Ultimate Air Ambulance Guide: Everything you Need to Know!

1. Understanding Bed to Bed Air Ambulance Services

The goal of bed to bed air ambulance service is to maintain the continuity of care. Here the air ambulance specialists would meet the patient in the hospital, transport him/her to the airport in an ambulance and be with the patient until the patient safely reaches the receiving medical facility. This type of air medical transport ensures that the patient is in qualified hands throughout the journey and serves as a reassurance to both the patients and their loved ones. The team even keeps the receiving hospital informed about the medical status of the patient so that necessary measures are already in place.

2. Getting Your Doubts about Medical Flight Services Clarified Firsthand

Most air ambulance companies would have a flight coordinator assigned to you. One of the responsibilities of this individual would be to give you a complete picture about the service being provided from start to end. The person would be qualified enough to answer any queries that you may have and would also accommodate any special needs that you specify. He would ultimately come to you with a written proposal ensuring that you incur minimum costs.

3. Keeping the Cost of a Medical Flight Low

There is no doubt that medical flights are usually expensive; however, taking certain precautions can bring this cost down to a great extent. One of the important factors that decide the cost is the proximity of the treating facility to the aircraft. Lesser distance translates into lesser costs. Another factor is the urgency of transfer. If you can manage to give a few days’ notice in advance, the air ambulance service provider would be able to give you a connecting flight which can bring the costs down significantly.

4. Payment Checks Before Availing Air Ambulance Services

If you are dealing with a reputed medical air transportation service provider, you will always get a written proposal beforehand. You need to exercise caution to verify that all the costs are included in this proposal. You can ask your flight coordinator and confirm this. Ask straight up whether any “hidden costs” are involved. You might be expected to pay before you avail the services regardless of it being domestic or international air ambulance service. If you have any particular preference when it comes to payment modes such as payment through credit cards, debit cards, checks, etc., make them known.

5. Using a Broker to Avail Air Ambulance Services

Using a broker is not a bad thing. However, there are certain precautions that you must take. Since the broker does not actually own the air ambulances, he might not be in the know of everything about the service. Also, since he might be brokering for different air ambulance service providers, there might be a bit of inconsistency in services. Also, you might need to pay a bit extra as the broker would obviously charge a commission for his or her efforts. While paying a commission should be okay, you should insist that all the necessary information be provided to you to avoid any nasty surprises at the last minute. The best thing however is to take a bit of time and look for the best air ambulance service provider yourself and arrange an air ambulance. Moreover, there are several US air ambulance services available today and finding the right one for you will not be all that tough.

6. Insurance Coverage of Air Ambulance Costs

Several insurance plans cover air ambulance services but not all. It is therefore imperative that you check with your insurance provider beforehand. The insurance companies usually lay down certain criteria which are to be met by the patient for the coverage. The foremost of this would be the certification of the physician that the patient has a “medical necessity” for air ambulance and that any other means of travel could adversely impact the health of the patient. The insurance may have a clause which specifies that the patient has to be transported to the nearest medical facility. You also need to check the maximum benefit that the insurance would provide, as you might have to personally fund the remaining amount.

7. Understanding “Medical Necessity” for Air Ambulance Transport Coverage

In order to prevent misuse of air ambulance services that can cause a financial burden, insurance companies have clearly defined what constitutes a medical necessity. In fact, the American Medical Association has laid down a “Model Managed Care Contract” for this very purpose. It says that a qualified medical doctor can – for the purposes of diagnosing, preventing, or treating a disease, illness, or any symptoms – suggest air ambulances provided, the need is:

  • In agreement with the widely accepted medical care standards
  • Medically viable in terms of extent, frequency, site and duration
  • Not merely for monetary benefit of purchasers or health plan, or only for convenience of the doctor, medical care provider or patient.

8. Medicare and Air Ambulance Costs

Most air ambulance service providers will offer billing Medicare directly. However, the cost coverage would be limited to what Medicare actually agrees to reimburse, and you might have to pay the rest out of pocket. Also, there are specific situations in which Medicare covers the cost of medical air services.

