Future Care’s CEO Christina DeSimone recently responded to interview questions during the 2019 Connecticut Maritime Association (CMA) Exhibition in Stamford, Connecticut. Please find below an excerpt of the interview.
Tell us a few words about your company. What products/ services do you provide?
Future Care is a woman owned minority business specializing in medical management services exclusively for the maritime industry for over 20 years. Our Caring for the Crew® program provides complete medical management services for mariners, shipowners and their insurers. Global Program services include Physician Advice at Sea (telemedicine); medical case management of shoreside treatment, during both hospitalization and convalescence after repatriation; booking of shoreside medical and dental treatment; and medical bill review/audit services. These and other services are described in detail on our website.
What is your organization launching here at the exhibition this year?
Do you have any new developments/ or any new projects on the pipeline and/or plans that
you would like to share with the rest of the industry?
Future Care is very excited to announce that in 2018 we formed MedSea Asia Limited, a Future Care subsidiary to hold substantial new Asia business and entered into a joint venture with International SOS (ISOS) a world leading travel assistance and medical management company with offices and resources throughout the world. ISOS’ expertise and assets allow Future Care to bring unequaled strength of service to our clients and crewmembers across five continents, with 26 Assistance Centers, over 11,000 employees and 92 offices. The combined assets include 1,400 physicians, 56 international clinics, an internal travel tracking team network of 80,000 accredited third-party providers with 99 languages supported. The team is ISO 9001:2008 accredited across all business lines.
Why is it important to participate in CMA?
As a long-term participant in CMA, Future Care has derived enormous benefits from the exchange of information provided in the top-notch Key note speakers and panel discussions. In addition it is a great venue for personal meetings, meeting our local mariners and students, as well as learning about new maritime products and services.
Is the industry doing enough to raise awareness about seafarers’ health? What is your feedback so far?
The industry has and is responding to the overall issue of seafarer health, as it proceeds to implement the provisions of Title IV of the Maritime Labor Convention – but, of course, more work remains. The single most beneficial item we see for the immediate health of the mariner while at sea is greater use of telemedicine and onboard medical instrumentation. There are numerous inexpensive but sophisticated electronic medical devices available which can provide contemporaneous medical information to our physicians for instant diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
5. Have you noticed any trend during the last years and a possible alarming trend for the years to come with respect to seafarer’s mental and physical health?
We have seen an increase in the awareness of mariners’ mental health and the conditions that bring about psychological problems and disease. Factors including the increased length of time at sea, cultural and linguistic variance among officers and crew, poor dietary habits, and isolation, among others, lead to mental problems, including depression and even suicide in extreme cases. The growing awareness is the first step in treatment. Future Care can provide mental wellness and counseling services, both onboard and ashore, to help combat this very real problem for mariners.
Regarding seafarers’ physical health we advocate our shipboard wellness program with regularly scheduled remote consultations as a preventive measure and to monitor treatment and medications for chronic conditions while at sea.
6. Which best practices would you recommend from your perspective to ensure good mental and physical health of crew members?
Please see 5 above and our website “News” section https://futurecareinc.com/news-and-events/, especially.