Tag Archives: air ambulance transport

Caring for Frostbite Patients: Tips for Air Ambulance Transport Paramedics

Frostbite isn’t common and you may never encounter patients suffering from the condition. But preparation is key and it’s crucial that you equip yourself with the necessary knowledge to treat even the most uncommon conditions. For air ambulance transport paramedics, there may be instances where you’re sent off to remote mountain locations. What if you have to rescue someone in those mountains and what if they’re experiencing frostbite?

Caring for Frostbite Patients in Air Ambulance Transport

Take a look at these tips to help you care for a patient experiencing frostbite:

  • Prior to treatment – As an air ambulance paramedic, there may be times when you have to administer pre-hospital treatment to patients. In case of frostbite, you will need to take the necessary steps to administer care and prevent excessive tissue damage. Begin by correcting the patient’s airway and breathing before you begin with the treatment process.
  • Re-warming tissue – Frostbite can damage the tissues extensively if not treated on time. So you’ll need to warm up the frostbitten areas to prevent the condition from escalating. The goal is to prevent re-freezing, so that doctors can salvage as much tissue as possible. You can use warm water at a temperature of 40-42°C to warm up the frostbitten areas.

    Make sure you try to administer treatment for pain associated with the re-warming process. And try to avoid stopping the procedure too early, as this could re-freeze the frostbitten areas.

Choosing an appropriate treatment facility – Air ambulance transport services often transport the patient to the closest medical facility. However, if there’s a facility close by specializing in burns, see if it would be a better option to transport the patient there. Some medical centers may not be familiar to treating frostbites and they’ll have to transfer the patient again to a facility that specializes in burn treatment.

What You Need to Know about Medicare and Air Ambulance Transport

If you have Medicare coverage, you can get coverage for ambulance transportation to or from the hospital. The coverage also includes skilled nursing facility (SNF) or critical access hospital (CAH). It’s important to remember that Medicare will help you pay for ambulance services but only if other modes of transportation could be harmful for your health. This doesn’t necessarily mean you automatically quality for air ambulance transport either. First, let’s take a look at the medical necessity of availing ambulance transport.

Medical Requirement for Availing Ambulance Transport Under Medicare

Medicare will pay for the cost of emergency ambulance transportation in case of sudden medical emergencies with your health being in serious danger, provided that other modes of transportation like cars and taxi could endanger your health. You can get coverage for ambulance transportation if:

  • You’re unconscious
  • You’re bleeding heavily
  • You’re in shock
  • You require skilled medical treatment throughout the transportation

Requirements to Qualify for Air Ambulance Transport Under Medicare

The above-mentioned examples don’t necessarily qualify you fir air ambulance transport that is covered by Medicare. To be eligible for medical transport by air, your condition must require immediate and fast transportation that cannot be done through ground transportation. Medicare will cover for your expenses only if your condition fulfills the following requirements:

  • Ground transportation can’t easily reach your location
  • Obstacles like heavy traffic, long distances, etc. could prevent you from getting the immediate care that you require if you’re traveling by ground ambulance

There may even be a few but special instances wherein Medicare will cover for the cost of ambulance transport even in non-emergency cases. This is provided in case you have a doctor’s letter stating that your medical condition requires transportation with an ambulance.

Air Ambulance Transport for People with Altitude Sickness

High altitude can leave people with a certain type of sickness and edema, which may result in a call for air ambulance transport in many cases. Altitude sickness normally occurs at elevations higher than 8,000 feet. It is a combined result of genetic build-up, underlying conditions, and fitness level. The most common form of this condition is acute mountain sickness.

What Happens When a Person Has Altitude Sickness?

In your job as an air ambulance specialist, you may have come across a patient experiencing this condition. But not everyone knows how to determine whether or not someone has altitude sickness. In case of acute mountain sickness, the patient may experience symptoms like headache, decreased appetite, nausea, fatigue, vomiting, and general malaise.

