While medical air transport is, no doubt, a life-saving necessity, the bills that the service generates can be quite shocking in most instances. The one belief that lands people in a financial mess is that having a medical insurance is enough to cover the medical air transport bill. Nothing could be far from reality. Insurance companies usually have a tie-up with only a few air ambulance companies. The rest of the companies are considered “out of network” by these insurance providers. What makes it worse is that medical emergencies do not always allow people to choose the in-network companies. When it’s a question of life and death, the quickest service is always the first priority.
Medical Air Transport Requirements are Real – Plan Them
“Prevention is better than cure” and this saying holds true for medical air transport planning. People need to get out of denial thinking, “Oh, that’s a farfetched requirement for me.” Memberships are offered by most air ambulance companies at a very reasonable price. Availing these is the wisest thing you can do.
What if You Do Not Have Air Ambulance Coverage or Membership?
Let’s consider a scenario where you end up with a huge medical air transport bill and you’re absolutely unable to pay it; plus your health insurance refuses to cover it. Get in touch with the air ambulance company, tell them your financial status and make it clear to them what you can pay. Most companies will agree to what you can pay (or at least a figure close to it). The reason is simple – a smaller payment is better than no payment at all.
You can request them for a payment plan, if you think you can pay it over a period of time. Also, negotiate with your health insurance company and try to get them to pay more. Do not shy away from taking legal opinion if it comes to that.
It’s not every time that you get to choose the air ambulance services of your choice – after all emergencies do not knock the door before entering your life. But during those times that you do get to choose the right one for you, it pays (literally) to be well prepared. So, what are those parameters that you need to look at? That’s precisely the question we answer here.
How Experienced are the Personnel Hired by the Air Ambulance Services?
This is the foremost question that you need to ask. Remember, once onboard the air ambulance, the patient’s well being is entirely in the hands of these medical professionals. While most air ambulance services are particular about experienced staff, it is always wise to proactively ask about it. Four to five years is a decent benchmark.
That’s a big one. Simply put, you do not want to come home to a huge medical bill welcoming you with open arms, only to engulf you in a lifetime of debt. Remember, out-of-coverage air ambulance services are not what you want. So, always know what your health insurance carrier covers. Know whether and to what extent your insurance covers air ambulance services.
Explore Cheaper Alternatives
Not all situations demand that you have an entire air ambulance to yourself. Air Ambulance stretchers and air medical escorts are alternatives that you can weigh. Of course, your treating physician is the one who will give you the best perspective here.
Non-Medical Support from Air Ambulance Services
Does the air ambulance service provider also have insurance specialists? How effective is their logistics team? Do they arrange for ambulances from the landing area to the hospital? These are some of the questions that you need to ask.
Look for Reviews Pertaining to Air Ambulance Services
Testimonials, social media pages, and review websites are ideal for some research about the air ambulances services. If a lot of the patients have had bad experiences, you are better off steering clear of such a provider.
The United States of America is among the most expensive countries when it comes to health care. Of course, the quality of health care and the due diligence conducted is exemplary. However, not many citizens are able to afford much-needed health care in the absence of proper insurance. Now, couple this with the cost of medical flight services during emergencies. All these factors put together can form the perfect recipe for an imminent bankruptcy or at least a financial disaster that might take a lifetime to recover from.
Several Medical Flight Services Offer Discounts
We have seen a lot of instances where medical flight providers are forthcoming with discounts when the insurance carriers refuse to cover the expenses. However, this is not always enough. The compounding medical bills along with the medical flight expense can be quite high. So, what is the solution? It does not seem that the state governments capping the air ambulance fee is not simply enough. The question arises: is there a better way to handle this situation? Well, there is and it could be a joint responsibility.
Charity Medical Flight Services Could be the Answer
The United Kingdom has long relied on charity for the medical flight services. It’s not that maintaining air ambulances is cheaper in that country. However, it is often seen that medical flight services are a community affair. One comes across several instances where people go to great length to raise money for medical flight charities. Even Prince William has been a part of a charity medical flight service before. One finds that victims of accidents, invariably after their recovery pay for the act of kindness through fund-raising efforts. The country sees lotteries that had held to raise money regularly. Most importantly, the citizens and non-profit organizations together have realized the importance of such services for the good of humankind.
