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Bed to Bed Air Ambulance Service – A Quick Guide

Bed to bed air ambulance services are often used when the patient is critical or needs constant medical attention throughout the transport. Essentially, the air ambulance service would coordinate the services such that the patient is under medical supervision throughout the duration of the transport, including transfer from hospital to the air ambulance and air ambulance to the receiving hospital.

How is Bed to Bed Air Ambulance Service Beneficial?

For one, the patient is constantly under the observation of medical experts. The staff that accompanies the patient is usually provided by a separate agency other than the transferring hospital. The knowledge exchange between medical experts about the patient becomes easier when a bed to bed air ambulance service is used.

The air ambulance staff also makes arrangements for ground ambulance in case there is a need to transport the patient by land from the airport to the receiving hospital. At the same time, the air ambulance service would ensure that all vital arrangements in the ground ambulance are ready. This effort also reduces the transit time. Moreover, due to constant communication, the ground staff would be aware of the patient condition at all times.

The same goes with the receiving hospital too. In other words, the condition of the patient can be constantly communicated to the receiving hospital and all necessary arrangements can be made beforehand. Such an arrangement puts the worries of the patient’s loved ones to rest for the most part.

Is Bed to Bed Air Ambulance Service Expensive?

It is slightly more expensive when compared to ground ambulance transport and a normal air ambulance transport where the patient is brought to the medical flight independently.

The fact that there is a lot of coordination involved with bed to bed air ambulance service increases the price a bit. However, one must realize that the ground ambulance coverage and air ambulance coverage are calculated separately by insurance companies and if the doctor has recommended such close monitoring, the chances are that the entire cost will be borne by the insurance provider.

Availing bed to bed air ambulance service is not a call that you must take on your own. The decision must be left to the qualified medical professionals as it is only then that this service is approved by insurance providers.

Skiing

Guide to Air Ambulance Cover during Extreme Sports Trips

If you are going on an extreme sports trip, the chances of needing medical care and air ambulance cover are naturally more. So, you need to question yourself, “Is mere travel insurance enough?” In fact, there are special travel insurance designed just for the purpose and you must look into them. However, before that, you must know certain facts.

Classifying Extreme Sports before Looking at Air Ambulance Cover

Going for a swim in calm waters or ruffling some waves by the beach does not count as extreme sports. Extreme sports are those where there is a high likelihood of mishaps, even after safety precautions, and can warrant emergency medical treatments including air ambulance evacuations. Some of these are:

  • Deep sea scuba diving
  • River rafting
  • Skiing
  • Paragliding
  • Snowboarding
  • Motocross
  • Rock climbing
  • High altitude mountaineering
  • Hand-gliding
  • Parachuting
  • Bungee jumping
  • High-speed or cross-country biking

Air Ambulance Cover and Insurance are no Substitute for Reasonable Precautions

Most extreme sporting companies will not even entertain your request unless you have adequate extreme sports insurance. They might also demand that you have enough extreme sporting experience and practice behind you. The reason is simple; the eventualities in such sports can even mean death or disability. Having adequate insurance and air ambulance cover increases your chances of survival drastically. You are assured of immediate medical care in any foreign countries. One must note in this context that most countries outside the US demand assurance of payments before the treatment is initiated.

Choosing the Air Ambulance Cover and Insurance

Here are a few points that you need to consider:

  • Your sports insurance might cover air ambulance evacuations. If that’s the case you don’t have to worry at all. However, it is vital to look whether there are limitations to this cover.
  • Compare the costs. Sometimes buying a separate air ambulance cover is more economically viable. So check whether the travel insurance company is charging you exorbitant rates.
  • Compare between various travel-insurance providers and compare the prices and the kind of facilities being provided. You would not only need air ambulance evacuation cover, but also coverage for medical consultation, hospitalization, and treatment.
  • If you are going as a couple or a group, look for discounts. Never hesitate speaking to the company’s representative.

You need to fill your forms for extreme sports travel insurance clearly and mention the kind of activities that you would be involved in to avoid confusion later.

medical vs commercial flights

Medical Flights versus Commercial Charter Flights

It is natural for one to wonder what separates medical flights from commercial charter flights, after all both would be available on demand. Of course, a medical flight would be fitted with equipment that are designed to serve the patients but one might ask whether such equipment can be made available at short notice in a charter flight. In fact some of the features of medical flights are always available in commercial charger flights. So, what exactly is the difference?

