If you’re a medical flight paramedic, chances are you have to make do with an average paycheck. And most of the time, you need to effectively manage your spending to make it through the month. It’s not always easy but the good news is that there are several opportunities for you to save money during tax season.
Filing Taxes to Save Money for Medical Flight Paramedics
Here are some useful tips that could help you save some extra cash:
- Get deductions on job hunting costs – If you spent some time searching for a job during the year, you could get deductions on the costs incurred during your job hunt. Maybe it’s the cost of preparing and printing your resume or the expenses of traveling to and from interview locations. You could be eligible for deductions if it’s not your first job and if your job search is relevant to the same occupation. However, the deduction is applicable only if the expenses exceed 2% of your adjusted gross income.
- Get child care tax credit – If you’re a parent and your work schedule makes it compulsory to get child care for your kids, you could be eligible to save money with child care tax credit. You can save up to $6000 for each child.
- Get tax credit for retirement plans – Like other medical flight paramedics, it’s likely you’ll be planning for retirement by opening an individual retirement account. For the first $2000 you put into this account, you could get a tax saving amounting to 50% of the amount.
- Get deductions on moving costs – If you have to relocate for work, a portion of your moving expenses is deductible. However, you need to show proof that the move was for a job and also that the new location will result in less time/money for commuting to work.
In a previous post, we had discussed some of the biggest challenges you might face while training to become a medical flight paramedic. But once you become one, what other challenges lie ahead for you? The obvious challenges would be dealing with a multitude of patients with a variety of issues day in and day out. This doesn’t need further elaboration because it’s what you knew when you signed up for the job. Find out some other huge challenges you could face while working as an air ambulance paramedic.
Personal Life Maintenance and Other Challenges for Medical Flight Paramedics
Some of the biggest challenges you will face during your time as an air ambulance paramedic are:
- Maintaining/managing healthy relationships – Working as a paramedic – whether it’s for air or ground ambulances – can take an emotional toll on you. This means you might often lack the ability to satisfy some of the basic emotional needs of your partner. Of course there may be a handful of paramedics who can effortlessly maintain a healthy work-life balance and remain in a healthy relationship. However, you might be in for a nasty surprise if you walk into the job thinking that you will be able to put in the same effort into your relationship as you had done before. You might struggle with missed family events and the occasional broken promise as a result of your hectic and unpredictable schedule. This is where you need to learn to be accepting of your faults and avoid being defensive even if your partner tries to talk it out with you.
- Maintaining a normal routine – Another big challenge for medical flight paramedics is being able to maintain a normal routine. Shift changes and work habits can get in the way of maintaining your routine and you might even find yourself waking up in the middle of the night during week-offs or holidays.
Maybe you’re just starting to implement a compliance program or you’re planning to make improvements to the one you have in place. Either way, you’re taking a step towards providing better service and medical care with the program. In order to make sure your medical flight company has a proper compliance program in place, you can make use of the tips provided in this article.
Improving on a Compliance Program for Medical Flight Providers
Here are some of the crucial steps required for having a proper compliance program in place:
- Assign a designated compliance officer – Medical compliance should be one of the top priorities for your company. So in order to take care of the operating and monitoring of your compliance program, it would be best to have a designated compliance officer. Their responsibilities would include conducting internal audits, staying updated with any changes in the rules and regulations of Medicare, etc.
- Conduct internal audits – You can assess any compliance risks in your company by having an internal claim review. This will involve evaluating the entire process of submitting a claim. You can have a better understanding of whether everything is going well during every step of the claim submission process – right from call intake to payment.
- Conduct an annual external audit – In addition to having an internal audit, your medical flight company should also have periodic external audits. This involves having a qualified and certified auditor to examine your claim sample. This will help in detecting any error that you missed during your internal audit.
These are the three main factors that will help in ensuring a better compliance program for your company. In addition to this, it would be wise to refund any overpayments without delay and have a monthly assessment of the OIG exclusions database.
Among the hundreds of patients you care for every year, some of those patients may be elderly individuals with a medical emergency or injury. It would be a mistake to assume that these patients are just like any other patient, as there may be many age-related issues to consider when providing them with pre-hospital care. As a medical flight paramedic, you need to be equipped with the necessary information to care for and safely transport geriatric patients facing a medical emergency or injury.
