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Working in the Air Ambulance Industry – Exploring New Age Opportunities

People with a flair for adventure and a want to do good for the society are the ones who usually choose a career in the air ambulance industry. Of course, money is a criterion too and, for the most part, remuneration too is considered good. We have, in the past, pointed out that there is going to be a continually huge demand for air ambulance technicians and pilots in the days to come and the demand will last for almost a decade or even more. However, not many people understand that the industry is at the cusp of a disruption for the good and technology is leading this change. In the days to come, innovation will drive the industry to bring about efficiency in cost, customer experiences and operations.

How Technology Drives Air Ambulance Flying Experiences

The way customer data is utilized by air ambulance companies will determine what kind of experience they ultimately provide to their customers. Their health needs can be taken care of more efficiently. This data also opens up ancillary sales opportunities. For example, the luxury that a patient is used to or the expectations of the person accompanying the patient can be gleaned through the various online tools at our disposal today.

There is also connected technology or IoT or Internet of Things, which connects the various parts of a flight to the ground staff for ongoing monitoring of its flight worthiness. The technology can even make predictive maintenance possible wherein an air ambulance organization can predict a problem that the aircraft might encounter and take anticipatory action to avoid the problem all together.

Newer Technology Means Newer Opportunities

With all these technologies proving useful for the air ambulance industry, the innovative digital skills needed for their implementation will be in high demand. People looking for a career in the air ambulance sector have a wider career option today.

Traumatic Brain Injury and Airambulance Services

Traumatic brain injuries can be fatal and demand urgent medical attention that airambulance services can provide. According to a statistic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, traumatic brain injuries are among the leading causes of disability and even death in the United States of America. To put a number to the extent of its dangerousness, traumatic brain injuries account for about 30% of all deaths associated with injuries. The leading causes of brain injuries in the country are assaults, motor vehicle accidents, sports related mishaps, and falls. While the risk of falls is considered high among senior citizens, sports are a major cause for traumatic brain injuries among the younger population.

Ambulance Sometimes Becomes a Necessity in Traumatic Brain Injuries

The survival rate of a patient increases drastically if he or she receives treatment right on time. This is where airambulance services come into play. If the injury occurs in remote or rural areas where access to adequate neurological care is next to impossible, the only recourse that remains is transportation by airambulance. Among the advantages of using airambulance services apart from the speed is the comfort and facilities that they offer. They are usually better equipped. Also, the chances of secondary trauma owing to transport are almost zero when the airambulance is used for transport.

The Immediate Symptoms of a Traumatic Brain Injury

It must be noted that the symptoms related to traumatic brain injury vary based on the severity of the injury. Patients are usually seen experiencing mild-to-severe changes in personality or behaviour, loss of sensation in any or several parts of the body, muddled or impaired thought process, loss of memory, impairment in vision, slurring of speech, inability to move one or more parts of the body. Airambulance services usually employ specific protocols when traumatic brain injuries are involved and utmost care is taken to keep the patient safe so that the chances of long-term consequences are minimum to none.

Air Ambulance Transport – Think Before You Take a Private Insurance

According to a recent report by Government Accountability Office, 69 percent of air ambulance flights are not covered by private insurance providers. That is more than two thirds of the air ambulances out there in the country. There are a total of about 20,700 medical flights in the United States of America to put a number to this fact. The median price that was charged by air ambulance companies when a helicopter was involved was about USD 36,400 in 2017. The price shot up to USD 40,600 when the need for medical transportation involved fixed-wing aircrafts in the same year. When the complaints pertaining to balance billing to Government Accountability Office were examined, it was seen that the balance billing amounts were at least USD 10,000.

Consider the Necessity of Air Ambulance Service Seriously

Unfortunately, air ambulance services are hardly a consideration when one opts for a private health insurance. The wise thing would be to ask the agent whether they cover air ambulance services. One needs to do this proactively. Moreover, one must specifically ask which of the air ambulance companies are in-network of the private health insurance provider. Once you come to know of the names, check whether these air ambulance companies offer service in your region specifically. There are a lot of regional medical flight companies in the United States of America. Avoid the off chance that the air ambulance companies covered by insurance do not serve your region.