More often than not, we hear about skyrocketing medical flight bills that families are forced to pay. While it is natural for such families to feel victimized, having some prior knowledge about insurance coverage can prove helpful. If you are among those people who feel all they need to do is pay health insurance premiums, sit back and relax, here’s some news: your most basic health needs might not be covered. This mostly happens when the medical service provider is out of network.
Out of Network Medical Flights can Be Expensive
Take the case of 8-year-old Ben Millheim who met with an unfortunate accident fracturing his skull. The injury necessitated using a medical flight service to a hospital about 100 miles from the site of injury. While the boy survived and recovered well, his parents are still reeling under the $32,000 medical flight bill. Unfortunately for them, the medical flight service that they had used was out of their insurance network. As a result they are now liable to pay the service provider the ‘balance bill.’ In other words, they have to now shell out of their pockets the amount that their insurance provider has refused to pay the medical flight company for the reason that it does not come in their network.
It’s Almost Always a No-win Situation for Patients
Life-threatening injuries leave little room for checking whether a particular medical flight service provider is covered by the health insurance. While insurance companies flatly refuse to bear such expenses, it has been seen that air ambulance companies usually offer a discount to such patients. Plus, several states in the United States have passed legislation to limit balance billing; however, some states like Missouri have not. It must also be noted that there is no federal regulation that governs balance billing, leaving people vulnerable.
While an air ambulance is extremely important to get the patient the care that he or she deserves right when it is needed, it is the paramedics who make sure that the patient gets adequate care in the interim. The situations that paramedics find themselves in are invariably stressful. What makes a great paramedic is the ability to function intelligently under stress. If you are mulling a career as an air ambulance paramedic, you need to do some amount of introspection before you get into it.
The Personality Prerequisites of an Air Ambulance Paramedic
- Begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- Am I usually calm and contained when faced with stressful situations?
- Am I a quick thinker?
- How is my level of physical fitness?
- How good are my problem-solving and analytical skills?
- Am I a team player?
- How good am I at remembering guidelines and protocols?
- Do I communicate effectively enough?
- Do I judge people? Am I a tolerant person?
- Do I enjoy working with people who have diverse backgrounds?
- Can I commit myself to a life of continuous learning?
The Pay is Good and the Work is Challenging
Touching human lives on a daily basis is something that drives certain individuals. However, one needs to take into consideration other factors like qualifications. It is also a lot of hard physical work at times. Once you take into considerations these factors, if you still feel that you have it in you to become an air ambulance paramedic, you should definitely go for it. Keep in mind that the wages you earn will be in tune with your qualification and your experience. So, patience is a virtue that you must possess. Finally, always choose qualifications that are internationally recognized.
In the previous post, we talked about some of the essentials for air ambulance service providers to ensure better pediatric emergency care. The post talked about understanding the common types of pediatric calls and providing evidence-based guidelines to your crew. But there’s much more to it than that. This post will continue with a few more useful tips that you can use to improve your pediatric air ambulance care.
Consult a Pediatric Specialist
The best way to learn about pediatric medical care is through someone who specializes in the field. It would be wise to get in touch with the children’s hospital in your region and see if their pediatric specialists would be willing to be a part of the medical direction system at your air ambulance service. If not, at least try to get them to review the protocols you have in place for pediatric emergency medical care and transport.
Get Specialized Air Ambulance Service Equipment for Pediatric Patients
Your air ambulance crew will also require specialized tools and equipment available so they can carry out emergency pediatric medical care per the protocols you have in place. Prioritize on equipping your aircraft with a tool that will help your crew in estimating the patient’s weight and determining the right drug dosage. You should have a drug quick-reference guide for pediatric patients, which your team can refer to when administering medications for pain, respiratory issues, or seizure.
It’s also recommended that you have a Wong-Baker Faces Scale that will help your crew in assessing the level of pain a pediatric patient is in when treating one for pain or traumatic injury. This is essential because many children have a hard time using the standard pain scale of zero to ten.
When you’re a provider of air ambulance service, there may come a time when you get a call involving a pediatric patient. Although to some people this may seem like any other emergency call, it’s important to remember how complicated it can be to provide pediatric care. This post will help you gain some ideas on how to provide better care to pediatric patients.
Understand the Common Pediatric Call Types
One of the first steps to prepare yourself for better pediatric care is to identify the common types of calls you should be expecting. Most complaints involving younger children are related to seizures and respiratory distress. In adolescents and older children, you should expect to see a lot of calls related to traumatic injury along with psychiatric or behavioural complaints.
