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Checklist for Medical Issues When Traveling Overseas

Before the Trip

  • A written confirmation from an appropriate manager, i.e., a Travel Authorization or memorandum, that identifies the employee and country(ies) that will be visited should be provided the medical support staff 4-8 weeks prior to the trip or, if less than 4 weeks, as soon as management or the employee becomes aware of it.
  • The medical staff will identify what vaccinations are recommended for each country and discuss the current health issues for each country with the employee. Some vaccinations take several weeks to become effective.
  • The medical staff will review and update the employee’s routine and specific vaccinations needed (for travel of 60 days or more, the Department of State will provide a medical clearance).
  • The employee should review his/her health plan to determine if it is adequate for traveling overseas or whether the plan should be changed.
  • The medical staff should discuss what steps the employee should take if s/he becomes ill or is injured while on travel.
  • The Departmental element should determine whether short-term health coverage should be provided (the Department currently contracts with MEDEX Assistance Corporation at a nominal cost per employee per trip; employees should check with their Administrative support staffs as to whether or not they are covered).

During the Trip

  • If the employee becomes seriously ill or is incapacitated, the employee should notify his/her supervisor and, if covered, contact MEDEX directly for assistance; worldwide phone numbers are on the employee’s MEDEX identification card.
  • The employee is expected to pay for any medical, dental, or hospitalization expenses in conjunction with his/her health plan; however, for major expenses, the Departmental element may establish a fund to cover them subject to reimbursement from the employee.
  • If the employee dies and the employee is covered by the MEDEX contract, the Departmental element should contact MEDEX for assistance in transporting the employee’s remains back to the United States; if the employee is not covered, then the employee’s family has the responsibility for working through the local State Department consulate and to make arrangements with an agency like MEDEX.

After the Trip

  • If the employee has concerns or symptoms typical of the contagious diseases that have been identified for the country(ies) visited, the employee should report them to the medical staff and should be placed on excused absence/administrative leave until
    • such time as the employee’s condition has either been determined by his/her personal physician to not be contagious, or
    • the employee can return to duty.
  • If a serious contagious disease is confirmed, then the medical staff should be notified promptly and the employee should report to that staff upon returning to duty to be “cleared” for duty.
  • If the condition is not serious, but the employee is not well enough to return to duty, then the employee’s leave status should be changed to sick or annual leave or leave without pay, as appropriate.