Oxygen System in Medical Flights

Oxygen would be available in both; however, medical flights store a different class of oxygen. Unlike charter planes that can only deliver about 4 to 8 liters of oxygen per minute, medical flights can deliver oxygen at 25 liters per minute. Plus it delivers medical grade oxygen and not oxygen butanes that commercial flights do.

Sickbeds in Medical Flights

The maximum you would find in a charter flight is a temporary stretcher. However, a medical sickbed is permanently anchored on medical flights and come with far superior features than a temporary stretcher.

Power Systems in Medical Flights

Medical equipment need power supply that is vastly different from that available on commercial charter flights. The equipment need DC 28V and AC 110V power supply, which is inbuilt in medical flights. No such facilities would be available in commercial flights.

Cabin Pressure in Medical Flights

Certain medical conditions demand that there is a constant barometric pressure. Medical flights are designed to maintain such pressures. On the other hand, the pressure in charter flights varies with altitudes over 5000 feet above sea level.

Medical flights are better equipped to handle emergencies

Medical flights only ferry passengers and would be on standby 24 hours a day. The patients are assured of qualified medical care onboard and do not have to make separate arrangements for that. Most life support equipment would be already onboard and only certain equipment in special circumstances need to be borrowed from the transferring hospital.

US air ambulance pilot

Guide to Become a US Air Ambulance Pilot

Every year over 400 thousand rescue operations take place employing air ambulance choppers and the numbers are only increasing. There also has been a surge of private players in the air ambulance industry, which has led to a whopping demand for air ambulance pilots. If you have a flare for flying and a heart to serve the needy, career as air ambulance pilot is right for you. Here, we discuss the path to become an air ambulance pilot.

Air ambulance companies demand that you have the requisite education

No company will employ you unless you have at least 2 years of college education, most prefer a 4-year degree. Veer towards subjects like aeronautical engineering and physics for your major.

US air ambulance companies will ask you for a second-class certificate

This is a medical certificate that clears you to train and fly as a commercial pilot. You can get this through an Aviation Medical Examiner. To find one, visit the FAA website.

Attend a flight school

Ensure that you attend one that has been certified by FAA. Alternatively, you can also train under an instructor who has been certified by FAA. People who have served in the military and have enough flight hours under their belt are exempted from this.

Instrument training to fly air ambulances

As a US air ambulance pilot, you might have to fly in tough weather conditions. This also involves flying using instruments when visibility is low. You will have to garner a total of 40 hours of instrument training.

Gain experience and flight hours

Most air ambulance companies will demand that you have a minimum of 1000 hours of flight experience. While training for these many hours can be expensive, an easier alternative is to join an aviation school as an instructor.

You are all set to apply to become an air ambulance pilot

You are now free to apply for an air ambulance job in the market. With so many US air ambulance companies already existing, you are sure to land a job pretty quickly.

Medicare Rejection

What if Medicare Doesn’t Cover Your Air Ambulance Cost

If you felt the medical situation warranted the air ambulance trip, yet Medicare refused to cover the charges, you don’t necessarily have to be disheartened. You can still check a few things and appeal Medicare to cover the air ambulance expenses.

Check Your Paperwork and Medicare Summary Notice (MSN)

Medicare gives you the reason for not covering air ambulance trip and there can be two primary reasons for it:

  1. The air ambulance company failed to appropriately document your need for air ambulance transport: In a situation like this, contact the doctor or social worker who was involved in mandating the air ambulance transport. Send this information to the organization that handles your medical bills on behalf of Medicare.
  2. The air ambulance company failed to file appropriate paperwork: You can always ask your air ambulance company to re-file your claim. If this does not yield results, you can then proceed to file an appeal.

If Medicare Still Refuses to Pay, File an Appeal

People who have Medicare have certain rights and one such right is filing an appeal against non-coverage of your air ambulance bills. Here’s a stepwise approach:

Look at MSN and find reason for not covering the air ambulance trip: Apart from the reason, the MSN will also let you know the time by which you need to file the appeal.

  1. Follow the instructions on MSN to file the appeal against non-coverage of air ambulance trip: It will also contain the address to which you need to send the appeal. You must accompany it with a letter stating why your air ambulance trip must be covered.
  2. Get in touch with the doctor who suggested air ambulance services: Attach this information to the MSN before sending it to the designated address.
  3. Keep a copy for yourself: You might need the copy of your appeal as a proof, so make a copy and keep it with you.