However, you should do a thorough audit of the kind of calls you get at your air ambulance service. This will help you gain a better understanding of the most common types of pediatric emergency calls specific to your agency. You can then train your crew to always be prepared for such kind of calls.
Provide Your Air Ambulance Service Crew with Evidence-Based Guidelines
Once you’re familiar with the common pediatric call types, you should look to secure offline medical direction that has been developed using protocols based on the current standards in pediatric care. You need to look for evidence-based guidelines that have been published recently and use them to provide guidance to your air ambulance crew.
There’s a pediatric seizure management guideline already available. You can also make the most of the pain control guideline for traumatic injuries. And you should soon expect to see a respiratory distress guideline that you can use for providing better pediatric air ambulance care.
In the previous post, we talked about a couple of tips that air ambulance transport managers can use for improving the quality of data within their organization. Training new hires and having regular audits are crucial in the data improvement process. But there’s a lot more involved than this. Read on to find more useful tips that can help improve your data quality.
Go Above and Beyond the Standard Benchmarks
There are some air ambulance personnel who have the mentality that entering only the basic requirements in their report is sufficient. This has to be avoided at all costs, especially at the management level. It’s important that you set an example and spread the habit of going beyond the standard report requirements.
Entering only the basic information requirement will help get the job done. However, it cannot ensure that the job is done well. That’s why your air ambulance transport service should focus on writing reports that contain all the necessary information plus any additional information that could help others in providing better care to the patient.
Give Praise to Air Ambulance Transport Personnel who Set Good Examples
Another important tactic is to show your recognition for a job well done. If there are any employees who show significant effort in bettering their incident and patient care reporting, make sure you acknowledge them. You could go one step further and show your recognition in front of other employees as well. This could encourage more and more of them to improve their reporting.
However, try to keep criticisms private. If any team member has failed to make proper documentation, make sure to let them know in private. This is vital to prevent low employee morale, which could be bad for your overall performance.
You may have invested in the best EMS software available in the market to maintain your patient records. However, that doesn’t guarantee that your air ambulance service will maintain flawless patient care records. There are several steps that managers need to take that will ensure that your team maintains better data using the equipment and resources you have.
Prioritizing on Training New Air Ambulance Service Hires
When orienting new employees to the service, make sure you include a course that thoroughly covers writing patient care reporting. You should train them on how to input data accurately and pertinently in addition to teaching them how to use your PCR software.
But that’s not enough. Your employees should have a clear understanding of why it’s important to maintain accurate and complete patient care reports. So you should include a few sessions that will help them understand how the quality of their data collection procedure also affects your air ambulance service.
Have Regular Audits throughout the Organization
It’s also crucial that you try to have regular audits throughout your organization to ensure that your employees are complying with your rules and requirements. You should thoroughly go through the patient reports created by each of your employees every few months. And make sure you try to see their reports from different months to ensure that they are being consistent with the quality.
Regular audits of your patient care reports will also help you identify scopes for improving your current process. For example, maybe you have noticed that the report only has the name of the person entering the report. And you think that it would be better to record which of your employees were tending to the patient. So you’ve decided that you should change the report in such a way that everyone’s name is listed.
Your dream job is to save lives as an air ambulance transport paramedic. Although you’re all ready with the necessary training and certifications to start your job, there’s a lot more involved to survive the career. It can be physically demanding and mentally exhausting. The work environment can be stressful as well depending on where you work. So here are some tips that will help you survive your first job as an air ambulance paramedic:
Take Good Care of Yourself
Although your job is to care for other people, it’s important that you take good care of yourself first. As mentioned earlier, being an air ambulance paramedic can be physically demanding. You’ll have to do a lot of patient lifting and running around with your gear. All of this can take a toll on your body, so you need to be prepared.
Otherwise, you could risk injuring yourself. You need to build your core strength and work towards improving your cardiovascular fitness. In addition to this, air ambulance transport paramedics need to get quality sleep so you can cope with shift work. And of course, you’ll also need to eat healthy to ensure that your body’s fit to carry out the various physical activities required while on call.
Pursue Interests Other than Air Ambulance Transport Paramedicine
It’s highly important for air ambulance paramedics to pursue other interests outside of their job. You could engage in some sport activities, play in a band, raise funds for charity, try your hand at crafts, etc. If the only thing you’re involved in is your job, you could easily burn out and experience issues that prevent you from continuing your work. Distract yourself with stress-relieving activities and take regular vacations to ensure mental health.