A medical flight becomes a necessity when travelling long distances on commercial flights is impossible, owing to the level of care that the patient’s health demands. On the brighter side, it gives the family members enough time to prepare for one. There are several things that the medical flight service provider will help the family and the patient with. However, being knowledgeable about certain aspects of the travel makes it easier for the family. The family must be prepared with the history and physical as well as the discharge summary of the patient, along with copies of insurance cards. Government issued identification is also necessary.
Limitations while Availing a Medical Flight Service
The patient’s family must understand that the medical flight is designed for the patient and carries a huge amount of medical equipment. Unlike, a commercial flight, it is not exactly designed for normal commuters. So, the family members must consult with the medical flight provider as to the maximum luggage that can be carried. It is usually about a 21-inch roller bag that is allowed. Some air ambulances do not allow for family members to accompany the patient in the medical flight; however, most of them accommodate at least one family member. It all depends on the space available and the size of the air ambulance. A quick check with the flight coordinator is always a wise move.
Availing International Air Ambulance Services
It is a given that the family must ensure that the patient’s passport, visa, travel documents and insurance are in place. It is advisable to also carry electronic copies of all the documents for easy retrieval and backup. A detailed discussion regarding the receiving hospital and the logistics between the airport and the hospital is advised. While experienced medical flight coordinators cover such things, there is no harm in knowing the details.
Americans today seem to have a false sense of security thinking that everything related to their medical wellbeing is automatically covered by health insurance. The reality is far from this belief. The health insurance providers differentiate between hospital expenses and medical air transport. While a good insurance will cover almost the entire medical treatment bill, the same insurance would hardly cover one-third of the medical air transport bill. To make matters worse, the medical air transport cost, even for short distances, sometimes is very high.
Why are Medical Air Transport Costs so High?
Maintaining helicopters and airplanes is no child’s play. It’s an expensive affair. Plus, keeping emergency professionals on standby at all times means additional costs. All these expenses, of course, have to be ultimately borne by the patients availing the services or the health insurance providers. The insurance providers only cover the in-network medical air transport services, and since insurance companies tend to disagree with the high bills that air ambulance companies generate, they only end up covering a part of it. This dissuades these companies to go in-network with the insurance carriers.
There is a Way Out and It Does not Cost Much
All it takes is a bit of planning. When you know well that insurance companies do not cover the expenses fully, exploring other options is the wise thing to do. There are several agencies that specialize in providing medical transport coverage. The costs are nominal and the coverage is usually good. They cover those expenses which are left uncovered by the insurance companies. So, in today’s world while ensuring medical insurance coverage is important, it is equally important to also keep yourself and your family covered for medical air transport emergencies. Failing to do so, can land you in a financial mess that can take years to clean up.
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.
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.
You’re starting your first job as a medical flight paramedic, and you’re wondering how you should prepare for it. Of course you’ve already had thorough medical training but that may not be enough to ensure that you can succeed in your journey. There are several rules that you should remember and follow.
Rule #1: Protect your crew members
When you’re working as an air ambulance paramedic, you’d be working with a crew that comprises of pilots and nurses or even a doctor. And there may be times when you have to carry out missions that could be dangerous for the crew. It’s crucial that you work together as a team and watch each other’s backs whenever you’re responding to a call.
Rule #2: Practice incident documentation and patient recording
Another crucial part of your job as a medical flight paramedic is to ensure that you properly document every incident you respond to. And you must carefully record details about your patient so that there’s a smooth transition from your care to that of hospital personnel. You can’t afford to slack off when it comes to this, as even a minor detail missing or incorrect could have serious consequences.
Rule #3: Medical flight paramedics should always be friendly
A smile can make a huge difference for the patients you’re attending to and their family members. It’s important that you try to maintain a certain level of friendliness whenever you’re on duty. And try to ensure that this friendliness extends to your colleagues and your crew members as well.
Rule #4: Do everything in your power to help your patient
Another important rule is to make sure that your patients are as comfortable as possible. Even if it’s not within your job description, you should do whatever you can to help your patients – whether they require more pillows or an extra blanket, for instance.