Sharp HealthCare’s Global Patient Services department was accredited as Preferred Provider of International Assistance Group® (IAG), a Paris-based global network of more than 60 companies that provide medical, roadside and travel assistance to millions of expatriate, business and leisure travelers each year.
Sharp is only the second U.S. health system to be named an IAG Preferred Provider following the selection of Broward Health International of Fort Lauderdale to the organization last year. Consumers who use International Assistance Group Partner companies for travel assistance now have access to health care providers on both coasts that are experienced in caring for domestic (or U.S.) and foreign tourists requiring emergency medical care. Both systems also assist the international consumers with access to medical experts for non-emergency medical care and elective procedures.
“Our location on the border of Mexico gives Americans living or traveling in Mexico, Central and South America and beyond convenient access to U.S. medical care when an emergency occurs abroad,” said Jacquie Schwoerke, Sharp’s Director of Global Patient Services. “Each year we help coordinate the emergency transport of more than 300 American tourists and expatriates to a Sharp facility from Mexico and other nations. Many of these patients are trauma cases who arrive by air ambulance and are in need of expert medical care as quickly as possible.”
Schwoerke expects Sharp will see an increase in patients coming from abroad as a result of its affiliation with International Assistance Group, which provides assistance to travelers 24 hours a day, seven days a week around the world. Schwoerke strongly advocates that world travelers, whether crossing the border into Mexico or taking a cruise to Hawaii, always purchase medical evacuation insurance.
“No one likes to think about a medical emergency while on vacation, but the truth is that it does happen to many travelers each year, and if you are not prepared the financial impact can be as catastrophic as the illness or injury,” added Sharp’s Director. For example, the cost of an air ambulance ride from southern Baja California back to San Diego can easily cost in excess of $25,000 without medical evacuation insurance. Having the right policy, which often is available for less than $100, eliminates that huge out-of-pocket expense.
Sharp’s Global Patient Services team serves patients who become ill or injured while traveling abroad around the clock every day of the year. To contact the department toll free in an emergency call: From the United States, call 1-888-265-1513. From outside the United States, call 001-888-265-1513.