Most people look for air transportation based on pricing and this also applies for people looking for a medical flight charter service. However, there is more to air medical travel than merely transportation. It is a health care service operating under changing and difficult circumstances. The air ambulance industry has minimal regulatory or government oversight. To get an ideal medical flight charter service for a loved one, it is important to ask questions before making a decision. Some of the questions to ask when arranging for an air ambulance transfer are listed in this post.
What Is The Company’s Safety Record?
As mentioned earlier, there are no set industry standards for air ambulance services. Many companies do have safety records that are outstanding. Check if the company has had any violations in the past to ensure total safety. A reputable flight company will ensure they have the annual safety audits records. You can also turn to friends and colleagues who have used medical flight charter services before and ask them what company they used and what they think of their safety record.
What Type Of Aircraft Will Be Used?
Before a flight company can answer this question, they will first ask a few questions about the patient being transported. They will want to know the condition of the patient and if they will need to be hooked to medical equipment while on transit. They will also want to know the number of people who will accompany the patient on the plane. These details will help a company choose the right plane to ensure that it has enough space to keep the patient and other passengers comfortable. Other questions you can ask about the aircraft to be used are:
- Is the aircraft capable of flying in all weather?
- Is the cabin pressurized?
Choose an aircraft that is pressurized and can fly in all weather. The aircraft’s cabin should be ideally suited for medical transportation and not used part time for ferrying freight or charter flights. The aircraft’s interior should have sufficient size to ensure comfort and quality care. The medical equipment should be routinely checked by qualified medical staff.
Is There A Medical Director?
There are no laws set in place that require an air ambulance company to employ a medical director. However, some companies employ a doctor who is qualified in emergency medicine. These doctors are available for consultation and discussion when arranging a transfer. The company makes sure that their flight teams follow medical protocols and guidelines developed in conjunction with the doctor. However, clients who wish to have their own personal doctors get involved in the discussion when arranging transport, are free to do so.
Will The Health Care Team Be In Contact With A Hospital During Transportation?
An air ambulance should be equipped with either a two-way radio or an air phone. These devices are used to keep in contact with a hospital to help doctors communicate with the medical transport team. In the event of unexpected complications, a medical emergency or worsening of a patient’s condition during the flight, the medical transport team should be able to reach a hospital to get further instructions.
What Medical Equipment Does The Company Provide?
Not all patients who require medical flight charter services have to be in critical conditions. Some require transfer to a hospital that has better facilities or when seeking better medical care. An air ambulance should have an airplane’s flight team that carries full complement of critical care medications, oxygen and monitoring equipment in case a patient’s condition worsens. Find out if the flight company has any specialized medical supplies and equipment. This information will help you know what you need to carry from the hospital in case your patient needs more specialized equipment than what the company offers.
What Is The Cost?
Costs for medical air transport vary from company to company but price alone should not be a quality indicator. Check if the costs are covered by insurance before you sign up with a medical flight charter company. Ask the company about their payment plans to enable you to plan ahead. Most medical flight charter services require payment in advance. A company should be able to provide cost estimates in advance, especially during the first call. Some companies help their clients fill out insurance claims and obtain any necessary pre-authorization.
How Much Luggage Can We Bring On the Aircraft?
Medical aircrafts are outfitted with significant amount of medical equipment which limits space. Usually, an air ambulance will only allow two small to medium sized bags, not larger than a carry-on bag allowed in commercial airlines. The main priority in this scenario is the patient. The company will ensure they have everything needed on board to ensure the safety and care of the patient first. If you have other items that the patient will need to use, you can have the non-essential items sent before the transfer.
What Is Required To Arrange An Air Ambulance Transfer?
Medical flight charter services have 24 hour dispatch and information centres. There is a flight coordinator who is always on standby to walk clients through the process of booking for a flight and answer any questions. The flight coordinator will ask a few pertinent questions regarding the patient and they respond with a written proposal. This process usually takes only a few minutes.
Is Your Proposal All Inclusive?
The written proposal sent by the flight coordinator includes details of every aspect of the transfer. The proposal identifies the cities involved, the ground ambulances, medical team, the aircraft to be used and all the charges for the transfer. Check for any hidden charges. If you find any, have the flight coordinator explain what the extra charges are for.
All these questions will allow you peace of mind knowing that the safety and care of your patient is taken care of and that you get value for your money. Before making any decisions, include your doctor in the decision making to make sure your patient will have everything they need on board to ensure a smooth medical transfer.