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Meet Cigna's Doctors on the Ground

26 JuLY 2018

Over 100 doctors and nurses and over 180 medical consultants worldwide

By Dr Inge Schrever, Associate Medical Director

After ten years of working in humanitarian aid, I joined Cigna to help people working all over the world access quality and affordable medical care.

Before I joined Cigna, I worked for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). I qualified as a doctor, had a year in an emergency room and then spent ten years abroad working in the humanitarian world. I worked in some very remote regions where you were the only health care option. So you knew that whatever you did, you were saving lives.

When I worked in Zimbabwe, I would see people with HIV arrive in wheelbarrows. These were people who had been very sick for years and they would come in and start their HIV treatment and within a few months, these people would be up, walking and talking – you really knew you were making a difference.

With Cigna, we often visit medical providers in different countries. We visit them to see what they’re capable of and how the operation works – you can’t just choose a place because it looks modern or professional. We’ve seen hospitals with very nice, modern buildings but no doctors available. We have a way of assessing providers to help customers get quality care, and better value as well.

We have an intimate knowledge of what’s possible in different parts of the world. For instance, Cigna has hundreds of thousands of covered members working or living in Africa, so knowing the context of every situation is essential. We deal with a lot of repatriation and evacuation and we have to know which country you can do what in. Also, on the medical front, if someone is seriously injured and needs an intensive care unit (ICU) but we know a certain country doesn’t have a good one, we have to look at options for helping the member leave the country.

Our team helps members understand their choices for medical providers. We'll show members the options they have in our network and it’s our job to help ensure they don’t pay more than they need to.

Our clinical support team follows up on our members’ cases. We don’t just assess a case and then leave it to the provider. For instance, if someone has cancer they'll have a dedicated case manager (a trained nurse) who will look after that case and always maintain contact with the member. If they can’t talk to the provider, then our case managers are at hand to answer questions and ease worries.

All our clinical support staff speak at least two languages, but the majority speak three. We have many different nationalities covering many different parts of the world. We have nurses based in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America – all over the world.