In some cases, the patient may experience periodic breathing, which can be identified by irregular breathing that is mostly noticeable while sleeping. Many forms of altitude sickness may not be life-threatening although they may limit the body’s abilities. However, air ambulance transport may be crucial for patients with high altitude cerebral edema (HACE) or high altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE).

Providing Air Ambulance Transport for Patients with Altitude Sickness

Acute mountain sickness doesn’t require a specific treatment, but it’s important for people to stop ascent until the symptoms subside. If the symptoms worsen, ensure proper hydration, which can significantly improve symptoms like headache. Descent can normally alleviate most symptoms of altitude sickness.

HAPE treatment requires the treatment of underlying pulmonary hypertension through descent. You will need to administer oxygen and other necessary medications. Even for patients with HACE, descent and oxygen usually help alleviate symptoms like irritability and headache. Many people make the mistake of getting such patients to descend alone. Instead of this, having an air ambulance chopper transport them back to safety is the best choice.

Tips for Spotting Brokers for Air Ambulance Transport

It can be a challenge to find the right provider for air ambulance transport especially when you have a lot on your plate. The good news is that you can always conduct a search online, which makes this task much easier. During this process, however, you may come across air ambulance brokers who may portray themselves so convincingly as actual air ambulance operators.

How to Differentiate Between a Provider and a Broker for Air Ambulance Transport

Although it’s common knowledge that air ambulance brokerage services aren’t a good idea, many people don’t realize this until it’s too late. So how do you spot an ambulance broker online? Here are a few basic tips to help you out:

  • If there are pictures of aircrafts on the website, look for the tail numbers and see if they correspond to the aircraft model on the FAA website. You can then identify the company licensed to operate that particular aircraft.
    Look for pictures where the aircraft doesn’t have a tail number or where the logos seem over imposed on the original photo. With decent photoshop skills, anyone can alter images.
  • Be cautious of careful wordings on the website content. For instance, they could be saying that they “have access to” a certain aircraft even if they don’t “own and operate” that aircraft. Instead of “providing” air ambulance transport, they could be “arranging” for such transport.
  • Look for the contact information and see if the company has a physical address. This is far more trustworthy than an anonymous P.O. box number. Additionally, local or geographic phone numbers are more preferable than a toll free number.
  • Find out if the website has a copy of the Air Operator Certificate on display. If not, then ask them to send you a copy because no company has the right to operate an aircraft without it.

While some brokers may provide valuable service, many of them may be just on the look-out for profits. That’s why it’s mostly recommended to be aware of air ambulance brokerage services when searching for air ambulance operators online.

Tips for Case Managers to Plan Air Ambulance Transport

A case manager’s job can be hectic, especially when it comes to coordinating air ambulance transport. Even the most experienced ones may only coordinate a few of these every year. So it may be difficult to be informed on all the details necessary in planning a successful transport. Maybe you got all the details of their medical needs correctly but forgot to verify the patient’s insurance coverage. Or maybe you missed out on verifying the certifications of the air ambulance company. There are plenty of details one should remember when coordinating transport via an air ambulance and here’s a tip to help you out.

Assess the Various Needs

Before a patient avails air ambulance transport, you need to contact the discharging physician for medical reports and also ascertain the reason for transport. You will need to establish the date of transport and coordinate with the accepting facility. The process of assessing needs also involves recapping the patient’s current condition and determining their life support needs. Before you move on to the next step, you need to identify the payer – whether it’s the insurance company, patient or patient advocate, or facility.

Collect estimates for Air Ambulance Transport

The next step requires you to secure air ambulance estimates, which involves determining an estimated cost of the transport and details of the service. This means determining the aircraft type, whether or not the service is bed-to-bed, etc. You will need to verify a few things including insurance coverage, personnel qualification, and whether or not the entity is an operator. Another certification you need is for the entity in terms of industry associations and FAA Part 13 certificate. Don’t forget to provide transport parameters and verify everything in writing.

Before executing transport, make sure you secure an itinerary from the operator and coordinate with the floor. Verify details like pickup time, transport/discharge orders, and receiving facility. Keep the receiving facility updated on the patient’s condition for a smooth transport.

