Tag Archives: medical flight

Understanding Medical Flight Dispatch

Contrary to popular belief, hospitals are rarely involved in dispatch of a medical flight. The decision is almost entirely taken by the ground crew and treating doctor who determine whether the patient would benefit from an air ambulance service or not. Of course, there are some protocols that are followed. Although the process and protocols vary depending on the jurisdiction, there are certain common determinants that we discuss here.

Time Taken for Medical Flight Dispatch

It must be understood that not all hospitals have a medical flight on standby. It takes a reasonable amount of time to get the flight ready for takeoff. If this time and the time required to transport the patient is too much when compared to ground ambulance transport, the latter may be chosen. There is also a cost consideration when the difference in time advantage is too small.

Location and Distance of Transfer

This is another important criterion. Sometimes the location is too far away from the hospital and the patient’s health does not permit long travel times. Also, the location may be inaccessible through roads. In circumstances like these, the decision is usually made to opt for a medical flight to keep the patient safe.

The Condition of the Patient

This is of extreme importance. A delay by half an hour can mean the difference between life and death for the patient. In scenarios like these, a decision is taken quickly to call for an air ambulance and the patient is transported. Near-drowning, prior history or suspected stroke, and severe trauma could be some of the conditions that could influence the decision.

The Weather Conditions for the Medical Flight

If there are adverse weather conditions that prevent the choppers from flying, the patient may be transported through other means. As a matter of policy, the lives of crew members are not put to risk knowing very well that taking off in bad weather could be fatal.

It is important to understand that the above are just a few of the reasons that influence medical flight dispatch decisions. It is always the competent medical authority that takes the final decision.

A Walk through the Process of Availing a Medical Flight

Availing a medical flight can be quite intimidating, especially considering the stress of caring for a loved one who is already in distress. Here, we bring you a typical medical flight trip and how things usually pan out. In fact, we walk you through the entire process.

What Happens When You Contact a Medical Flight?

When you call a medical flight company, you will be greeted by customer support first who would collect certain basic information and then transfer you to a case manager or flight coordinator. Here pertinent information related to the medical flight would be relayed to you. This is the time that you can raise any initial concerns such as average flight cost, flight timing, distance, and accompanying the patient. You will be asked to confirm payment arrangement for the medical flight. Feel free to take help of the treating physician and hospital staff if you are not able to answer questions relating to the patients condition or ailment.

The Medical Flight Coordination Begins

The information gathered from you will be relayed to the medical director of the air ambulance provider. The director will, in turn, get in touch with the attending physician. The attending physician would lay down the medical necessities of the patient so that the flight can be prepared accordingly. This includes qualified staff as well as medical equipment, and also information regarding transfer to an appropriate medical facility.

On the Day of Medical Flight

The medical flight company will get in touch with all those involved in the transport of the patient, including the hospital staff. The ground ambulance would take the patient up to the medical flight and the patient would be taken onboard. The patient and the person accompanying would be briefed on safety precautions and the dos and don’ts.

Upon reaching the destination, a ground ambulance would be already waiting to ferry the patient to the medical facility which is pre-decided. The patient is carefully offloaded and reconnected to any vital medical equipment in the ground ambulance as necessary. The medical flight team would brief the receiving medical staff about the patient’s condition before signing off.

The onus of arranging and coordinating between medical facilities, ambulances and the medical flight is taken care by the hospital and the air ambulance staff. All you would need to do is take care of the payment procedure and pray for the good health of the patient.

Pic of hand holding money

Guide to Medical Flight Financial Considerations

Insurance is the foremost financial consideration when it comes to a medical flight; however, we’ve had enough discussion on the subject. There are also other factors that one must bear in mind. The cost of a medical flight largely depends on the aspects that we discuss below.

Does the Medical Flight Need Prepping for Special Equipment?

If the patient needs traction, cardiac monitors, ventilator and similar equipment, there is obviously going to be a cost attached to them. These factors will increase the price of the medical flight. If the medication is provided by the provider of the medical flight, the costs might even go higher.

