Delivering The Sharp Experience worldwide

Emergency Travel Services benefit helped the Alperts get medical care and return home.

Going on adventures away from home can be exciting. But when you face a sudden medical emergency while traveling, excitement can turn into worry. Fortunately, Sharp Health Plan members can enjoy peace of mind with worldwide emergency coverage through Assist America®. For cases needing special coordination, Sharp Health Plan’s medical management team works behind the scenes to help travelers get care and get home.

Sharp Direct Advantage® members Michael and Dede Alpert were flying to Venice, Italy for a family trip when Michael’s oxygen dropped to 70%. It was only upon landing that his oxygen stabilized. They asked his primary care physician and confirmed, with Michael’s history of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, he needed supplemental oxygen for the flight home.

Dede called Sharp Health Plan to check their coverage and was connected with case manager Linda Riveglia, RN.

Michael Alpert in Venice, Italy

Michael Alpert in Venice, Italy.

“At high altitudes, oxygen enters your bloodstream at a lower rate. This can cause problems for people who already have low oxygen levels on the ground,” says Riveglia. “I suggested calling Assist America to help with getting supplemental oxygen.”

“Linda was a tremendous help,” says Dede. “She connected us with [Assist America] and stayed in touch with us the entire way.”

Riveglia and Assist America made several attempts to find oxygen in Venice, only to discover doctor’s offices and medical equipment providers closed for Italy’s summer holiday. Given the closures, Assist America arranged for a nurse from England to bring portable oxygen to Venice and escort the Alperts home to San Diego.

“If it weren’t for them, I don’t know what we would’ve done,” says Dede. “There would have been no way for us to do this by ourselves.”

Coming back, the Alperts were pleasantly surprised to learn that Assist America also arranged wheelchair access at each stop and ground transportation at the San Diego International Airport to get home.

Dede and Michael Alpert with family members in Venice, Italy

Dede and Michael Alpert with family members in Venice, Italy.

“It was incredible,” says Dede. “I don’t know how many people know about this benefit, but it’s a wonderful part of our plan. It could’ve been a disaster, and instead, it was just a wonderful vacation.”

Sharp Health Plan’s medical management team and global emergency services partner Assist America show how The Sharp Experience is truly everything we do — even when a patient is 30,000 feet in the air, we’ve got them covered.

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