Our Pandemic Preparations: Contingency staffing
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Leveraging our business continuity strategies for contingency staffing to ensure we can serve our customers, members and providers:
- As a national health insurer handling more than 44 million calls annually, Aetna has more than 20 customer service facilities in different regions of the country as well as overseas, which gives us the flexibility to shift work from impacted sites to other sites. We even have a virtual call center - several thousand of our customer service staff work from home. This means that when one area of the country is struggling with a crisis, like a hurricane or snow storm, Aetna can still serve you and your employees efficiently. This would be extremely beneficial in a pandemic as well. Experts believe that a pandemic could last 6 to 8 weeks in any given location with waves recurring for many months. While a pandemic has the potential to affect multiple regions of the country simultaneously, our work-at-home capabilities and dispersed national call and claim infrastructure allow us to optimize available resources to maintain essential services for our customers
- Aetna has long been a proponent of flexible work arrangements, including telecommuting. Much of our work force is already on a full-time telework schedule. As part of our pandemic planning, Aetna studied the feasibility of whether more employees could temporarily telework in response to office closings or other infection-control measures. Based on that study, we believe that a majority of our workforce could continue to perform their functions on a work-at-home basis. Many employees already have the personal infrastructure and secure access authority to Aetna's systems to perform work remotely on a part-time basis, and others have at least high-speed broadband in their homes should additional access be needed. While we cannot rely on teleworking as a standalone strategy for a pandemic, our remote-access capabilities will allow some staff to work from home or other locations during a pandemic to supplement those who are designated to be critical on-site staff or who are working in offices in parts of the country not affected by a pandemic.
- In a severe pandemic, experts estimate that absentee rates could reach as high as 40%. To help ensure we have the manpower to support the ongoing operation of crucial functions, Aetna has identified staff positions serving similar functions that may not be essential in an emergency. Individuals holding those positions can be trained and redeployed to supplement existing personnel for critical functions such as member services, medical management and behavioral health services.