support, the service provides help at home by high quality, Care Quality Commission (CQC) accredited, domiciliary care providers. This practical help is tailored to each person’s needs and can include a variety of services such as personal care, domestic duties, collecting prescriptions and arranging transport to appointments.

Commenting on the new service Jan Lawson, Executive Director of Punter Southall Health & Protection said, “Being medically well enough to leave hospital is not the same as being better. Extra support after returning home is often necessary, but rarely provided. Everyone is different and this product combines practical help, emotional support and a personalised “Get well, Stay Well plan” for an unlimited period.”

Adds Lawrence Watts, Business Development Director, Insurance & Assistance, Collinson Group, ‘We are delighted to be working with Punter Southall Health & Protection as it continues to broaden the offer of innovative Health and Protection products and services to its employers and their members.  We look forward to working alongside Punter Southall Health and Protection by providing first class assistance in the form of practical help through our accredited domiciliary care network at a time when it is needed most.’

By helping to support full recovery, the service will benefit employees and their families as well as the sponsoring employer, who will be seen as a caring employer, while assisting members to return to work more quickly and having less chance of relapse or future illness.


AXIS Capital Subsidiary Granted License To Establish Dubai Office

AXIS Capital Holdings Limited today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary AXIS Re SE was granted a license by the Dubai Financial Services Authority on December 8, 2015, to establish a representative office in the Dubai International Financial Centre.

The AXIS Re SE Dubai Representative Office will focus on marketing accident and health specialty reinsurance in the Middle East and Africa.

AXIS Re SE is a composite reinsurance company headquartered in Ireland, which is authorized and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland to carry on non-life and life reinsurance business.

AXIS Capital is a Bermuda-based global provider of specialty lines insurance and treaty reinsurance with shareholders’ equity attributable to AXIS Capital at September 30, 2015 of $5.8 billion and locations in Bermuda, the United States, Europe, Singapore, Canada, Australia and Latin America. Its operating subsidiaries have been assigned a rating of “A+” (“Strong”) by Standard & Poor’s and “A+” (“Superior”) by A.M. Best.



UnitedHealthcare And Optum Act To Support People Affected By Idaho Wildfires

UnitedHealthcare and Optum are taking immediate action to help people affected by ongoing wildfires in a number of counties across Idaho.

This includes a free emotional-support line to help people in the affected communities, and assisting health plan participants who may be affected and need to make alternate arrangements to ensure continuity of care.

  • Free Help Line: Optum, a leading health and behavioral health services company, is offering a free emotional-support help line.

The toll-free number, 866-342-6892, will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for as long as necessary. The service is free of charge and open to anyone. Specially trained Optum mental health specialists help people manage their stress and anxiety so they can continue to address their everyday needs. Callers may also receive referrals to community resources to help them with specific concerns, including financial and legal matters.

Along with the toll-free help line, emotional-support resources and information are available online at

  • Help Finding a Network Care Provider, Early Refills: Plan participants who need help finding a care provider in the UnitedHealthcare network or obtaining early prescription refills can call customer care at the number located on the back of their medical ID card.

For plan participants who may have misplaced their medical ID card, call 866-633-2446, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. (in the local time zone), Monday through Friday. People enrolled in employer-sponsored and individual health plans who have a smartphone can download the free Health4Me app, which provides instant access to their ID card, network care providers, their personal health benefits and more. The Health4Me app is available as a free download at the Apple iTunes App Store and the Android Market on Google Play.


XVIII - The Centre for Advanced Screening Opens Its Doors

XVIII – The Centre for Advanced Screening where senior executives can undergo the most sophisticated and detailed health screening has opened in Devonshire Street, London, 

The brainchild of fifteen of the world’s leading doctors, the XVIII programme targets the six of the biggest killer diseases of modern times: bowel cancer, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, pelvic cancers and prostate cancer.  Early detection of these conditions can save lives. 

XVIII goes beyond traditional well man and well women tests by combining a thorough assessment of an individual’s risk factors with the very latest diagnostic technology, all of which exists under the same roof.  The programme is intended to guide very time-pressured men and women at the top of their professions towards a personal programme of lifetime management of their risk of future disease.   Clients include chairmen and chief executives of major organisations, leading entrepreneurs for whom life brings with it high levels of pressure and stress or simply people seeking the most thorough advanced screening available. 

Apart from conventional and state of the art scanning investigations, XVIII uses a number of innovative tests.  For example, cardiac disease is still the UK’s biggest killer and the centre carries out the newly developed online calculator of cardiovascular risk – “Heart Age” - faced by individuals. 

All tests with abnormal results are interpreted by world renowned specialists who themselves are driving change and innovation and thereby enhancing the reputation of London as a world class centre of medical excellence. 

The chair of the programme’s clinical board is Professor Roger Kirby, a pioneer in new treatments for prostate cancer and other urological conditions.  Professor Kirby is Founder and  Medical Director of The Prostate Centre, London and former Head of Urology and Co-Director of Postgraduate Medical Education at St George’s Hospital, London. 

“We all share a common obsession.  Passionately believing that early detection of disease saves lives, we know that many currently available health screens fall well short of achieving their aim - or rather your aim, since it is your health and your future at stake.” 

“At XVIII we have access to game changing technology which gives us dramatically improved means of detecting killer diseases – while at the same time reducing or eliminating the risks of the tests themselves.” 

“It is this that has brought us together to offer clients the opportunity to learn more about their health and to take control and manage their health into the future.  Our very personalised service is simply not available elsewhere.” 


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.

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