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Aetna International’s CARE team: health care that reaches around the world

Combining both clinical and logistical expertise, Aetna International Care Management program is ultimately responsible for ensuring our customers receive high quality health care solutions wherever they are in the world.

The International Care Management team liaises with members and coordinates the activities of internal staff and care programmes, and external agencies, including hospitals, pharmacies and airlines, to support the treatment needs of members. Our ultimate aim is to try to make sure you always have access to high quality clinical treatments and ongoing care to support your needs, and the needs of eligible dependant family members.

A flexible approach

Customer care is a priority for Aetna International, and the care we offer extends beyond the delivery of clinical treatment when someone falls ill while living abroad. For us, good health care is a complete package, including prevention as well as cure. So, our approach includes providing members with pre-trip planning advice as well as expert support during medical emergencies to relieve the stress of members and their families during difficult situations.

“We try to adapt our service to meet your needs, rather than constraining you by our processes”

It also means making sure family needs are considered in all decisions, and facilitating post-operative treatment in regions where certain prescription medicines may be difficult to access. And since every health care need is different for every individual, it ultimately means we try to adapt our service to meet your needs, rather than constraining you by our processes.

Global network

There are thousands of partners in our quality global network. We work with many hospitals, pharmacies and health clinics, as well as individual doctors, specialists, dentists and counsellors. In addition, we have a well-established network of agencies that can provide transport and ambulance services in medical emergencies. And because our care is truly global, our relationships with agencies like national immigration and passport authorities, consulates and embassies, are crucial in ensuring that we provide the best health care solutions we can, wherever you are in the world.

The care management team: there to support

Our reach is genuinely global, stretching to some of the remotest parts of the world where even the most basic health care is lacking.

When one of our members — the daughter of a doctor working as a missionary in a remote part of Tanzania — fell ill with a rare intracranial infection, there was no chance of her being treated close to home.

As a doctor, our member had already arranged for his daughter to receive treatment in Kenya, with the aim of getting her well enough to travel to the U.S. for the surgery she needed. Our care management team was still able to support this process, covering costs already incurred, assessing the treatment when the patient was moved to another hospital, in South Africa, before covering costs for travel expenses and surgery that our member had pre-arranged in Pittsburgh.

Even in nations with more robust health care systems, our care management team is on hand for advice and assistance. One of our clients in Dubai, who was suffering from neck pains, was recommended for complex and potentially risky spinal surgery by his local physician, so our own clinical experts reviewed the case with the treating doctor, and together proposed an alternative procedure with the prospect of a better outcome for the patient. This treatment path met with agreement by the member’s family. The procedure was successfully carried out in the UK. Care coordination between us and your local physicians is an essential part of what we do in ensuring the best health outcomes for patients.

A complex case

And we go on caring after primary treatment has been received. When a missionary nun from a remote South Pacific Island, who was working in the U.S., developed leprosy, her treatment in the States proved to be quite complex. The proposed treatment required the use of thalidomide, a drug with a poor reputation, that’s nonetheless still effective for specific conditions, including leprosy.

Using thalidomide presented no issues during her time in the U.S., but when the patient was due to return home, it was clear that access to medicines at home would be a problem for her. She required five over-the-counter and 13 prescription medications, including thalidomide, which no one locally was trained to administer.

So the care management team got to work. It was decided she should remain in the U.S. until her thalidomide treatment was completed, a decision that required agreements with employers, medical teams and immigration authorities, among others. Once she was able to return home, we coordinated with our contracted suppliers in a variety of global locations to deliver the necessary medicines (all 11 of them) directly to her.

For Aetna International, this type of personalized assistance and intervention to provide the best possible health care results for our members is business as usual.

High quality network

Of course, the best outcomes for patients always depend on securing the best treatments available, and a huge part of Aetna International’s remit is to ensure our network offers high standards of quality care. We have a robust system for checking the credentials of the hospitals and partners we work with.

But more than that, we can help to ensure that the treatment proposed is the most appropriate, and most likely to deliver the best long-term outcomes for our members. That's not a trivial statement, and its simplicity hardly does justice to the effort that goes in to the process. Yet it’s what our care management team does every day: managing and coordinating the activities of many dedicated professionals and support services all over the world, so our customers can be confident of receiving the best possible health care wherever they happen to be.

For more information on the end-to-end health and wellness support services available for members, please contact one of our expert sales consultants. If you have enjoyed reading this article, we recommend you read these next:

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