Be Wise and Purchase Air Ambulance Memberships

Air ambulance memberships can be very cheap. The memberships are usually renewed annually. Find out the air ambulance companies in your region and check what kind of memberships they offer. Opt for  a membership that covers your entire family. It would not be a bad idea to hold memberships with more than one air ambulance company. These memberships protect the end customers from balance billing. Another great idea is to suggest your employer to get group memberships for the staff of the company as this can get the price of memberships down significantly.

A Quick Guide to Know US Air Ambulance Industry Better – Frequently Used Terms

There’s a lot happening in the US air ambulance industry at the current time with people opposing high bills, law makers coming up with newer regulations, and medical flight companies demanding more accountability from the health insurance industry. These happenings will, ultimately, affect the common US citizens. Here’s a glossary of sorts that allows you to understand certain points pertaining to the US air ambulance industry.

ADA of 1978 – the act that governs US Air Ambulance Industry

ADA stands for Airlines Deregulation Act. It was enacted in the year 1978 and has since governed the aviation industry in general. This is a federal act and prevents the states from interfering in the affairs of US air ambulance service providers when it comes to price, route and service.

FAA Reauthorisation Act

The abbreviation FAA stands for Federal Aviation Administration – the body that regulates aviation services in the US. The Reauthorisation Act is currently under consideration. If passed, it will give the states the ability to interfere in the matters pertaining to price, route and service, but only when it comes to the US air ambulance industry. The Act is a response to people’s demand to the government to look into the skyrocketing medical flight bills.

In-Network Air Ambulance Service Providers

Most US air ambulance companies have an understanding with insurance providers to cover their services, at least in a given location. These medical flight companies are considered “in-network” by the insurance providers, and mostly, full coverage is given if their subscribers opt for these medical flight companies.

Balance Billing

In most instances insurance companies only cover a part of the air ambulance bills. The medical flight companies are forced to cover the remaining money from the patients directly. In other words the balance amount is billed to the consumers.

ADA Pre-emption

The ADA of 1978 is clear that states cannot interfere in the affairs of US air ambulance companies when it comes to price, route and service as mentioned above. If an air ambulance company is sued with regards to any of these, it enjoys pre-emption from such lawsuits.

US Air Ambulance Memberships

Most US air ambulance companies offer annual memberships at a nominal fee. These members enjoy complete insulation from balance billing. The membership is an additional layer of protection over and above the health insurance.

Understanding the Importance of Golden Hour in Air Ambulance World

“Golden hour” is a term that is often referred to in cases of medical emergencies, especially involving an air ambulance. However, if you try looking the term up on the internet, you will be confronted with a variety of conflicting definitions and opinions on it. Here, we try and impress upon you the importance of the term golden hour and tell you why the term needs to be viewed in a broader perspective.

What does the Term Mean for an Air Ambulance Service?

In short, golden hour is that short window of time by which a patient stands the maximum chance of full recovery if he or she receives medical attention. The term is most often referred to in critical cases and the window is usually 60 minutes. It is therefore always the ultimate aim of an air ambulance service to get help within this window of time, when dealing with emergencies. It must be understood that an air ambulance does not always get the full 60 minutes to transport a critical patient, since getting the logistics right can be quite a task. Getting the first-responders, qualified crew, and the staff of the receiving hospital in tandem can prove tough, although an air ambulance service would give it its best to get these aspects in sync.

An Air Ambulance may get a Larger Window of Time Sometimes

If one is to define the golden hour in a wider sense, it would be a time greater than one hour in some cases. Take for instance stroke victims. Here the air ambulance would have about 3 hours at its disposal to get the patient the help he or she needs. In essence, the golden hour need not be 60 minutes literally. It could be a case-by-case urgency, which would be best defined by the treating physician. The golden hour would also determine – in most cases – whether an air ambulance is a feasible option considering the time, accessibility, and costs involved. However, being knowledgeable about the golden hour can help you call for help in a timely manner and save a loved one.

