STS maintains a high level of vigilance with its brigade travel within Honduras. Since 1990, there have been very few occasions for evacuation. However, working outside of the U.S. engenders the need for an evacuation plan. All brigade members are covered by the STS evacuation insurance issued by USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services. Travel assistance is provided by AXA Assistance. There are two general scenarios for evacuation. They are listed below with the plan for evacuation included.
Personal Illness or Injury Evacuation: Should a brigade member(s) become ill or injured, a physician, in conjunction with the Hombro a Hombro General Director, will assess the illness or injury. They will determine how treatment is rendered:
- If the illness or injury is non-life threatening, treatment will be rendered on-site. Fees for treatment will be shared between the ill/injured and STS except in the case of brigade member negligence.
- If more urgent and the patient is stable enough to travel back to the U.S. and this travel is determined necessary, a call to the evacuation insurance carrier will be made. This company, USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services, and their assistance provider, AXA Assistance, authorize the evacuation. The attending physician will communicate with AXA Assistance in order to communicate medical information and other details. The ill/injured brigade member will be taken as swiftly, comfortably, and safely as possible to Tegucigalpa with the attending physician in attendance and/or by those the treating physician and General Director deem appropriate. Additionally:
- The patient will be transported on the first available flight from Honduras to the nearest medical facility where appropriate treatment can be provided. A call to that hospital will be made as soon as a flight arrival time is established to inform them of the arrival of the patient and discuss his/her urgent condition.
- STS in the U.S. will be contacted. They will contact the patient’s emergency contact to apprise them of the situation and planned evacuation.
- The Honduran Brigade Coordinator will help with necessary arrangements for hotel in Tegucigalpa (if needed) and/or airline notification of urgent need for travel.
- If the patient is too unstable to be evacuated and care must be sought immediately within Honduras but outside of Hombro a Hombro facilities, the Hombro a Hombro General Director, in conjunction with a physician and AXA Assistance, will contact the physician/medical facility appropriate to meet the urgent need. The ill/injured brigade member will be taken as swiftly, comfortably, and safely as possible to the appropriate physician/facility with the attending physician in and/or by those the treating physician and General Director deem appropriate. Additionally:
- Nearest relative will be contacted in the U.S. (for permission to treat, if the patient is unable to grant permission) and apprised of the situation.
- STS in the U.S. will be contacted.
- The Hombro a Hombro General Director, if possible, and the physician referring the brigade member will remain with the patient at all times. Family in the U.S. would will be kept informed as much as possible.
- Care will be provided at this facility until the patient is sufficiently stable for travel to Intibucá or back to the home country for recuperation.
Political Evacuation: Through our evacuation carrier, coverage is extended in the case of a situation in which grave physical harm or death could occur, including certain instances of political unrest. In these cases the protocol will be as follows:
- If there is a potential dangerous political situation (e.g. coup d’état) and the US State Department advises evacuation while a brigade is in-country, the Hombro a Hombro General Director will determine whether or not the brigade can leave safely through Tegucigalpa.
- In the case that travel through Tegucigalpa is determined unsafe, a call to the evacuation insurance carrier will be made. This company, USI Affinity Travel will authorize the evacuation to the “nearest place of safety”.
- If STS or Hombro a Hombro deems it unsafe to leave from anywhere in Honduras, every effort will be made, in concert with authorization from USI Affinity Travel, for transport to and evacuation from another country (e.g. El Salvador).
- STS in the U.S. will be contacted and kept apprised of situation so that they can contact all families of travelers and also to keep them informed of the progress of evacuation.
Both of these scenarios’ travel will necessarily incur expenses. The ill/injured brigade member(s) or those needing evacuation due to political reasons, should strive to pay their own expenses at the time they are incurred. This will make the reimbursement from the insurance carrier much more straightforward. Once returned to the U.S. under one of these evacuation plans, each brigade member will complete a benefits reimbursement sheet requested through USI Affinity Travel.
Learn more about AXA Assistance, our travel assistance company.
Thank you for your attention and please contact us with any questions.