You can also get in touch with Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE or visit www.medicare.gov/appeals.

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Is Air Ambulance Transport the Right Option? Answering these Questions Can Help

Deciding whether a patient needs air ambulance transport can be a tough decision, even for a doctor sometimes. In this realm, asking certain questions before deciding on air ambulance transport can help. Below are a few of them.

Does the condition warrant that patient spends least possible time out of hospital?

If the answer is yes, then the patient might be best suited for air ambulance transport as it is quicker than ground transport.

Is a time-sensitive facility unavailable in the current treating facility?

Certain lifesaving facilities or treatments might not be available in the hospital that is treating the patient at the current time. Air ambulance transport might become essential to carry the patient to the nearest medical center that has this facility.

Is the area only accessible through air ambulance transport?

Certain remote areas that have bad or no roads can only reached through air ambulance transport. Air ambulance choppers obviously are preferred during such cases.

Is the weather suitable for air ambulance transport?

The new FAA guidelines for air ambulance transport and the general safety concern for the crew prevents use of air ambulances when the weather conditions are unfavorable.

Is the weight of the patient, equipment and crew within permissible limit of air ambulance transport?

The permissibility of weight might also depend on the kind of aircraft that is available during the emergency. However, weight is a concern that must be addressed.

Is there an airport or helipad to land the air ambulance near the receiving facility?

If the landing facilities are not available, air ambulance transport might not at all be an option. Landing at a considerable distance and carrying the patient to the receiving facility through ground ambulance might defeat the purpose of using air ambulance transport.

Does the ground transport lack critical care support?

Air ambulances usually are extremely well equipped. If the ground ambulance lacks such support, then air ambulance transport might be the only option.

Will use of ground ambulance leave local area with inadequate emergency coverage?

If the answer is yes, then air medical transport might have to be opted so that the medical facility is prepared to meet other potential emergencies locally.

Answering these questions can help make split second decisions, which can mean the difference between life and death during emergencies.

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Guide to Medical Flight Cost Containment

Speak of a medical flight and the fist thing that occupies your mind is the cost involved. With the absence of adequate insurance coverage, especially when abroad, one is compelled to think out of the box to come up with financially viable solutions that do not compromise on medical flight safety. Instead of looking at government aid or charity, medical flight companies must introspect and come up with ways that can keep tabs on the cost. Here we discuss a few of those.

A Medical Flight Must Avoid “Empty Leg”

There is always a distance that a medical flight must cover in order to reach the patient in distress. This distance where the medical flight does not actually carry a patient is called “empty leg.” What if another needy patient is carried the distance? The cost can thus be shared between two patients.

Quote One-Way Charge for the Medical Flight

Once the patient is flown to the destination, the flight is often compelled to return empty. With a good network in place, the medical flight can look for patients who need to use their services on the way back. The cost can thus be shared between two people essentially halving the cost.

A Medical Flight Company Can Share Resources

Rather than competing with each other, medical flight companies must look at sharing their resources and thus jointly bear the cost. The result would be cheaper overheads and resultant cheaper costs to the patients. Another way would be to employ contractors. For example, freelance pilots and nursing services can be hired on an as-needed basis.

Accommodate More than One Patient per Medical Flight

Medical flights that can accommodate more than one patient at a time can be very helpful. While the cost of a larger aircraft could be a bit high, aircraft maintenance, staff, fuel charges, etc., would certainly be less and could turn out to be a very viable long-term plan. The patients gain by paying less as the cost of travel can be shared.

There is no denying the fact that all these solutions cannot be implemented at times when there is a medical emergency. However, with good coordination between various medical flight service providers, there is a hope that costs can be contained to a large extent.

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Understanding Why Air Ambulance Services are Expensive

We have heard many a stories where families have been drained of their finances owing to the cost of air ambulance services that go uncovered by insurance. If you are wondering why this life-saving mode of transport is getting more expensive by the day, you must look into all the factors that go into the pricing of air ambulance services.

Air Ambulance Services are Expensive due to Several Factors

Even though the fuel prices have gone down, jet fuel prices have not fallen proportionately; so the cost of fuel to run air ambulance services is one major factor.

Insurance cost of air ambulance vehicles have also gone up due to the many air ambulance accidents that we have witnessed recently.

Insurance providers and healthcare watchdogs expect air ambulance services to maintain the highest standards, and maintaining such standards comes at a cost.

