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.

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.

Choosing Your Health Insurance from Air Ambulance Perspective

Most of us have a fair idea of what to look for when going for a health insurance. What we don’t usually look at is the kind of air ambulance transport coverage provided. The medical world is increasingly making use of air ambulance services to get the patients appropriate treatment on time to better the chances of survival. You can never predict when you might need air ambulance services. Here, we discuss a few points that can go a long way in ensuring adequate air ambulance coverage.

Speak to Your Insurance Agent about Air Ambulance Coverage

This is one of the most basic steps in ensuring adequate air ambulance coverage. Plainly ask your insurance agent about it. He or she is bound to disclose this information. Also, you would be educated properly on the kind of extra coverage you stand to get, even if it means spending a little extra in the form of insurance premium.

Are You Satisfied with the Air Ambulance Coverage Offered to You?

Never compromise on the extent of air ambulance cover. If your insurance has limits on the extent of coverage and if you are not fully satisfied with it, explore other options. There are several private players in the health insurance sector. You are sure to find the right match when you look close enough. Some insurance companies have not kept with time and have not increased their coverage limits. It is best you stay away from such companies.

Check the Services of Various Air Ambulance Companies

Most air ambulance service providers help you with insurance cover. They hire specialists who will follow up with the insurance companies to get the reimbursements. Although the choice of actually insisting on a particular air ambulance service provider is slim, you never know, you might be able to opt for a particular one and being prepared never harms. Just pick up the phone and call some of the air ambulance companies and learn how they deal with insurance covers, especially when you have a private insurance.

Keep in mind that the letter of medical necessity issued by a doctor is essential but it does not guarantee air ambulance coverage. Ultimately, it is the medical director of the insurance company who decides whether you get air ambulance coverage or not.

Medicare’s Special Coverage Rule for Air Ambulance Services

We’ve already discussed several criteria which need to be satisfied for air ambulance services to be covered by Medicare. We also know that an air ambulance service is not covered when you have ground ambulance available. We’ve also discussed the fact that only medical air transportation to the nearest “appropriate” medical facility is covered by Medicare. Well, this is not entirely true. You stand to gain at least part coverage in the above two situations through the Special Coverage Rule. It helps:

  1. People who feel air ambulance services are absolutely warranted contrary to what medical professionals opine
  2. People who are comfortable admitting the patient to the facility of their choice only

Understanding Air Ambulance Services in the Context of Special Coverage Rule

It is important to note here that the coverage is not extended to places that are not acute care facilities. Places such as physician’s office, nursing facility or the patient’s home would be excluded.

You Prefer Air Ambulance over Ground Ambulance: Now let’s suppose that the medical experts feel that an air ambulance is not warranted and the ground ambulance would suffice. In such a case, Medicare would pay an amount that would have afforded you ground ambulance. The rest of the money would have to be born by you. This amount may be small and would only offer a negligible respite.

You Want the Medical Facility of Your Choice: On the other hand, the medical experts might feel that air ambulance services are warranted. Here, you would be required to transfer the patient to the nearest appropriate facility. However, if you decide to transport the patient utilizing air ambulance services to a facility of your choice, which is at a greater distance than the nearest one, the cost of extra distance to reach it (from the nearest facility) would have to be born by you.

Remember, the air ambulance service provider can ask you for documentation, which clearly indicates that air ambulance services are necessary. Failing to produce the document can mean that you have to pay for the services and then claim it from Medicare.

Does Your Travel Insurance Cover International Air Ambulance Evacuation?

The holiday season is here! This is the time of the year when most people head to exotic locations all over the world. Travel insurance is today part of every individual’s holiday planning. You choose to cover minor risks such as losing your belongings that essentially have no financial consequences. You even buy flight insurance to cover your death incase the airplane crashes within the short duration that you travel in it. But have you thought about international air ambulance evacuation coverage? Missing this vital coverage could result in bankruptcy or at least leave you with a huge financial burden.

Why Purchase International Air Ambulance Evacuation Cover?

The exotic places that you travel to might not have the same standards of medical care that your home country provides. According to one estimate only 5 out of every 100,000 tourists ever need international air ambulance evacuation, but when you consider that over 60 million American citizens travelled abroad last year, the number does not seem so small all of a sudden. The need for international air ambulance evacuation actually seems extremely essential.

International Air Ambulance Evacuation Cover is Not as Expensive as You Imagine

One can buy international air ambulance evacuation cover through travel insurance for about $200 to 300. Seems expensive? Think again. Getting back through a commercial airliner with a nurse to accompany you can alone cost about $25,000. A full fledged international air ambulance evacuation can cost you up to $100,000. Also, keep in mind that Medicare does not cover you outside the United States. When you consider the financial risk, spending additional couple hundred dollars for your own safety and wellbeing does not seem all that expensive. Frequent overseas travelers can avail international air ambulance evacuation cover for roughly the same amount through annual plans. With a little thought and adequate cover, you can enjoy this holiday season without any worries at the back of your mind.