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921 - 11/13 - Managing Treatment for ill or injured Crew - USA
The Association would like to remind its Members of a disturbing trend that has emerged in the US Gulf where ‘medical service consolidators’ offer their services to ship agents. These companies advertise they can obtain quick medical care for ill or injured seamen sending them to pre-determined hospitals, clinics and doctors for evaluation and treatment. However, the reality is that the involvement of these companies in crew injury and illness cases often leaves the shipowner with large and unfair charges for medical care.
These companies have signed contracts with the various hospitals, clinics and doctors to which they funnel patients, guaranteeing themselves a set percentage of the services charged. These contracts with the medical providers state the rates to be paid are the rates posted by the medical provider, and guarantee the medical service consolidators a percentage of the monies collected as their fee. There is an inherent conflict of interest; the more money the hospital charges and collects the more money the company makes, to the detriment of the shipowner responsible for the bills!
The cost of investigating injury claims and attending to crewmembers that are injured or fall ill during their employment continues to rise. The Club ensures that treatment and care administered to seafarers is monitored and appropriate. Charges are reviewed and significant reduction in charges are often negotiated on the basis that the charges are not reasonable and necessary when compared to the rates and fees charged for other injured or ill seafarers. Utilizing one of these medical service consolidators to handle the treatment arrangements may eliminate this opportunity for cost savings and, in most instances, will very likely result in much higher expenses.
The Club’s pre employment medical examination programme (PEME) is recommended to screen out crew deemed unfit for employment and thus reduce the risk of a crewmember falling ill whilst onboard. For further information on the PEME Programme please email Sophia Grant at Peme.UKClub@Thomasmiller.com
Source of information:
Thomas Miller (Americas)
+1 201 557 7300