Understanding Air Ambulance Transport Bills

You are just recovering from a serious health issue that demanded immediate attention. The matter was so urgent that it warranted an air ambulance transport. Just when you think that the worst is over, you are hit with a huge air ambulance transport bill. You breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you are covered by your insurance. Then, another shocker: the insurance company refuses to foot the entire cost. You suddenly find yourself spending sleepless nights not knowing how to foot such a huge air ambulance transport bill. Don’t worry, there’s still hope for you.

The Air Ambulance Transport Bill could be a “Sticker Shock”

It’s not unheard of in the healthcare industry where the listing prices are kept very high and air ambulance transport industry is no different. The prices are significantly lowered later, depending on the negotiating capacity of the patient. It is not unusual for air ambulance providers to come down to half the listed price. Some even offer flexible payment options.

Insurance companies that have huge number of subscribers are most likely to get huge discounts from air ambulance transport companies. Another factor is payment in cash. If you have the resources, the discount could be great. Also, you stand to gain if the air ambulance transport company is in the network of your insurance provider.

Community-Based Air Ambulance Transport Programs

Is the air ambulance transport company that you chose a part of community-based air ambulance transport program? If it is, then you’re lucky. The price is going to be low and is very likely to be covered by your insurance program. However, some air ambulance transport companies remain out of such community-based programs. These companies usually charge a huge amount which is not always covered by insurance companies. The amount not covered is usually recovered through the patient. If you have been served by one such air ambulance company, you might want to negotiate hard with the air ambulance transport company.

The different states of the United States are also in the process of designing a priority list which will mandate that health care providers give preference to community-based air ambulance transport companies before calling a provider who is out of such network.

Credit Cards and Air Ambulance Transport

So your credit card says that it will get you medical help during times of emergency. But does that mean you can rest assured that you will reach your home in the United States? What you need to do is read the fine print. If a part of the terms and condition reads that you will be transported to the nearest appropriate medical facility, you might be in trouble. Yes, you might get help, but you might end up getting that help quite far from you home and sometimes not even in your home country. Now, if you are travelling overseas, this can pose serious concerns for you, and you might still end up paying tens of thousands of dollars for evacuation via air ambulance transport.

Ensuring Adequate Air Ambulance Transport

If you are going to rely on your credit card to cover the risk of using air ambulance transport, ensure that you get answers for the following questions:

What is the financial limit of the air ambulance transport?

Some credit cards might set a limit beyond which you might have to pay out of pocket. Knowing the limit will help you prepare financially.

Are there any terms and conditions?

If the credit card does not cover air ambulance transport for pre-existing illnesses, you might be in trouble when your existing illness like a heart condition flares up unexpectedly. Moreover, it is important that you cover this risk as you are more likely to need air ambulance transport for a pre-existing condition.

Do I have the privilege of choosing the hospital?

You do not want to end up in a hospital that is too far away from your home. Also, you might not feel confident getting yourself treated in a hospital that you do not know of.

Can my family travel with me?

You might want your family to accompany you during your air ambulance transport, just so that you feel reassured and comfortable, so check whether your agreement with the credit card allows you this privilege.

At the end of it, there are credit cards that allow you good coverage for a reasonable price. On your part, be wise and proactively check what you are getting into so that you remain safe.

Brokers for Air Ambulance Transport – Not the Best Option

If your loved one is in need of air ambulance transport and if you have enough time in your hands to choose among the various service providers, would you still opt for a broker to choose one? If your answer is yes, think again. Here, we list a few reasons as to why you are better off scouting for an air ambulance transport yourself.

Cost of Air Ambulance Transport

An air ambulance transport broker usually pours in all efforts to give you the cheapest available option out there. Of course, this is good but one needs to keep in mind that the cheapest is not always the best. It is necessary to look into other aspects too. Moreover, the broker will invariably add his charges to the overall cost of air ambulance transport. If you look for an air ambulance yourself, you can save this money.

