Abstract

Managing the health agenda for oil and gas projects is becoming increasingly complex as operations move to more challenging locations and as the expectations of both the national and international communities are increasing. The emphasis on sustainable development adds another dimension to the issue. This paper briefly reviews three aspects of the health agenda which are gaining increasing attention; the integration of national medical staff in the provision of onsite medical services, considerations in developing medical expense reimbursement schemes and the role of health impact assessments. Each of these should be considered in the overall context of Strategic Health Management (SHM). The paper suggests that national staff can be effectively integrated into onsite medical clinics but they must receive adequate training before being mobilized. This training should be designed to reflect their actual skill set and should incorporate some review of basic medical skill, advanced trauma life support, advanced cardiac life support and practical training in emergency and critical care settings. Equally important to the provision of onsite medical care is the design and administration of medical expense reimbursement programs. If not carefully managed and monitored, medical benefit programs can lead to escalating health care costs without a corresponding improvement in outcome. Medical expense reimbursement programs should incorporate standard third party administration services as well as relevant health care management services such as: verification of benefits and eligibility, claims review, data collection and analysis and reporting, preferred provider networks with negotiated fee schedules, hospital pre-admission authorizations, case management and specialist gate-keeping.

Introduction

Managing the health agenda for oil and gas projects is becoming increasingly complex as operations move to more challenging locations and as the expectations of both the national and international communities are increasing. The emphasis on sustainable development adds another dimension to the issue. This paper will briefly review three aspects of the health agenda which are gaining increasing attention; the integration of national medical staff in the provision of onsite medical services, considerations in developing medical expense reimbursement schemes and the role of health impact assessments. The intent is not to provide an exhaustive discussion of these issues but to highlight their increasing prominence among a project or HSE manager's priorities and to provide general direction for addressing each. Each of these issues should be considered in the overall context of strategic health management.

INTEGRATION OF NATIONAL MEDICAL STAFF AT ONSITE CLINICS

In terms of the health agenda, the first concern for many oil and gas projects is the onsite provision of medical services. Projects are located in increasingly remote locations with harsh environments and the risk of injury and unanticipated illness is significant. This risk can be mitigated but not eliminated through preassignment screening programs and strict enforcement of safety programs.

Projects, therefore, must have a system in place to provide an adequate response to medical emergencies. The local medical infrastructure surrounding operational sites is often not adequate and projects must often provide their own medical care.

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