Why To Use An Air Ambulance Provider, Not a Broker. And How To Spot One!
Everyone loves Costco, right? We all like getting a great value for a quality product without having to pay a middle man, especially for an inferior product at an inflated markup. That essentially is what a broker is in comparison to us, Aero Care Medical Transport System, Inc., an actual Air Ambulance vendor.An air ambulance vendor has established bases in one or multiple cities and staffs their own full-time medical teams and pilots.The aircrafts we own and operate are maintained and licensed under multiple federal and state licenses. We have in-house maintenance that is responsible for the rigorous maintenance schedule the aircrafts have. With a broker you will have no direct contact with the vendor who is actually providing medical care.
So you’re looking for an Air Ambulance for an emergent or planned air ambulance trip, you hop on line and search “medical evacuation in the Dominican Republic”, you hit enter and boom, 842,000 results come up! So as most do you scroll through the first ranked sites on the page and pick one, you see the company profile, pictures of the planes, some candid pictures of a patient being cared for by a medical team, so contact them. Now what happens next can be exactly what you’re looking for or catastrophic. Any company, whether an actual air ambulance company like AeroCare or ACME Brokers, will collect basic information. If the company isan actual air ambulance vendor, when you call they should be able to quote you the following information: base plane will fly from, tail number and make of plane, medical crew configuration, closest airports for you routing, total price associated, and first date of availability. Conversely when you call a broker, he will hang up the phone and call AeroCare direct, the AeroMedical Case manager will prepare the exact same quote, and the broker will then tack on a $3000-5000 up-charge before calling you back to tell you the inflated price.
When you call AeroCare, because our teams and planes are dedicated solely to AeroCare, we can immediately get you “penciled into” our master schedule companywide, putting a soft hold on the plane (no financial commitment) so that the entire team knows there may be a pending flight on a particular aircraft. A broker can’t control anyone’s planes or schedules, so while someone may choose to pay the inflated fee of a broker, the original plane it was quoted on may be booked several weeks out. The broker will attempt to call other companies to procure another aircraft, however there is no guarantee of service, safety or class of aircraft you may get.
There are many disadvantages to using a broker. How do you know they have vetted the company they may choose for you and assured the vendor is of the highest? With a broker you will have no direct contact with the vendor who is actually providing medical care for your loved ones. All communication will go via the broker which can cause serious delays in crucial information. Having a direct line of communication between us and the hospitals and/or the family and our medical teams makes a world of difference. Our 24/7 communication and dispatch center is the nerve center of our entire operation at AeroCare, they are able to give us minute-by-minute updates on every aspect of your trip so you feel confident in your choosing.
Caveat Emptor as the old Latin saying goes; Buyer Beware!
Here are some easy ways to spot a broker:
- They called you! Sadly, this is a practice especially when Americans are traveling abroad. For a mere $100, a broker will get a list of Americans needing repatriation from the less than scrupulous hospitals/clinics in foreign countries, they will tell you “they work with the embassy” “they are the hospitals dedicated provider” and worst of all cold called you under the guise of goodwill.
- Ask the broker for the tail number of the plane they have quoted you on, if they are not a broker this is a basic, easy to answer question.
- Ask them where are there physical base is located?
- What are the types of planes they have in their fleet? Lear Jet, turbo props? Heavy weight Jets?
- Ask them what accreditations do they have? If a true air vendor, they need Part 135 FAA certificates, and locate Department of Health licensure in each state they have a base.
- They start demanding money from the minute you speak with them! This is a huge red flag, they are using your money to pay for the potential flight on a true air ambulance jet. So as you insist on a timeline, they are unable to provide one as they have not paid the vendor yet and can’t give you a true hard timeline. That’s because the vendor won’t even start initiating the trip without payment from the broker.
- Read reviews, Facebook, Google, Bing, Yelp, testimonials on their website, look at the pictures are the planes in the pictures logo'ed with the actual companies name or are they all different?
When in doubt call AeroCare at 800-823-1911 or use our Live Chat. We are available 24/7! You will be immediately connected to a AeroMedical Case Manager who will happily give you solid and gratis advice to help you safely and efficiently get your loved one home.