The Destination and Duration of Medical Flight

It goes without saying that a longer medical flight costs more. However, the cost of flying from one country to another can push the costs even higher. As most health insurances do not cover overseas medical flight, the patient might have to bear a huge burden. Having a comprehensive travel insurance that covers such costs or being a part of medical flight membership programs is vital before overseas travel.

Distance between Transferring Facility and Receiving Facility from Airport/Helipad

Most of the medical flight service providers take care of all details including transportation of the patient from the transferring hospital to receiving hospital. One must understand that this demands considerable coordination. If the receiving facility is located in a foreign country, the service provider would have to take care of customs, visa, and other formalities too. The medical flight service providers charge for all their efforts. If it involves, ground transport, the patient will also be billed for that.

The costs might also depend on the type of aircraft used. Travelling through a long-range medical flight can be expensive but necessary. However, when it comes to medical transportation, all service providers are not equal. Some charge considerably more than others. It is for you to weigh the costs against the benefits and take a call, if at all possible.

A commercial airline stretcher

Guide: Medical Flight or Commercial Airline Stretcher

A medical flight is not always necessary to fly a patient domestically or even internationally, and commercial airline stretcher can be a great alternative. However, it must be noted that the stretcher cannot always substitute a medical flight that is equipped with advanced patient care systems. But what if a patient doesn’t need an advanced patient care system? For a patient to fly using commercial airline stretcher, the foremost concern is stability and the suitability to fly, which is determined by the treating physician.

More about Commercial Airline Stretcher

Unlike the medical flight where the patient has the entire flight to himself, commercial airline stretcher uses a part of a regular flight. A few seats are usually taken off to accommodate the patient in a sleeping position on the stretcher, and also to have all necessary medical equipment. The relatives or loved ones of the patient can easily travel along with the patient as there is no constraint for space.

Scheduling a commercial airline stretcher is much easier as the flight would anyway be heading to the destination. However, the patient might need a longer ground transport as the aircraft would only land in the designated area. The cost of the commercial airline stretcher is much lower than a medical flight as it is not a dedicated medical flight for the patient.

Similarities between Medical Flight and Commercial Airline Stretcher

For one, the patient is required to obtain clearance before opting for the stretcher, just the way one does with a medical flight. The provider who offers you the stretcher service will most likely arrange for ground transport as well and coordinate with the receiving facility. The medical team and necessary supplies such as medications and medical equipments too would be arranged.

At the end of the day, making the choice between a medical flight and commercial airline stretcher largely depends on the condition of the patient and the decision of the treating doctor.

Patient on a stretcher with paramedics

Preparing the Patient for a Medical Flight

It is important that the medical flight taken by a patient is both safe and comfortable. Following certain guidelines ensures that the medical flight transport is carried out smoothly and quickly. Here, we discuss the vital considerations that must top your mind.

Proper Documentation for Medical Flight

Laws specify that transfer orders by the treating physician and acceptance documents by the receiving facility must be in order before the patient boards a medical flight. Also, the patient’s medical chart, discharge summary, lab results and other medical information must be carried. A photo ID is vital and must be kept handy. Consent for medical flight transport must be sent to the air ambulance operator beforehand.

Medications and Equipments during the Medical Flight

An IV access must be ready. If the patient does not need IV access on a continuing basis, it can be capped. All medications that are necessary and those that are meant for comfort must be administered. These meds must also be provided to the crew in case the need arises midair. This also includes IV medications.

Casts, Traction, and Diapers

If the patient is being treated with a circumferential cast, it must be bivalved beforehand. Hanging weights for traction are not suited for a medical flight. Appropriate traction device must be used instead. An unconscious patient must be diapered prior to transfer to the medical flight and any tube feeding must be discontinued about 7 to 8 hours in advance.

Accompanying the Patient in Medical Flight

The passenger accompanying the patient must have prior approval. If the condition of the patient demands that no one accompanies him or her during the medical flight, the passenger must comply. Most fixed wing aircrafts have limited space and one must understand that it is essential for the medical staff to have enough space to function efficiently. Even when accompanying the patient, the passenger must occupy minimum space possible.

Knowing these guidelines well in advance helps make the medical flight travel a comfortable one.

