North American article.
After ten years of working in humanitarian aid, Dr Inge Schrever joined Cigna to help people working all over the world get access to quality, 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 key. 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 customer get out of the country.
We help customers understand their choices for medical providers. We will show customers 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 staff follow 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 will 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, Latin America – all over the world.
Sometimes, it’s seeing the Cigna nurse that gives the patient the most relief. People might be evacuated from Sudan or Ethiopia and arrive in a Kenya where they don’t know anyone, so when our case manager is visiting them in the hospital, the first ‘familiar’ face is a Cigna nurse.”
- Dr. Inge Schrever, Associate Medical Doctor