Sharing core values
Despite 2020’s overall decline in global travel, assistance companies continued to play a vital role getting travellers to safe locations and appropriate medical facilities during the pandemic—and at surprisingly normal levels. While the world’s total passengers decreased by 60 per cent compared to 2019, the number of assistance provider Generali’s medical transports only decreased by eight per cent last year. Air ambulance transports from locations lacking adequate medical care increased.
Post-pandemic travel continues to look a little different. Even as we slowly return to normal conditions and a world where we can travel without Covid-19 restrictions, access to quality medical transportation remains an important safeguard, particularly for international travellers, cruisers and those travelling to remote locations.
Chris Carnicelli, CEO of Generali Global Assistance, explained: “Our goal is to provide our travellers with the best medical transportation possible, and we work with dedicated, vetted providers around the globe to do that.
“Generali operates with a ‘We Care’ philosophy and it’s important that our medical transport partners share our core CARE values: Caring, Available, Reliable and Easy to Work With. Empathy is a key component of our caring principle. As an assistance company, it’s vital that we create proximity and empathy with our customers, and we seek medical transport partners that do the same.”
For a medical assistance company to be able to react to any global medical situation and demonstrate adaptability and flexibility, they will have to use quality medical transport companies of all types. This will ensure that patients can be moved from the place where they have contracted a medical issue to where they can receive the best possible treatment. An experienced medical transport company should also have the ability to have a patient they are moving to be prioritised by receiving medical providers, assistance provider AP Companies says.
it’s important that our medical transport partners share our core CARE values: Caring, Available, Reliable and Easy to Work With
“Our medical transport partners, whether they provide ground ambulance services, commercial air transportation or air ambulance evacuations, are thoroughly vetted prior to signing a contract with us,” said Carnicelli. “We ensure that an air ambulance partner’s fleet is operated by in-house pilots and that our partners employ fully trained, professional medical staff, including a medical director that our team of doctors can work with to coordinate the transport.”
Delivering medical transport services that align with Generali’s CARE values requires partners that are dedicated providers. As part of its vetting process, the company ensures that its air ambulance partners are dedicated air ambulance companies, the partner is not owned by any other entity and that the aircraft are strictly used for air ambulance purposes. The partner must also own, control, and maintain their own equipment. We verify that the partner operates a full fleet of planes, doesn’t use a broker, and has the appropriate aircraft for the necessary distances that may be required.
“The very best medical transport companies can easily demonstrate the various options available at the time of need, travel by air, by road, by sea or by rail: choices of medical providers and even moving a patient to different countries with the most appropriate facilities,” AP Companies’ Paul Weigall explained. “It may be that the best course of action is not to move a patient and to provide treatment ‘on site’. Medical transport companies should always have the staff and equipment to ensure that this can be done to the highest possible standard.”
According to Weigall, assistance companies have to be prepared for every scenario; after all, patients can become ill or have an accident in any part of the world and this can be in remote or difficult places to reach. So, when using a medical transport company, AP Companies’ operations team always checks the company has the capability to use whatever transport is needed to access any kind of terrain, situation and/or region. Once there, the company must have medical experts on hand, whether in person or through digital media, to assess and decide on the right course of action for the patient and have the language capability to communicate to all relevant stakeholders in any country. The AP Companies medical team works closely with local specialists to ensure the best and most efficient solution for its customers.
Carnicelli adds: “A traveller can experience any number of ailments while travelling, so it’s essential that our medical transport partners are properly equipped and prepared for this wide range of possibilities. Working with partners that own specific equipment to treat specific conditions means we’re prepared to handle any situation that any traveller might encounter.”
Unique challenges of Covid-19
Covid-19 presented unique challenges for medical transport providers. As a member of the global community, Generaliy recognised the need to work with partners that were adapting to the crisis and providing care that isolated and contained a potential spread of the virus. Generali looked for partners that provide patient isolation pods for Covid-19, Ebola and other infectious diseases when transporting patients and continue to seek partners that provide these solutions and other forward-thinking equipment as part of the company’s vetting process.
AP Companies concludes: “Finally, a medical assistance company is only ever as good as the third parties it uses to deliver their tasks. So, it is important that any medical transport company has the same values and standards as the assistance company has, such as meeting deadlines, accurately reporting, communicating regularly and empathetically and ensuring all facets of a task are delivered efficiently and optimally.”