Ability to Answer Questions About Air Ambulance Transport Service

Keep in mind that the broker is not a representative of the air ambulance transport company. He would therefore have limited knowledge to allay all your fears and concerns. This can be a major disadvantage if you are anxious about the whole thing. When you choose to find an air ambulance transport company yourself, you would be dealing with the representative of the company who would be in a better position to clarify all your doubts.

Do the Legwork for Air Ambulance Transport Yourself

Spending a bit of time to find an air ambulance transport service yourself can free you of a lot of worries. Most of the time, all it takes is looking online for a few phone numbers of air ambulance companies and calling them up. The air ambulance transport coordinators would do the rest of the work. Spending a couple of hours to perform this task can save you money and worry.

Career as Air Ambulance Transport Nurse

Nursing is a profession that demands passion and the compassion to care. While salaries are not always the best, the job satisfaction is always high as nurses are closely involved in making the lives of those they touch better. If you choose to be an air ambulance transport nurse, your professional life is, no doubt, going to be exciting. Administering medical care on airlifted patients warrants certain specific skill sets. Let’s first discuss the salaries of air ambulance transport nurses.

Salaries of Air Ambulance Transport Nurses

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, registered nurses, on an average, earned $67,930 per annum. The top 10% of this group earned in excess of 94,720 while the bottom 10% earned less than $45,040. Looking specifically at the salaries earned by Air ambulance transport nurses, the salaries varied between $66,560 and $70,500 in 2011; this is in accordance with the data collected by University of Washington.

Outlook for Air Ambulance Transport Nursing as a Career

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects excellent demand for nurses in general. The employment growth is slated to hover around 26% until 2020. This growth is excellent and almost twice the projected pace of growth (14%) of all occupations in the United States.

Education of Air Ambulance Transport Nurses

As per Discover Nursing, air ambulance transport nurses need to be RN (registered nurses) first before venturing into air rescues. To become an RN one needs to opt among the following three choices:

  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing
  • Associate degree in nursing
  • Nursing diploma

The next step is to clear National Council Licensure Examination for RN. The employers may demand additional certifications based on the demand of the job. They might expect the air ambulance transport nurse to be:

  • Certified flight registered nurse
  • Emergency medical technician-paramedic
  • Emergency medical technician-basic

To be “certified” flight nurse, one needs to work as a flight nurse for at least two years according to Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing. Working in critical care and emergency units is considered an added advantage for better employment opportunities.

Pill over a dollar bill

Guide: Air Medical Transport Cost Determination

With the cost of even a short air medical transport flight running into thousands of dollars, a little homework before zeroing on one is not a bad idea, especially if you have the liberty of doing so. Keep in mind that you would not have the liberty or time to choose an air medical transport operator during emergencies. However, if the situation is not life-threatening, it pays to look into certain aspects.

How Far is the Air Medical Transport Vehicle from You?

You might be paying for the distance covered by the air medical transport vehicle to reach you. So, it’s vital that you contact a local air ambulance company, which stations its vehicle close to you. This can save you several hundreds or even thousands.

Have you Got a Final Quote for the Air Ambulance Transport?

The quote that you receive from the company might not be all inclusive. This means you might have to shell out more money than what is mentioned in the quote. Contact your flight coordinator to know the exact details about the price quote.

Does your Insurance Cover Air Ambulance Transport?

There are several guidelines that one needs to follow to assure smooth coverage of air ambulance transport costs by the insurance provider. Look at aspects such as medical necessity, closest appropriate medical facility, and treating physician’s approval even before you start looking for an air ambulance.

Does the Air Ambulance Company offer Comprehensive Services?

There are several aspects that must be taken care of:

  • The transport of the patient from the hospital to the air ambulance
  • Transport from air ambulance to ground ambulance
  • Coordination with receiving facility
  • Medical repatriation beyond borders

Opt for an air ambulance company that covers these corners. Involving yourself in these matters can be time consuming and might cost you extra.

Finally, check whether you can substitute air ambulance for a commercial airline. Simple things like IV fluids, professional care, and stretchers can be accommodated in a commercial airline too, which cost far less than an air ambulance.