9. Help with Ascertaining Insurance Coverage of Medical Flight Services

Most air medical transport service providers will assist you in knowing the coverage you can expect from your insurance provider. In fact, a good organization would have reimbursements specialists at their end. They would not only help you get the pre-authorization but also go a step ahead and take the responsibility of submitting letters of medical necessity, claims forms, and other such relevant documents.

10. Cost of Air Ambulance Services in the Absence of Insurance

Fortunately, the United States has some of the best medical care facilities in the world. So, in most instances the medical travel is within the country. A typical US air ambulance service can cost you just under $10,000. However, this is just an average estimate and the price can vary depending on the distance that the critically ill patient has to travel. Again, factors like pre-scheduling the flight can play a major factor in bringing down the expenses. Also, eliminating a medical flight broker can save you some money. The cost of international air ambulances services can be significantly higher.

11. Alternatives that Can Save Money as Opposed to Air Ambulances

While an

air ambulance service

is the easiest way to organize things, it is not always the cheapest. Some companies also offer you more cost-effective alternatives such as:

  • Boarding the patient on a commercial airliner with qualified medical staff and equipment
  • Utilizing commercial airline stretcher service where the last few seats are removed in order to accommodate the patient and the medical equipment
  • If the time involved in arranging the air ambulance flights is too long, you can choose ground travel with enough number of drivers to cover the distance along with the right medical personnel and equipment.

12. Understanding Air Ambulance Cards

Air ambulance cards are best described as membership programs that enable medical air transport domestically and internationally with just a single phone call. These can be ideal for people who frequently travel beyond their borders into countries where there are communication barriers and inadequate medical facilities. The carriers of air ambulance cards can rest assured that in case of any health eventuality, they can safely board air ambulance flights and return to their home country for quality treatment. The air ambulance card providers usually have worldwide air ambulance networks that enable them to provide a facility like this to their clients.

13. The Need for Air Ambulance Cards

Air ambulance cards act as an additional layer of protection beyond travel health insurances. While the best that travel health insurance can do is provide you with very limited medical evacuation coverage, air ambulance cards give you the complete solution. Most importantly, these cards bring with them the peace of mind that you are safe all the time. However, it must be noted that these cards are not intended to be a replacement for travel health insurance.

14. Check Whether Travel Health Insurance is as Good as Air Ambulance Card

Your credit card or travel health insurance might offer you evacuation through air ambulances to the nearest hospital in the country you are travelling or the nearest hospital in your home country. Air ambulance cards, however, go a step further. These cards will allow you to be air lifted to the hospital of your choice. Most importantly, you will not have to go through the approval and evaluation process which is a must with most medical insurances. You are also freed from the tedious claims process. Although the treating physician is consulted by the air ambulance card to verify the health criteria for transport, the ultimate decision of availing the air ambulance service is taken by the member.

15. Understanding the Cost Advantage of Air Ambulance Cards

While domestic air ambulance transport can cost anywhere between $5,000 to $10,000, international air ambulance services can be quite expensive going up to a $100,000. Moreover, you would have little time to arrange the money as the entire cost would have to be borne upfront. In stark contrast, when you have an air ambulance card, all you pay is a membership fee. You can also include your family in the membership depending on the plan that you choose.

16. Checks to Ensure Quality Care when Choosing an Air Ambulance Service

With the health of your loved one at stake and considerable cost involvement, it is natural for you to wonder whether you are in good hands. Therefore, before zeroing down on a particular air ambulance service, check whether:

  • The medical air transportation service is licensed by Federal Aviation Administration or FAA
  • The air ambulance service company has a medical director
  • The medical air transport company has malpractice and liability insurance
  • You are dealing with a broker or a company, which offers an air ambulance service that has a wide enough network
  • The medical flights are licensed in the state as air ambulance
  • There are enough qualified and trained air ambulance specialists in the medical flight
  • The air medical transport company provides bed to bed service

These simple questions to your flight coordinator will afford you peace of mind and ensure safety of the patient.