Caring for and Transporting Elderly Patients in a Medical Flight
Take a look at some of these tips to help you care for and safely transport a geriatric patient:
- Consider age-related changes in bodily functions – As we grow older, the function of the different organs in our body declines. This means there’s a change in the way our body responses to illnesses and injuries. For instance, there is a much lower capacity to compensate for shock, the bones can break much more easily, and the skin can face a more extensive damage from lacerations and burns. Additionally, head injuries can be much more lethal for elderly patients. All of these and more means that even a simple injury or complaint could have a huge impact on geriatric patients.
- Consider medication-related complaints – Many elderly patients may miss their meds or even take them at a wrong dose. Before transporting them on a medical flight, make sure you double-check their medications. In addition to asking them about it, get the prescription bottles and take them with you to provide to the ER. You could even perform a pill count if the dosage is indicated. Make sure you also have sufficient information about the common side effects of certain medications and their interactions with other medications. For instance, a patient taking blood thinners and suffering from a physical injury could be in danger of internal bleeding.
In a previous post, we had discussed some tips to help in writing a detailed patient care report. To add to that, this post will provide you some tips and ideas on how you can avoid vagueness in writing your report. Being descriptive and detailed is crucial in a few major aspects of patient care reporting for medical flight paramedics. This post will guide you in nailing your report for these aspects.
Important Aspects of Patient Care Reporting for Medical Flight Paramedics
When you respond to a call and transport a patient, you need to avoid being vague when writing your report about the following aspects:
- Dispatch info – Cover all details of the dispatch including patients condition at the time of dispatch, whether it’s an internal or external dispatch, whether you’re the first responders or if there are other rescue units on the way, etc.
- Patient’s condition – It’s obvious that you’ll be reporting details like where you picked up the patient and where you transported them to. But in addition to this, you’ll need to have a detailed report about the patient’s condition such as their mobility and consciousness status, whether or not they were able to understand/respond to your queries, when and how their problem stated, how the symptoms have evolved, etc.
- Interventions and procedures – As a medical flight paramedic, you may need to perform some emergency procedures to help the patients you transport. Make sure you provide in detail which treatments, interventions, or procedures you performed on the patient during transportation. And don’t forget to include details about why those procedures were necessary, which assessments you made and what you found from the assessments.
These three main aspects are crucial for better patient care reporting and to avoid vagueness in your report. They will help the receiving medical facility to provide proper medical care to the patient.
When you’re beginning a career as a medical flight paramedic, one of your biggest responsibilities would be writing patient care reports. And your ability to write a good report will play a huge role in the quality of care provided to the patient. In this post, you’ll learn a few basic tips to help you improve the way you handle patient care reporting.
Writing a Detailed Description in Medical Flight Reporting
The most important element in good patient care reports is a detailed description of the incident and patient details. You’ll need to write a detailed report of your assessment of the situation. And you’ll need to note down all the details of how you treated the patient – whether you administered any kind of medication or any special treatment, etc.
As a medical flight paramedic, you would have received training on writing patient care reports. Here are a few tips to help you further improve your descriptions:
- If the patient is experiencing pain, make sure your description includes where exactly the pain is. For instance, if it’s on the leg, which leg and which part of the leg?
- Make sure you include the incident timeline.
- Make a note of your assessment of the pain.
- Include a step-by-step detail of what treatment you administered.
- Try avoiding the use of abbreviations if possible.
The Importance of Grammar and Spelling
It may be difficult to comprehend but spelling and grammar are crucial in patient care reporting. Misspellings and incorrect grammar usage could result in miscommunication. Try to ensure your report clearly states the details of the injury or illness. The idea is to write a report that will ensure the surgeon or doctor caring for the patient understands exactly what is going on.
After much consideration, you’ve decided to undergo education and training in order to become a medical flight paramedic. And you’d also know by now that you’ll be facing plenty of challenges along the way. Many of those challenges may be minor and you can easily overcome them. But some challenges may get in the way of your training and may even compel you to give up your dreams. So the best thing to do is to prepare yourself to face those challenges and get set to overcome them.
Challenges with Time Management
One of the biggest challenges you will face while training to become a medical flight paramedic is the challenge with time management. You’ll have to attend your classes regularly, which is going to take several hours of your time every day. You’ll also need to set aside some time to study on a daily basis if you’re going to pass your tests. On top of that, you’ll even have to go to clinical rotations, which will take place at various sites.
