Medical Emergencies on Travel
LBNL travelers may be covered by multiple forms of insurance while on business travel. The exact details depend on regulations and contracts too complex to quote here, but some general advice follows:
Personal Health Insurance: LBNL's health insurance for covered employees can provide services out of the Northern California area, according to their individual policies. Travelers are encouraged to carry the telephone number for their plan and contact the plan prior to seeking care when possible. Except for the Blue Cross PPO plan, the medical plans only provide emergency/urgent care service outside of the service plan area. Here is a link to the UC medical plan contacts http://atyourservice.ucop.edu/directories_contacts/health_welfare_contacts.html
Workers' Compensation: Injuries sustained while at work at a distant location are usually covered by workers' compensation benefits. Immediate notification of your supervisor, LBNL disability management (486-5213) or LBNL risk management (486-7025) can initiate a claim.
UCOP Emergency Evacuation Insurance: UC employees are covered by an emergency evacuation insurance policy through UCOP. This benefit can cover transportation (not medical expenses) either to medical care and/or back to the Bay Area for persons suffering serious injury or emergency illness while on travel. This benefit should be accessed by calling the AIG Assist program directly at 800 626-2427, or internationally at 01-713-267-2525 (UCOP Policy GTP 8055649). Physician certification is required prior to transport as to the severity of the medical condition and the need for evacuation.
A Helping Hand for Global Travelers
Destination-Specific Health Information
It can be overwhelming to research travel health conditions because information may be given on a continent, region, or country level. The Centers for Disease Control have a good web site organized by destination country (http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinationList.aspx). Each country's profile includes: safety and security tips, preparing for your trip, diseases found in your destination country, what you need to bring with you, staying healthy during your trip, and tips for after you return home. Take a look!
Flying into Flu Season?
Traveling south of the equator in summer exposes you to flu season in the Southern hemisphere. Their flu season runs from April until September, so CDC is recommending that all travelers at risk of flu complications get vaccinated. Fortunately, this year the vaccine available in the U.S. is the same as the vaccine for this summer in the Southern hemisphere. More information on the flu and finding a vaccination this summer is available HERE (pdf) .
Chicken About Bird Flu?
Close observers of the news will note a recent increase in the number of articles about the H5N1 avian flu. Last Spring, birds carrying the virus were discovered in 33 additional countries, while very few countries experienced human cases. LBNL's Site Occupational Medical Director, Dr. Peter Lichty, tracks avian flu news on a daily basis to determine whether any travel restrictions or precautions are needed. "We expect increased reports of virus isolation, based on last year's experience. What I am watching for is any report of human to human transmission".
LBNL travelers can learn more about what precautions to take by consulting the DOE guidance issued in late 2005 found HERE (pdf). The central US government web site also has a travel section packed with useful information, found HERE.
Travelers with questions are encouraged to call Health Services, extension 6266. Make sure someone at the Lab knows where you are and how to reach you in case of emergencies.