17. Ensuring that the Aircraft is Safe for Medical Air Transport

There are two aspects to reliable air ambulance companies. The first is qualified staff and the second is the safety of the aircraft itself. Ensuring that the air ambulance service that you choose is FAA licensed is the first step. The regulations laid down by the FAA ensure that the operation and maintenance of the aircraft are of a certain standard. It also ensures that you have a well-trained pilot at your service. In addition to this, you might want to inquire about the kind of annual training the pilot is given. You would also want to look at their safety track record.

18. Evaluating the Quality of Medical Care on the Air Ambulance

Check whether the air ambulance companies that you choose give a full disclosure about their staff and their experience. You do not want less experienced, minimum wage employees working multiple shifts taking care of you. Ensure that you have registered nurses and critical care flight paramedics on-board. Never shy away from asking your flight coordinator such questions.

19. Check Number of Personnel that Accompany the Patient on the Medical Flight

A standard team usually consists of at least two medical professionals one of whom is a nurse and the other a medical doctor. This can increase depending on the medical needs of the patient and the presence of paramedics might also be warranted.

20. Medications and Equipment On-board the Medical Flight

Medical emergencies have a way of making their way to patients without warning. Ask your flight coordinator whether basic equipment such as defibrillators, stretchers, heart monitors, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, equipment for resuscitation, and intravenous drug administration equipment would be readily available in the air ambulance. The medical flight also needs to carry the essential drugs that are vital for the health of the patient.

21. Health Precautions When Traveling Abroad

While air ambulance services would be available to you through most parts of the world, there are certain precautions that you need to take so that you have immediate quality medical care at hand. Looking at your insurance coverage must be your top priority. Your domestic insurance will not cover your expenses in case you are injured or ill overseas. You might also want a list of nearest hospitals that are easily accessible to medical flights.

22. Insurance Coverage When Travelling Overseas

The social security Medicare does not cover your health eventualities overseas. Not just that your private insurance provider too might not cover you internationally. Hospitals in many countries demand that you pay the treatment costs upfront. So, the first step would be to evaluate your insurance coverage and check how well you are covered when you are travelling abroad. Depending on the coverage, you can then seek additional insurance. Remember, the air ambulance services will carry you back to your home country, but until then, you may need to fend for yourself.

23. Travel Insurance and Travel Medical Insurance

You invest a certain amount when you travel abroad such as expenses for travel, stay, etc. These expenses are covered by your travel insurance depending on the coverage limit. Travel medical insurance on the other hand insures you against illnesses and injuries when you travel overseas. Most countries demand that tourists have both travel insurance as well as travel medical insurance. A good idea would be to check whether your travel medical insurance covers air ambulance services so that you are assured of quality medical care in your own country in case the need arises.

24. Check Whether the Air Ambulance Service has Centralized Flight Operations

Having centralized flight operations has several advantages. The main one being that the scheduling automatically becomes more efficient. This efficiency translates into quicker transit and lower costs. Such air ambulance companies would be able to check the status of air ambulance worldwide and set you up with one that suits your location and medical necessities best.

25. Assistance You Can Expect from the US Government if Disabled Abroad

If locating appropriate medical services is an issue, the US Consulate would help you with that. It would also assist you with quick transfer of funds if the need arises. However, the responsibility to pay your expenses incurred on medical care and transfer such as air ambulance transport would entirely rest on your shoulders. The US Embassy website too has a lot of useful information to safeguard your health when travelling abroad.

26. Flying with a Medical Escort Service instead of Air Ambulance

While you might need to travel utilizing an aircraft for medical necessities, an air ambulance service as such may not be warranted. In a situation like this, you can save money and time by utilizing the service of a commercial medical escort. This specialist would be able to provide you services like sedation, oxygen, cardiac monitoring, pain management, and would take care of the patient’s other essential medical needs. The medical escort would accompany the patient throughout the journey until he or she safely reaches the desired destination. To qualify for a service like this, your doctor will have to approve that you would be able to sit for the duration of the flight without adverse health repercussions. Most companies that offer air ambulance services also offer medical escort services.

