What questions should one ask an Air Ambulance service provider before booking a flight?
All the air ambulance service providers are not the same. Few of them might be brokers who just advertise in Yellow pages as Air Ambulance companies and are perfectly legal, but they don't maintain or own ambulance planes and don't have their own clinical staff. This means that you won't be with direct contact with the operant who would provide the transport service, also you would not be able to verify its qualifications directly. This is not adequate, especially in cases which need critical care.
Accountability should always be the primary thing to look at when you are considering to get air ambulance services.
There are few questions that one must always ask before booking a medical air ambulance service-
How long are you in service doing this Business?
Generally, Air Ambulance providers who are in Business for more duration of years are better able to provide the desired services.
New companies are learning so a mature company operating since 1991- we will do better in terms of efficiency and safety.
What medical providers will be on board in my flight?
Mostly air ambulance services focus on transport, so there are possibilities that there is less medical staff aboard their flights. Air Ambulance should make sure that they tailor their flight crews according to the medical requirements of each patient. Is the crew experienced and specialized in the field of Medical Transportation. Or have they just picked a doctor from a GP clinic? The team should consist of doctors, respiratory therapists, nurses, and paramedics or a combination depending on the patient. You should also ask if the provider would be able to transport both adults, neonatal critical care patients, and pediatrics and if they have trained personnel and medical equipment for the same.
What medical equipment will they provide?
Air ambulance flight should have all the types of equipment and medications that are needed to keep a patient secure during the flight. Some of the equipment that should be included are an ECG monitor, ventilators, Cardiac monitors/defibrillator, advanced life support kits, IV kits, respiratory kits, and advanced cardiac life support drugs and solutions. You can also check if air ambulance flights carry or are outfitted with the best state-of-the-art medical equipment to give patients the best possible care.
Is the company covered by Insurance?
The Air Ambulance company insurance coverage should include coverage for aircraft, the passenger and a professional indemnity for the medical personnel.
Is your service covered by Insurance?
We are on the panel of most Major Insurance and Assistance companies in the world.
The patient or the friends/relatives of the patient should also check with their respective health insurance provider to see if the medical condition certifies for coverage. In some cases, a physician should document that there is an immediate medical need. Former authorization by the insurance company is usually needed. Or if the patient relatives need to pay for the services. At times, split payments are also initiated based on travel insurance coverage. Another alternative which is less expensive is a commercial air escort, but the patient should be stable enough to fly by a commercial carrier.
Can a companion accompany the patient on the air ambulance?
This is one of the most important questions to be asked. Well in most cases, this option is available and usually at no additional cost. The number of commuters is restrained by the medical condition and requirements of the patient, the type of aircraft used and the number of medical personnel in transit. Most of the times, about 1-2 passengers are allowed to travel with the patient.
How much luggage is allowed?
This is something really important as there might be important stuff of the patient that you might need to take along. Usually, luggage is confined to 2 small or medium sized bags and no big carry bags are allowed for a commercial airline. The aircraft is already outfitted with important medical equipment and space is very limited. A patient’s care is always the primary concern which should always be given priority. Patients or their relatives should try and forward non-essential things before the transfer.
What are the costs involved in Air Medical Transportation?
A medical transfer is mostly a costly affair, but there are various ways to control or reduce the cost. You should beforehand ask about the cost involved in the transfer and about the complete package. Some factors which increase the cost are aircraft positioning and how fast you want to move the patient. The best way to reduce the cost is by locating an aircraft in close proximity. Ask whether they will offer a bed to bed transfer service or is it just airport to airport. There could be restrictions in terms of timing and visa for the medical team to reach the patient in certain countries.
Ask these questions from your air medical transport before booking their services for a hassle-free patient transfer on a flight!
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