International Air Ambulance to the U.S. for American Medical Care
While media pundits and certain documentary filmmakers like to rant about the decline of the U.S. (in general, and our healthcare system in particular), the fact is that the quality of medical care in the U.S. far surpasses the quality of medical care in most other countries. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise when people abroad do everything they can to come to the U.S. for medical treatment.
That was the case for Maria, who came to New York, then to Houston, from Spain. We were first introduced to Maria when her daughter Amy called us. She explained that her mother had been having medical problems that, the family felt, weren’t being properly diagnosed at home. The family had the resources to pay out of pocket for medical transportation to the U.S. and medical care once Maria got here.
As is almost always true, Maria’s was a complicated case. First, there was the language barrier. To overcome it, we had our Pre-Transport Overview document (which we provide to all patients and their families as a way of letting them know what to expect before, during, and after the medical flight) translated into Spanish. We recognize how stressful times like these are for patients and their families; we wanted to alleviate the added stress that would have come with not being confident about what the English Pre-Transport Overview said.
Then, there was the fact that the hospital in New York City was concerned about admitting a patient from abroad – in particular, how the patient would pay for the expenses of her treatment; they were so used to going through insurance companies. Amy asked us to communicate with the hospital and help them understand that Maria had the means to pay for her care – even if it meant paying in advance (it did).
Then there was the issue of the visa. Like all foreign visitors, Maria needed permission to enter the U.S., and that process can take a long time. We worked with Amy to secure a temporary emergency medical visa for her mother. Once all of the arrangements were made, we flew Maria to New York in an international air ambulance. There, she was diagnosed with cancer – she hadn’t realized how sick she really was.
So we arranged for Maria another air ambulance flight, from New York to a very well known cancer center in Houston, Texas, where she underwent further treatment. We went through the same rigmarole with the Texas hospital as we had in New York – they were not used to the idea that the patient would be paying in cash in full, and required that Maria pay upfront for her hospital stay. After receiving extensive treatment in Texas, Maria returned to Spain.
Every once in a while people will ask, “Well what makes MedFlight911different from any other air medical transport provider?” The biggest differentiator: we are invested in a successful outcome for patients and their families from Day 1. Some air ambulance companies are simply order takers and route planners. Clearly, we go far beyond that. (And we wouldn’t have it any other way.)
*This story, as are all of the stories we tell on this blog, is true. We did change the names of the patient and her family members, as well as the locations, to protect our client’s privacy.