10 Steps in Arranging Air Medical Transport, Part 1
So the doctor says your loved one needs to get to a medical facility in another country/state/city. How will you get them there? In this 2-part series learn the 10 steps in arranging air medical transport for yourself or your loved one.
1. Choose a receiving facility
The facility – hospital, rehab center, care facility, etc. – where the patient is currently at is called the "departing facility." The "receiving facility," then, is the place where the patient is going. In most cases, the patient's doctor, case manager, or social worker will have already recommended the receiving facility, and will help the patient and family make arrangements with that facility.
2. Choose an air ambulance provider
Now, how to get there? Depending on the severity of the patient's medical condition, if the receiving facility is relatively close – within a radius of a couple hundred miles – then a ground ambulance or helicopter ambulance (also called a rotor wing air ambulance) might be the right mode of transportation; MedFlight911 and most other air ambulance providers do not offer either of those services.
But if the patient is travelling outside a radius of 300 miles or so then he or she will need either an air ambulance medically-configured private jet, an air medical escort on a commercial flight, or a medically-configured motor coach. Many air ambulance providers, like MedFlight911, provide that range of medical transport options.
Beyond determining whether you need a ground, helicopter, or air ambulance, how do you choose a provider? Of course the decision is important – the life of the patient is in that provider's hands. Yet it can be hard on the Internet to tell which provider is best. First choose a small handful of providers who seem like they might be good – based on the information they provide on their website or a recommendation from a case manager – and then call them. A conversation will tell you a lot.
For more detail on choosing an air ambulance provider, see 5 Questions to Ask an Air Ambulance Provider.
3. Give the air ambulance provider background information – we'll ask all the right questions
Once you've chosen the air ambulance provider, you'll need to give their transport coordinator detailed information about where the patient is now (departing facility), where the patient needs to go (receiving facility) and the patient's medical condition. You'll also need to give permission for the air ambulance flight coordinator to talk with the patient's doctors and nurses at both the departing and receiving facilities. Our air ambulance medical crew will be taking over medical care of the patient between the departing facility and the receiving facility, so we need to have all of the information that the doctors and nurses do.
4. Determine the right form of transport – we'll help
Based on the patient's medical conditions, the locations of the departing and receiving facilities, and any other circumstances (family members accompanying the patient, for example), your MedFlight911 transport coordinator will help you determine the form of transport that is best for the patient. In some cases, it will be an air ambulance – a medically-configured jet. In other cases, it will be an air medical transport escort who accompanies the patient on a commercial flight. Or, it could be a medically-configured motor coach.
This is not a decision that you'll make on your own. Based on our experience and expertise, a full knowledge of the factors described above, and an understanding of insurance and other financial-related factors, we will recommend that medical transport option that is best for the patient. For more detail on choosing the right form of medical transport, see How Do I Decide Which Type of Medical Transport Is Right for Me (or My Loved One)?