Frequently Asked Questions
1. When is a fixed-wing air ambulance used instead of a helicopter air ambulance?
Helicopter air ambulances are generally used for short emergency transports (approx. 200 miles or less) of patients that require emergent care. For instance, a person that has been injured in an automobile accident and needs to be medically air-lifted to the nearest hospital. A fixed-wing air ambulance like the aircraft AeroCare has are used to transport stable patients long distances from one medical facility to another.
2. What assurances are there that the aircraft is safe?
All of the aircraft AeroCare uses are operated by our two Part 135 Operators, who are bound by FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) regulations outlining pilot training, duty time, aircraft operation, and maintenance. AeroCare utilizes pilot crews that have been trained annually at Flight Safety or an equivalent factory approved, simulator-based program and conduct risk assessments for each mission. All AeroCare Aircraft are designed and equipped for all-weather operation and have outstanding safety records.
3. What arrangements does AeroCare make for the flight?
AeroCare makes all arrangements regarding the air ambulance flight. This includes obtaining a pre-flight medical consult or report of the patient condition at their current discharging facility, arranging ground ambulances at both the discharging and receiving ends, ordering in-flight catering, handling insurance paperwork if necessary, notifying the receiving hospital of the arrival time and confirming bed availability, as well as any special requests of the family.
4. May a family member come with the patient?
Normally yes and there is no additional charge. There are however cases where our Medical Director may not approve a family member for a variety of reasons that may impede patient care.
5. What is "bedside-to-bedside" service and why is it important?
Bedside-to-bedside service means that the medical crew is with the patient from the discharging facility, on the flight, and until arrival at the receiving facility. Although many companies do not provide this service, AeroCare feels that bedside-to-bedside service is very important to avoid any complications with the patient at turn of care and also to keep in mind any type of federal regulation related to transfer to a lower-level of care. It allows our crews to maintain continuity in care, even while on the ground ambulance and also ensures that a detailed medical report is given to the receiving medical crew.
6. Why is it better to deal with an Air Ambulance provider and not a broker?
A broker normally does not own aircraft, equipment, or employ medical teams or pilots. They advertise as an air ambulance service and when they receive an inquiry they call multiple providers and then “broker” the flight to the cheapest provider. They then add a profit for themselves included in your quote. In a sense, becoming the middle man. The problem is that the cheapest provider may not offer the highest level of quality nor have the capabilities required by the patient. The advantage of dealing direct with an Air Ambulance provider is that these companies can directly control the quality of their service since they employ the pilots and medical crews, own the aircraft and equipment, and directly oversee operations.
7. Does AeroCare provide international evacuation service?
Yes. AeroCare has extensive experience in international evacuations around the world. We can arrange for our medical team to transport the patient on a long-range aircraft or as a more cost-effective solution, arrange for a stretcher to be placed on a commercial aircraft. Commercial medical escorts can be less than half the cost of a private jet. AeroCare has evacuated patients from Singapore, Guam, Japan, Europe, the Middle East, and Central and South America and many other countries throughout the world.
8. What questions can I ask to determine if an Air Ambulance company is qualified?
This is a very good question because all providers do not offer the same level of quality. The cheapest company is often not the best choice. A “yes” is an important response to the following:
1. Does the company have a Medical Director?
2. Is the company’s aircraft licensed as an air ambulance vehicle by the FAA?
3. Are the pilots employed by the aeromedical service or have a contractual arrangement through a lease agreement?
3. Is the company licensed in their state as an air ambulance?
4. Does the company have liability and malpractice insurance?
5. Is the company an actual provider or are they a broker?
6. Does the company staff each flight with a nurse, RT or paramedic?
7. Is the aircraft pressurized?
8. Are the medical crew members employees of the aeromedical company?
9. Are the medical crew members trained in altitude physiology?
10. Is the Medical Director involved with each flight?
11. Does the company provide “bedside to bedside” service?
9. If I must pay out of pocket, how much might the service cost?
Many factors determine the final cost of an air ambulance transport. The primary factors being the distance flown, the type of aircraft utilized, and the medical needs of the patient in flight. Fortunately, as a direct provider of Air Ambulance Services, AeroCare can try to minimize these costs, especially if the transport is not time-sensitive. Through efficient scheduling and special one-way pricing arrangements, many clients can see final costs on the lower end of the ranges.
10. Can AeroCare assist me in determining whether my insurance will cover the charges?
Yes. Our Reimbursement Specialists will liaise with your insurance company on your behalf and attempt to obtain benefit overviews and/or pre-authorization, whenever necessary. In these instances, AeroCare will be responsible for submitting all claim forms, letters of medical necessity and other pertinent documentation. If AeroCare is able to obtain an authorization from your insurance company we will not require payment at the time of service. However, in some instances, we may ask for a retainer if we are not able to verify information up-front.
11. Is Air Ambulance service covered by Medicare or other insurance plans?
Many insurance plans, HMO’s, PPO’s and IPO’s cover air ambulance services. If you have insurance and the flight meets medical necessity criteria AeroCare will verify your benefits before departure. Medical necessity carries a strict criterion such as life-threatening/limb-threatening emergency and transport to the closest appropriate facility. Additionally, insurance may only pay a maximum amount leaving family responsible for deductibles and co-pays.
12. What type of patients require an air ambulance?
Patients that need to be transported distances over 200 miles and require medical attention and/or are unable to tolerate sitting upright in an airliner. AeroCare typically transports patients injured while on vacation needing to be flown home, patients with serious medical conditions needing transportation to a distant medical center that has capabilities unavailable locally, chronically ill patients who want to relocate close to family members, and patients who are traveling outside the US and become ill or injured requiring evacuation back to the states.
13. Why is CAMTS Accreditation so Important?
The accreditation of an air ambulance provider means everything in terms of safety, service, ethics, and training. CAMTS is the "Gold Standard" for air ambulance providers. Only the safest and best-of-the-best are awarded this prestigious accreditation. It's very hard to become CAMTS accredited. Most are not qualified. There are only about 65 Air Ambulance company's in the world that are CAMTS accredited. This is because very few meet the strict safety, training, and ethics guidelines CAMTS requires. If you are shopping around for an air ambulance and they are not CAMTS accredited, find out why. This should raise a red flag to you. They may say they have some other accreditation or don't choose to be, but all air ambulance companies given the choice would choose to be CAMTS accredited if they could be. You should only trust your loved ones to be transported by a CAMTS accredited air ambulance provider like AeroCare. Call us and we'll explain more about this. Or visit CAMTS.org