The salaries of critical care nurses and doctors too are rising rapidly, which is adding to the cost of air ambulance services.

Think of in-flight training exercises that the crew has to go through. Someone has to pay for these exercises and the cost is ultimately borne by the beneficiaries of the services.

The periodic maintenance and upkeep of air ambulances is mandatory in most instances and comes at a very high cost.

There are also licensing and regulation costs which recur periodically.

Extra Costs of Overseas Air Ambulance Services

When a patient needs medical repatriation, the costs go up to dizzying heights. It is not just the fuel that adds to the cost of air ambulance services in such cases.

There may be several permits that need to be obtained when a patient has to be flown overseas which can cost a considerable amount.

Certain parts of the world demand that precautions be taken to avoid contaminations and infections – the cost of which can be significant.

Special precautions need to be taken and more wages need to be paid when a patient has to be transported from a war-torn or unstable region.

Governments across the world and the US need to take a closer look at the rising cost of air ambulance services and come up with a lasting solution for cost containment, lest the people will continue to suffer financially.

Guide 5 Trauma Hawk

Learn About Trauma Hawk Medical Flight Services

The services of Trauma Hawk Aero-medical Program is dedicated to providing emergency medical flight services to the residents of Palm Beach County, California. The medical flight services were begun in the year 1990. It has since flown over 14,000 times rescuing about 700 patients every year.

The great thing about Trauma Hawk is that it has a track record of zero fatalities or accidents. This is exemplary considering that there have been 19 fatalities involving air ambulances between 2011 and 2013. On average the medical flight is dispatched anywhere between 1 and 5 times each day. So far, it has been taken care by Palm Beach County Health Care District. The medical flight services, however, are not free of cost and according to one report about $10,000 can be covered through medical insurances.

History of Trauma Hawk Medical Flight Services

In the years preceding 1990, emergency medical flight services were through choppers owned by Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Department. However, with Palm Beach’s increasing population, it was felt necessary that separate medical flight services be initiated, which gave rise to the Trauma Hawk Program. A Bell 412 chopper too was purchased for the purpose. Today, it uses two 1999 Sikorsky S76-C+ choppers. Dispatching the medical flight services depends on the information provided by the 911 callers and paramedics on the scene.

The Future of Trauma Hawk Medical Flight Services

Recently, questions have been raised whether the medical flight services should stay with the Palm Beach County Health Care District or Palm Beach County Sheriff. The argument by the Sherriff’s department is that the aircrafts could also be used for other services such as fire rescue operations and other emergencies. While the Health Care District argues that the service must stay with them so that residents of the area get timely care.

Palm Beach County Communities that Benefit from Trauma Hawk

The county has 38 municipalities that come under it and trauma hawk medical flight services are available to all of them.

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Is Affordable Air Ambulance Service on its Way?

For long, Americans have been worried about the costs of opting for an air ambulance service. We have heard horrid tales of people stuck with air ambulance service bills that run into thousands of dollars and insurance companies unwilling to share the burden. The Southeast Mississippi Air Ambulance District or SEMAAD has now given a glimmer of hope for such people. If the model is adopted widely throughout the country, cost of air ambulance service would no longer be a worry for most American citizens. Let’s learn a bit more about the recent SEMAAD deal.

How is SEMAAD Making Air Ambulance Service Affordable?

Getting to the crux of the deal, the beneficiaries would not have to pay – the amount that is not covered by insurances or other providers – out of pocket. In other words, the medical flight would cost you nothing. The air ambulance service cost benefit currently is being extended to the residents of nine counties that come under SEMAAD. It has struck a contract between the air ambulance service company, Med-Trans Corp and its medical partner Ochsner Hospital. The deal is expected to come through by March next year. The following counties would be covered:

  • Walthall
  • Stone
  • Perry
  • Pearl River
  • Marion
  • Jefferson Davis
  • Greene
  • Forrest
  • Covington

Why is the Air Ambulance Service Move So Important?

The move could act as a guideline for other regions of the United States to follow. In a country where air ambulance service is mainly provided by private players and air ambulance charities are virtually non-existent except for a very few of them, the move is welcome. The contract literally puts life before air ambulance service costs.

SEMAAD also has a contract with Baptist LifeFlight. Both Med-Trans Corp and Baptist LifeFlight air ambulance services would be operating from Bobby L. Chain Municipal Airport in Hattiesburg.