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.
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.
We have already discussed previously that air ambulance transport can cost up to $100,000 when it involves crossing international borders. Now, add this amount to the medical expenses you incur overseas and your trip can turn out to be a physical and financial nightmare. Your Medicare and Medicaid will not cover you in a foreign country unless you have purchased supplemental coverage. However, they have no provisions to cover for air ambulance transport overseas whatsoever. Most health insurance policies like Aetna and Blue Cross too won’t cover you for air ambulance transport in situations like these, although they do cover emergency care. You might have to first pay out of pocket and ask for reimbursement later.
Look for Options that Cover Air Ambulance Transport Overseas
As a matter of caution, it therefore becomes necessary that people travelling abroad look at options that actually cover air ambulance transport back home. Let’s explore some of these:
- Travel Guard by AIG is one such option. This includes medical evacuation, which means you have medical insurance along with air ambulance transport charges covered through the policy.
- Med Jet Assist is another option. The only requirement here is that you are 150 miles away from your home. The membership allows the patient to fly back to the hospital of choice once medically stable. Med Jet Assist charters air ambulance transport for this purpose.
- Air Med is also an option which gives you the same benefits as Med Jet Assist does. The only difference here is that Air Med owns its own fleet for air ambulance transport.
- Air Ambulance Card is another company that offers similar services as Med Jet Assist and Air Med.
Never Travel Overseas without Air Ambulance Transport Coverage
It is impossible to compensate for the unfortunate hardships you suffer overseas sometimes. However, having adequate air ambulance transport coverage ensures that you get the best medical care in your home country. Often, the exotic locations that you travel have unhygienic and inadequately staffed hospitals. You do not want to be compelled to seek treatment in such conditions. Good air ambulance transport coverage insulates you from such situations. Plus the amount you pay for such coverage is negligible considering the cost of overseas air ambulance transport.
Among the many conditions Medicare lays down, ensuring that “the facility is appropriate” is vital. Failing this condition, the medical air transportation service might go uncovered and cause financial stress on you later. Here, we try and understand what makes a medical facility appropriate. The data has been collected from Department of Health and Human Resources, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
The Medical Air Transportation Must Carry the Patient to an Equipped Facility
The appropriate facility could be an acute care hospital. The facility must be adequately equipped to provide hospital care or skilled nursing services which are in accordance with the demands of the injury or illness that the patient comes with. A physician or specialist who is qualified to take care of the patient must also be available at the destination that the medical air transportation carries him or her to.
Situations that Allow Medical Air Transportation to a More Distant Facility
It is generally assumed that all licensed medical facilities would be able to care for the patient. If the nearest medical facility is not equipped enough to care for the patient, medical air transportation of the patient can be carried out to the next nearest facility. The circumstances that warrant such medical air transportation are as follows:
- The patient’s condition demands a higher level speciality or trauma care, which can only be availed at a medical facility that is more distant.
- There is a problem with the availability of beds in the nearest facility.
The medical air transportation to a facility solely for the purpose of availing the service of a particular doctor is not permissible and might not be covered. Also, Medicare might not cover medical air transportation to a distant hospital merely because the patient desires it, in spite of the medical facilities being available at the nearest hospital.
Unless you are ready to bear the cost of medical air transportation yourself or have other means to cover the cost, these facts must be borne in mind. Knowing such conditions beforehand keeps you insulated from monetary shocks at a later stage.
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.
Airambulanceratings.com has released a statement disclosing updated air ambulance company profiles due out next week. Updated air ambulance company pages will include address, phone number, social media profiles website links additional photos and more.
It normally makes both practical and economic sense to transport a patient via ground ambulance for transports within 200 miles.
Helicopter Air Ambulance
A helicopter Air Ambulance is generally used if an emergency transport is needed, especially from hospital to hospital within a range of about 200 miles.
Airplane (Fixed Wing) Air Ambulance
Non emergency transports more than 200 miles are usually most effective in a airplane air ambulance. Emergency air transports that are more than 300 miles are usually most effective in airplane air ambulance.
Seek an established company that owns and operates it own equipment and has a full-time dedicated staff. The company should be certified as an air ambulance service by the FAA and should have all related licenses and insurance