Is there a governing body over the MedEvac Community?

There is no single “governing body” over medEvac services.  Each service is independent, or could be part of a group of similar programs.  There are however, several agencies that may have licensing or over sight for medEvac services.  For the aviation components, medEvac services must adhere to rules and regulations established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They are also subject to periodic inspections by the FAA.

Minimal standards for reimbursement and/or licensing could also be established by third party payers (Medicare, Medicaid, managed care organizations) or by local legislation (state, county or city laws).  Most states have minimum licensing requirements for medEvac personnel and the service.

In addition, medEvac services may also follow national or regional standards.  For those services that are hospital based, if the hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHCO) or other such organizations, such as the American College of Surgeons for trauma verification, the medEvac service must also meet those minimum standards.

Why are patients flown by fixed wing?

Patients are flown by fixed wing for many different reasons.  These can range from the stable patient involved in an accident, or with a long-term medical condition, wishing to relocate closer to family for rehabilitative care, to the critical heart failure patient requiring intensive care transfer to receive a transplant.  The fixed wing environment differs from the rotor wing environment primarily in that fixed wing travels farther, faster and higher. The fixed wing is primarily a facility-to-facility transport, typically long distance in nature.

Secondly, there are typically more choices of different types of aircraft, and selections that are less expensive per mile and/or per hour to operate.  With licensure and accreditation standards available and easily verifiable, the care provided in the fixed wing environment is the same as the helicopter.  The fixed wing is typically not in competition with the rotor wing in that the rotor wing service typically is for moving a patient from a scene to a primary care facility, or a tertiary care facility to a primary care facility.

Air Ambulance and Medical Flight Transport Services: Everything you need to know!