Now all this is difficult to manage already. It’s going to be even more difficult if you’re doing it all in the midst of a regular job. So it’s already clear that you’ll have to sacrifice your social life while you’re in paramedic school. And make sure you try to postpone big, life-changing decisions such as moving to a new city.
Other Big Challenges in Medical Flight Paramedic Training
In addition to the big time management issue, you might also struggle with drugs and pharmacology. By the time of your internship, you’ll be expected to have a thorough understanding of your medications. Come up with a technique to memorize and understand indications and doses as well as contraindications related to medicine.
If you’re running an air ambulance operation, there are several technologies and devices to promote efficiency in your operations and deliver a more seamless patient care. Some technologies can help you accurately record your patient info or quickly retrieve existing data about the patient. Other technologies may be able to help you manage inventory or your teams more efficiently. But with so many options, you may have some trouble finding the right EMS software that could help your medical flight teams and operations.
What if you end up investing in expensive software that your team doesn’t really need? In this post, you’re going to learn about some useful tips that could help you find the right EMS software that you and your team will actually benefit from.
Finding the Right EMS Software for Medical Flight Providers
Consider the following points before you decide to invest in EMS software for your operations:
- Necessary features – First of all, you need to consider what kind of features you actually need in your operations. For instance, you might be in dire need of a staff scheduling feature if you’re running a big operation with plenty of employees. Maybe your paramedics need a better tool for recording and retrieving patient records. Or you might need a feature that could help you better manage your inventory.
- Compatibility to available resources – Before investing in EMS software for your medical flight operation, you also need to ensure that the software can be seamlessly integrated with your existing resources. For instance, portability is a huge aspect for air ambulance crews and you might want to look for software that can be easily used on handheld devices.
In addition to these two main aspects, you need to also consider several more points based on the individual needs of your operation such as your budget.
Your company is planning to switch to incident management systems so that you can carry out your medical flight operations more efficiently. This is a practical move since technology is practically taking over the medical industry, replacing paper charts and bulky files. Incident management systems can improve the efficiency and productivity of your employees significantly. But even when you are going to make the switch it’s important that you do it right. This would mean investing in the right system that would serve its purpose.
What to Look for in an Incident Management System for Medical Flight Operators
There may be several systems in the market, offering different features and capabilities. But here are some of the most crucial features you need to look for when investing in an incident management system:
- Accuracy in resource tracking and management – You should be able to use the system to easily assign a task or incident to your crew within just a few clicks. The system should also provide you with a summary screen so you can access and track all the incidents in your records.
- Time-tracking features – The system should be equipped with running clocks, through which you can keep track of how much time has passed for an incident. These clocks can help you monitor critical information such as air consumption by the medical flight
- Time stamping for incident logs – This feature enables you to automatically record details of the incident along with an accurate time stamp. Using this feature, you can significantly reduce the time taken to document your activities and compile your daily records. In short, the feature can help you reduce stress by helping you finish your work quickly.
In addition to these three crucial features, you can look for incident management systems with add-on features to meet your requirements.
You may be surprised to read the headline. Aren’t medical flight crews supposed to provide care and not the other way round? If you’re running an air ambulance operation, caring for the physical and emotional well-being of your in-flight crew is a crucial part of running an effective operation. Because overworked, overstressed, and overtired crew members could potentially risk the safety of their patients and fellow crew members.
Providing Emotional Care to Your Crew
You may already have programs set up for employee assistance and critical stress debriefing. These programs can help in providing essential emotional support to your employees in their hour of need. At the same time, they may not be able to realize when they should sign up for these programs unless you make them mandatory.
These programs are especially necessary when a medical flight paramedic or doctor goes through an unexpected clinical event. Such incidents can put them at risk of becoming “second victims”. Make sure your crew members go through a mandatory emotional support and debriefing program after going through the following:
- First patient death on their watch
- Caring for pediatric patients
- Unexpected death of a patient
- Caring for a patient that they personally know
- Experiencing multiple bad outcomes
Promoting Emotional Health and Support for Medical Flight Crews
As an air ambulance operator, you need to be aware of the fact that your employees will be experiencing high levels of physical and emotional stress. In addition to promoting healthy lifestyle, you should take care to promote emotional support among your employees. Take them through regular training and counseling sessions so as to raise awareness about emotional and mental issues.
This could potentially help them in identifying any problematic behavior in their colleagues. This could then lead to timely intervention. So promoting peer support and early intervention could seriously make an impact on the health and wellness of your employees.