27. Understanding Critical Care Air Ambulance Services

There are times when a patient needs facilities that are as good as an intensive care unit when travelling through air ambulances. This is where critical care air ambulance services come into picture. This service virtually can transform an aircraft into a flying intensive care unit with equipment like intra-aortic balloon pumps, newborn incubators, saturation monitors and other high-technology medical equipment. The flight would also have onboard air ambulance specialists who are well-versed with tackling any eventualities that the patient’s medical condition can cause. The care coordination in such instances has to be very precise as there is little room for delay or error.

28. Understanding Medical Repatriation with International Air Ambulance Services

Returning to the home country or medical repatriation is often a complex procedure. You need experienced personnel who can arrange the repatriation on time so that the health of the patient remains unaffected. At times, this can mean going through complex procedures. Having an in-depth understanding of international rules and regulations is a must. An international air ambulance service that employs bilingual individuals helps in such situations. The repatriation may demand that the service provider is well versed with procedures such as preparing citizenship papers, coordinating with foreign consulates, and taking care of clearances and customs issues.

29. Organ Procurement through Medical Air Services

Organ recipients usually have to wait for months or years together on the waiting list to receive an organ donation such as kidneys, liver, or eyes. The transit time from the donor’s location to the recipient’s location is always critical to keep the organ viable. Then, there are issues such as maintenance of the organ in the right medical environment. Air ambulance services play a major part in this live-saving effort which is extremely time sensitive. Communication, coordination, ground staff and equipment play a huge role in such situations.

30. The Affiliations that Matter when Choosing Air Ambulance Services

The fact that the air ambulance service is affiliated with either all or several of the organizations listed below ensures that the patient is in safe hands. These affiliations demand that the air ambulance services maintain certain standards in order to be accredited. The major ones are:

Things to Know Before Availing Air Ambulance Service

From carrying the elderly who find it tough to get through the security precautions of commercial flights to carrying critical patients, an air ambulance can cater to a whole range of medical transportation needs. Air ambulances are always well-equipped with medical facilities and have experts onboard such that ferrying patients is as safe as it gets. However, knowing certain things beforehand can make this medical travel more comfortable.

Who is Best Suited for Air Ambulance Service?

Air ambulances are best suited for patients who need to travel a distance that is in excess of around 250 miles. The air ambulance route becomes almost the safest way to travel when the patient is suffering from severe burns, spinal cord injury, or needs ongoing treatment for ailments such as cancer.

Air Ambulance Service Beyond National Borders

Most air ambulance service providers can carry their patients not just across national borders but also across continents. However, owing to several procedural demands such as acquisition of visa, landing arrangements and permits, it is wise to book the flights well in advance. In general, when there is a medical emergency, the arrangements can be made within as little as 2 hours depending on the destination.

Accompanying the Patient in Air Ambulances

The number of people who can travel along with the patient entirely depends on the size of the flight and the service chosen. Usually, a minimum of 1 to 2 people can accompany the patient as preference has to be given to qualified staff to care for the patient.

Planning Your Luggage Before Boarding

Naturally, preference is given to the medical equipment and the comfort of the patient. This means that there is just a little space in the air ambulance for personal luggage. It is a good idea to get most of the personal luggage transported through a commercial flight. A bit of planning and carrying only the essential items is the best way to go about your luggage.

You Do not Have to Worry about Logistics

When you avail the air ambulance service, the provider will ensure that there is perfect coordination during boarding and disembarking from the aircraft such that qualified staff is available at all times. All that a loved one has to do is be with the patient and follow the guidelines provided.

REVA Air Ambulance Receives Prestigious Award from City of Fort Lauderdale Florida

REVA Air Ambulance has announce that they were awarded Fort Lauderdale’s Achievements in Community Excellence (ACE) award, for superior efforts to Fort Lauderdale  Executive Airport.

air-ambulance-award-aceREVA is known for operating the nation’s largest fleet air ambulances.  The award proves REVA’s continued work to surpass Fort Lauderdale’s Noise Abatement Program.