Healthcare Standards in Medical Flight Services and the US Law

Megan Gilbreath was a resident of Abilene, Texas. She was an 18-year-old student who was involved in a motor vehicle accident involving her pickup. She had a rollover accident where she sustained a head injury and a broken leg. A medical flight was quick to respond and she was all set to be transported to the nearest medical facility.

However, one major error was committed. The EMT that belonged to the medical flight service had intubated her wrongly. The tube that was supposed to carry oxygen was inserted into the esophagus instead of her windpipe. As a result she was declared brain dead by the time the medical flight took her to the treating facility. All the while oxygen was being pumped to her stomach instead of her lungs.

Are You Safe on a Medical Flight with Mere FAA Regulations?

It must be noted that FAA is a regulating body for flights of all types and not just medical flights. This means the medical flight service providers don’t really have regulations that govern them when it comes to ensuring adequate medical care on the flight. FAA only has the say when it comes to medical flight safety when flying. It concerns itself with issues such as crew safety in bad weather conditions and medical flight during bad visibility at night.

Who Regulates the Medical Flight when it Comes to Standard of Care?

The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 that paved way for using air ambulances during medical emergencies had one major flaw. It exempted the medical flight service providers when it came to “routes, prices, and services.” This loophole allows the medical flight service providers to have their own standards when it comes to services.

This however does not mean that all air ambulance service providers cut costs when it comes to standard of care. Most medical flight operators maintain high standards of medical care. However, in the highly competitive air ambulance sector, it is possible that there are medical flight service providers who cut corners through not-so-well trained or inadequately trained medical staff.

The Airline Deregulation Act of 1978 does have a provision where the states can regulate the medical aspect of air ambulances; the only condition is that such regulation should not impact the economics of operating a medical flight “significantly.” In essence, there is scope and hope for regulations in this regard.

Guide to Medical Flight Cost Containment

Speak of a medical flight and the fist thing that occupies your mind is the cost involved. With the absence of adequate insurance coverage, especially when abroad, one is compelled to think out of the box to come up with financially viable solutions that do not compromise on medical flight safety. Instead of looking at government aid or charity, medical flight companies must introspect and come up with ways that can keep tabs on the cost. Here we discuss a few of those.

A Medical Flight Must Avoid “Empty Leg”

There is always a distance that a medical flight must cover in order to reach the patient in distress. This distance where the medical flight does not actually carry a patient is called “empty leg.” What if another needy patient is carried the distance? The cost can thus be shared between two patients.

Quote One-Way Charge for the Medical Flight

Once the patient is flown to the destination, the flight is often compelled to return empty. With a good network in place, the medical flight can look for patients who need to use their services on the way back. The cost can thus be shared between two people essentially halving the cost.

A Medical Flight Company Can Share Resources

Rather than competing with each other, medical flight companies must look at sharing their resources and thus jointly bear the cost. The result would be cheaper overheads and resultant cheaper costs to the patients. Another way would be to employ contractors. For example, freelance pilots and nursing services can be hired on an as-needed basis.

Accommodate More than One Patient per Medical Flight

Medical flights that can accommodate more than one patient at a time can be very helpful. While the cost of a larger aircraft could be a bit high, aircraft maintenance, staff, fuel charges, etc., would certainly be less and could turn out to be a very viable long-term plan. The patients gain by paying less as the cost of travel can be shared.

There is no denying the fact that all these solutions cannot be implemented at times when there is a medical emergency. However, with good coordination between various medical flight service providers, there is a hope that costs can be contained to a large extent.

REVA-Air-Ambulance-NAAMTA-Accreditation

REVA Air Ambulance and Medical Flights Company Accredited by NAAMTA

REVA Air Ambulance and Medical Flights Company Accredited by NAAMTA. Following a comprehensive audit of its medical techniques and facilities, REVA air ambulance company is now a NAAMTA Alliance member.  announces pleased to announce that following a comprehensive audit of its medical techniques and facilities, the National Accreditation Alliance of Medical Transport Applications has awarded REVA with NAAMTA’s full medical transport accreditation.  REVA, which is the result of the merger of FAA Air Carrier Certificate holder Aero Jet International, Inc., and Air Ambulance Professionals, operates domestic and international medical flight services. REVA’s first Air Ambulance company headquarters is still located in Florida, but now also has bases in Arizona and Puerto Rico.