Florida Statute Regarding Air Ambulance Service ans License

See original

The 2012 Florida Statutes

Title XXIX

PUBLIC HEALTH

Chapter 401

MEDICAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORTATION

401.251 Air ambulance service; licensure.—

(1) Each person, firm, corporation, association, or governmental entity that owns or acts as an agent for the owner of any business or service that furnishes, operates, conducts, maintains, advertises, engages in, proposes to engage in, or professes to engage in the business or service of transporting by air ambulance persons who require or are likely to require medical attention during transport must be licensed as an air ambulance service, before offering such service.

(2) The application for this license must be submitted to the department on forms provided for this purpose. The application must include documentation that the applicant meets the appropriate requirements for an air ambulance service as specified by rule of the department.

(3) An applicant who seeks licensure as an air ambulance service must:

(a) Submit a completed application to the department on such forms and including such information as specified by rule of the department.

(b) Submit the appropriate fee as provided in s. 401.34.

(c) Specify the location of all required medical equipment and provide documentation that all such equipment is available and in good working order.

(d) Provide documentation that all aircraft and crew members meet applicable Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations.

(e) Provide proof of adequate insurance coverage of not less than $100,000 per person and $300,000 per incident, or a greater amount if specified by rule of the department, for claims arising out of injury or death of persons and damage to property of others resulting from any cause for which the owner of such business or service would be liable. Self-insurance is an acceptable alternative as specified in s. 401.25(2)(c).

(f) Specify whether the service uses either fixed-winged or rotary-winged aircraft, or both.

(4)(a) If a service provides interhospital air transport, air transport from hospital to another facility, air transport from hospital to home, or similar air transport, the service must provide evidence that it has employed or contracted with a medical director to advise the service on the appropriate staffing, equipment, and supplies to be used for the transport of any patient aboard an air ambulance and must provide information to referring physicians regarding special medical requirements and restrictions when transporting by air ambulance.

(b) If the air ambulance service uses rotary-winged aircraft in conjunction with another emergency medical service, the air ambulance service must meet the provisions of this section and must meet separate basic life support and advanced life support requirements unique to air ambulance operations as is required by rules of the department. Such service is subject to the provisions of s. 401.25 relating to a certificate of public convenience and necessity; however, a service may operate in any county under the terms of mutual aid agreements.

(c) Unless, in the opinion of the attending physician, the patient has an emergency medical condition as defined by s. 395.002, the service must provide each person using the service, before rendering the service, a written description of the services to be rendered and the cost of those services.

(5) In order to renew a license for air ambulance service, the applicant must:

(a) Submit a renewal application to the department not more than 90 days nor less than 60 days before the license expires.

(b) Submit the appropriate renewal fee as provided in s. 401.34.

(c) Provide documentation that current standards for issuance of a license are met.

(6) Any advanced life support service licensee may engage in air ambulance operations by complying with the appropriate provisions of this section and requirements specified by rule of the department.

History.—ss. 11, 13, ch. 83-196; s. 1, ch. 91-169; ss. 27, 36, ch. 92-78; s. 73, ch. 92-289.

Note.—Former s. 401.48.

What are the requirements for an ambulance driver in Florida?

An ambulance driver must meet the following requirements:

  • Is at least 18 years of age;
  • certifies under oath that he or she is not addicted to alcohol or any controlled substance, and is free from any physical or mental defect or disease that might impair their ability to drive an ambulance;
  • Upon initial designation as a driver, has not within the past 3 years, been convicted of reckless driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or controlled substance and has not had a driver’s license suspended under the point system provided for in Chapter 322, Florida Statutes;
  • successfully completed a 16 hour course of instruction on driving an authorized emergency vehicle, which includes, at a minimum, classroom and behind the wheel training.  Section 64J-1.013, Florida Administrative Code for details on the 16 hour course content;
  • possess a valid American Red Cross or National Safety Council first aid course or its equivalent; and
  • possess a valid American Red Cross or American Heart Association cardiopulmonary resuscitation card.

Reference Section 401.281, Florida Statutes and Chapter 64J-1.013, Florida Administrative Code.