Mayor Seiler congratulated REVA CEO Stuart Hayman for “striving to help make Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport a better neighbor to the surrounding community, and for outstanding contributions in the areas of economic development and community outreach.”

Having successfully completed over 20 thousand medical flights, REVA offers  air ambulance medical transportation worldwide.

REVA Air Ambulance Finalizes Purchase of American Care Air Ambulance

REVA Medical Flights, the world’s most distinguished Medical Flights service transport company in the North American continent , has finalized the takeover of American Care Air Ambulance and its subsidiaries (“American Care”). American Care is a pronounce Medical Flights transporter with business Spokane, WA and San Diego, CA.  The American Care transaction continues REVA’s geographic expansion and further strengthens REVA’s presence and coverage of the Western U.S. and Asia.
Based in Fort Lauderdale, FL, REVA is the largest dedicated fixed wing medical flights services provider in the Americas. REVA provides responsive, safe and reliable air transportation and quality medical care through its company owned and operated fleet of aircraft, experienced pilots and world-class medical staff. The company is a leader in the challenging international transport segment executing trips throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia. For more information, please visit http://www.flyreva.com/.

American care air ambulance has a over nineteen year operating history and a strong reputation with its loyal client base. As a result of the American Care transaction, REVA now operates a fleet of more than 10 Medical Flights aircraft at 5 strategically positioned bases, with continued growth expected in new planes and markets. American Care founder Milan Floribus will continue as a valuable member of the REVA team and the American Care operations will benefit greatly from the increased scale and capabilities of the combined company.
“We are excited to have Milan and the American Care team join the REVA family and to expand REVA’s presence in a key region. This combination will allow us to better serve our existing clients and we look forward to working with new clients through our partnership with American Care” said Stuart Hayman, CEO of REVA. Milan Floribus added, “REVA was the right partner for us given their extraordinary professionalism, dedication to patient safety and impressive global alliances and capabilities.” Mr. Hayman added that REVA Air Ambulance remains interested in acquiring or partnering with additional fixed wing Medical Flights providers.

 

For Canadian air ambulance ratings please see AirAmbulanceRatings.com.

Will My Insurance Cover an Air Ambulance Flight?

During a medical emergency, no one wants to worry about money. However, medical care can be very expensive. Air ambulances typically transport the sickest, most critical patients. Air ambulances are operated by highly-trained personnel. Therefore, the costs for air ambulance transport can be astronomical.

Not all insurance companies will pay for air ambulance transport. With almost no exceptions, they will have strict requirements for payment. Typically a patient would need to be in the middle of a severe medical emergency with no other options for the company to pay. Since such situations most often occur unexpectedly, it would be a smart idea to ask you insurance company ahead of time if they will cover transport by air ambulance.

Also, before you decide on a medical flight company, check out the air ambulance company’s ratings and reviews online.  I would also ensure that the air ambulance company is properly accredited and has the appropriate insurance and licenses.

REVA-Air-Ambulance-NAAMTA-Accreditation

REVA Air Ambulance and Medical Flights Company Accredited by NAAMTA

REVA Air Ambulance and Medical Flights Company Accredited by NAAMTA. Following a comprehensive audit of its medical techniques and facilities, REVA air ambulance company is now a NAAMTA Alliance member.  announces pleased to announce that following a comprehensive audit of its medical techniques and facilities, the National Accreditation Alliance of Medical Transport Applications has awarded REVA with NAAMTA’s full medical transport accreditation.  REVA, which is the result of the merger of FAA Air Carrier Certificate holder Aero Jet International, Inc., and Air Ambulance Professionals, operates domestic and international medical flight services. REVA’s first Air Ambulance company headquarters is still located in Florida, but now also has bases in Arizona and Puerto Rico.

 

NAAMTA accreditation confirms REVA’s best-practices standards, its culture of safety and continuing education, and its commitment to the well-being of both its clients and its flight teams, said REVA CEO Stuart Hayman on Monday at the joint conference announcing the achievement.