 

NAAMTA accreditation confirms REVA’s best-practices standards, its culture of safety and continuing education, and its commitment to the well-being of both its clients and its flight teams, said REVA CEO Stuart Hayman on Monday at the joint conference announcing the achievement.

“Earning NAAMTA accreditation has been a top priority since the first day of our merger 18 months ago with Aero Jet International, Inc., and Air Ambulance Professionals. Since then, every staff member, every medical associate and every management, training, and safety action at REVA has been aimed at ensuring that we meet or exceed NAAMTA’s high standards,”  said REVA Program Director Lesa Armstrong, R.N.

REVA-Air-Ambulance-NAAMTA-Accreditation

Armstrong explained that by applying the Alliance’s best-practices standards and implementation protocols to all aspects of air-ambulance transportation, REVA integrates medical, technical, and management standards. “In simple terms, we now practice a unified standard, across the board.  This reflects the highest and best quality measures in each of the fields that make up air-ambulance services,” she said.

“Whether we’re looking at medical practices or financial management, whether we’re examining aircraft maintenance or continuing education, NAAMTA holds members to the highest and best reference against which our clients, patients, medical personnel, and flight crews can our measure performance,” CEO Hayman said. “It’s an accreditation that our clients can trust.”

In welcoming REVA to the prestigious roster of NAAMTA-accredited medical transportation firms, NAAMTA Executive Director Roylen Griffin said his auditors found overwhelming evidence of REVA’s commitment to quality management and safety practices at every level of its organization.

NAAMTA accreditation is built on providing standards that focus on quality patient care and the safe transport of everyone involved.  NAAMTA’s Alliance brings each member organization to the vanguard of continuous improvement for medical transport. The Alliance’s site audit found the Core Values at REVA to be the driving force of every employee interviewed. “We are very impressed,” Griffin said.  “The accreditation process demonstrates REVA’s dedication to the individual patient before, during, and after transport.”

“Accreditation is continuous dynamic,” Griffin added. “NAAMTA advocates a continual self-auditing and monitoring. REVA’s participation in the auditing process, from start to completion, demonstrates its commitment to our high standards, which clients, technical staffs, and medical professionals recognize.”

NAAMTA accreditation places REVA in a select body of medical transportation providers.  “Each provider, individually and as a group under the NAAMTA umbrella, demonstrates a corporate value system in which quality standards are not just enforced, but are continually monitored, developed and defined as medical transportation systems and expectations advance alongside the progress of medicine, patient care, and allied technologies,” Griffin said.

Accreditation by NAAMTA is awarded for three years, during which time members are encouraged to participate in on-going professional, technical and medical development, both on-line and in the seminars and workshops offered by NAAMTA.

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NAAMTA is based in American Fork, Utah. It is the medical transportation field’s leading auditing agency for overseeing unified performance quality standards for medical personnel, flight personnel, equipment, management, and financial performance by its members. Its auditing standards are certified by the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and endorsed by multiple specialty fields within the medical transportation industry.

REVA Air Ambulance is the result of the merger of Aero Jet International, Inc., and Air Ambulance Professionals. Aero Jet International, Inc., the Air Carrier Certificate holder, operates all flights and has been delivering quality transportation for more two decades from bases in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Phoenix, Arizona.  Medical staff, pilots, mechanics, maintenance and support personnel are fully licensed, certified, and trained, meeting and exceeding industry standards and quality expectations. Aircraft are fully FAA certified. The fleet is accredited by the European Aeromedical Institute (EURAMI), a quality compliance designation; the Canadian Transportation Agency International License; U.S. Treasury Cuban operation authorization; all required State of Florida and State of Arizona emergency medical air ambulance services and emergency medical service licenses; and others, including operating certificates and permits for Bermuda and sites within the European Union.

 

Source: http://www.flyreva.com/reva-air-ambulance-earns-prestigious-naamta-accreditation/