“Earning NAAMTA accreditation has been a top priority since the first day of our merger 18 months ago with Aero Jet International, Inc., and Air Ambulance Professionals. Since then, every staff member, every medical associate and every management, training, and safety action at REVA has been aimed at ensuring that we meet or exceed NAAMTA’s high standards,”  said REVA Program Director Lesa Armstrong, R.N.

REVA-Air-Ambulance-NAAMTA-Accreditation

Armstrong explained that by applying the Alliance’s best-practices standards and implementation protocols to all aspects of air-ambulance transportation, REVA integrates medical, technical, and management standards. “In simple terms, we now practice a unified standard, across the board.  This reflects the highest and best quality measures in each of the fields that make up air-ambulance services,” she said.

“Whether we’re looking at medical practices or financial management, whether we’re examining aircraft maintenance or continuing education, NAAMTA holds members to the highest and best reference against which our clients, patients, medical personnel, and flight crews can our measure performance,” CEO Hayman said. “It’s an accreditation that our clients can trust.”

In welcoming REVA to the prestigious roster of NAAMTA-accredited medical transportation firms, NAAMTA Executive Director Roylen Griffin said his auditors found overwhelming evidence of REVA’s commitment to quality management and safety practices at every level of its organization.

NAAMTA accreditation is built on providing standards that focus on quality patient care and the safe transport of everyone involved.  NAAMTA’s Alliance brings each member organization to the vanguard of continuous improvement for medical transport. The Alliance’s site audit found the Core Values at REVA to be the driving force of every employee interviewed. “We are very impressed,” Griffin said.  “The accreditation process demonstrates REVA’s dedication to the individual patient before, during, and after transport.”

“Accreditation is continuous dynamic,” Griffin added. “NAAMTA advocates a continual self-auditing and monitoring. REVA’s participation in the auditing process, from start to completion, demonstrates its commitment to our high standards, which clients, technical staffs, and medical professionals recognize.”

NAAMTA accreditation places REVA in a select body of medical transportation providers.  “Each provider, individually and as a group under the NAAMTA umbrella, demonstrates a corporate value system in which quality standards are not just enforced, but are continually monitored, developed and defined as medical transportation systems and expectations advance alongside the progress of medicine, patient care, and allied technologies,” Griffin said.

Accreditation by NAAMTA is awarded for three years, during which time members are encouraged to participate in on-going professional, technical and medical development, both on-line and in the seminars and workshops offered by NAAMTA.

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NAAMTA is based in American Fork, Utah. It is the medical transportation field’s leading auditing agency for overseeing unified performance quality standards for medical personnel, flight personnel, equipment, management, and financial performance by its members. Its auditing standards are certified by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and endorsed by multiple specialty fields within the medical transportation industry.

REVA Air Ambulance is the result of the merger of Aero Jet International, Inc., and Air Ambulance Professionals. Aero Jet International, Inc., the Air Carrier Certificate holder, operates all flights and has been delivering quality transportation for more two decades from bases in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Phoenix, Arizona.  Medical staff, pilots, mechanics, maintenance and support personnel are fully licensed, certified, and trained, meeting and exceeding industry standards and quality expectations. Aircraft are fully FAA certified. The fleet is accredited by the European Aeromedical Institute (EURAMI), a quality compliance designation; the Canadian Transportation Agency International License; U.S. Treasury Cuban operation authorization; all required State of Florida and State of Arizona emergency medical air ambulance services and emergency medical service licenses; and others, including operating certificates and permits for Bermuda and sites within the European Union.

 

Source: http://www.flyreva.com/reva-air-ambulance-earns-prestigious-naamta-accreditation/

Do emergency medical vehicles or aircraft have to permitted before operating them in Florida?

Yes, vehicles and aircraft must be permitted under your service license before operating them.   Vehicles are permitted either at the Basic Life Support (BLS) or Advanced Life Support (ALS) level.  Once permitted at that level, the vehicle must be operated at all times at that level with the required staffing and equipment.

Reference Section 401.26, Florida Statutes and Section 64J-1.007, Florida Administrative Code.