New Base Opens in Moundsville for Medical Flight Service Helicopter

Healthnet Aeromedical Services has officially opened the new base for their medical flight service helicopter in Moundsville. This new Base 10 facility took 12 months of hard work to complete. Now the service would be able to help a lot more patients in getting the necessarily medical care on time.

New Base to Fulfil the High Demand of Medical Flight Service

The severe weather hitting the Ohio Valley has increased the number of medical emergencies in the region. Setting up the new base will help Healthnet Aeromedical in fulfilling their responsibilities much more effectively. The organization’s President and CEO, Clinton Burley has stated that they decided to invest in the new base because the community is in dire need of high-quality helicopter emergency service.

So they decided to start developing the space and turn it into a base for their helicopter, spending 12 months to complete it. They were finally able to officially open the doors of the new Base 10 facility on February 2.

First Not-for-Profit Medical Aircraft to Service the Area

According to Burley, there is already a for-profit medical aircraft servicing the area. And their medical flight service will be the first not-for-profit emergency helicopter that will be servicing the Northern Panhandle. Each of their flights will be properly equipped with specialized medications, blood, and plasma in addition to being operated by a critical care team.

The team will be using a twin-engine aircraft to run their operations. Burley also stressed on the fact that their organization is not for profit, which means that they will be providing their assistance to anyone in need regardless of the patient’s ability to pay for service. For this helicopter, the organization invested $6 million and made another significant investment for the base.

Flight for Life Colorado Acquires New Medical Flight Helicopter for Pediatric Patients

Flight for Life Colorado has put a new medical flight helicopter in service for transporting pediatric patients. The helicopter has been specially outfitted for accommodating younger patients. This new addition to the Flight for Life Colorado fleet will enable them to provide even better service to residents of the Denver region.

Better Critical Care Medical Flight Service with New Helicopter

Flight for Life Colorado is a provider of critical care transport service in the Denver region. In 2016, they had made an announcement about their intention to acquire a new Airbus H130 T2, which will be dedicated for transporting pediatric patients. The newly-acquired medical flight helicopter will be exclusively used by the air ambulance’s team that’s based at Children’s Colorado.

The new helicopter will provide its transportation service to children within a 120-mile radius of the base. The Flight for Life Colorado pediatric air ambulance has a dedicated staff of nurses and respiratory therapists, who comprise of the air ambulance crew that’s based at Children’s Colorado. Since the aircraft is specially outfitted to accommodate pediatric patients, it’s expected to enhance the quality of service provided by Flight for Life Colorado to children in the service area.

More About Flight for Life Colorado

Flight for Life Colorado was a pioneer for critical care air transport based at hospitals since its establishment in 1972 at St. Anthony’s Hospital. The air ambulance provider and Children’s Colorado have worked closely together since 1997, according to a statement made by the Flight for Life Colorado director, Kathleen Mayer.

Their decision to station a dedicated helicopter at the hospital will enable them to strengthen their partnership and expand their service. The partnership will also enable both parties to provide exceptional care to pediatric patients in Denver.

North Dakota Passes Law to Prevent Price Gouging by Air Ambulance Companies

In yet another effort to curb exorbitant air ambulance fees, North Dakota legislators have passed a law to prevent charges by air ambulance companies that aren’t providers with major insurance companies. The bill, which is set to take effect on January 1, will make sure that non-participating air ambulance providers only charge the average fees charged by participating services.

Law Passed as Response to Sky-High Air Ambulance Fees

The Senate Bill 2231 was signed into law by Gov. Doug Burgum on April 18. It was passed as a response to frequent complaints of staggering air ambulance charges averaging at nearly $60,000. According to Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread, there has been a spike in complaints of late. And it’s a huge issue especially when the air ambulance provider doesn’t belong to any insurance network.

In such cases, the patients will be hit with exorbitant air ambulance fees and their insurers can’t do anything. Between 2013 and January 2017, there were 28 complaints submitted to the North Dakota Insurance Department against air ambulance companies. The air ambulance fees in this complaint amounted to $1.66 million.

Law to Affect Out-of-Network Air Ambulance Companies

A patient’s insurance does not cover air ambulance fees when the air ambulance provider doesn’t have an agreement with the insurer. And this becomes a huge issue because patients often have no choice in which provider they get. But with the new law, out-of-network air ambulance providers will be required to charge patients the average fees of participating companies.

Even in case of non-emergency transfers, hospitals will now need to notify the patients if the air ambulance provider is outside of their insurance network. This particular requirement will take effect starting August 1. With these new rules in place, patients in North Dakota will have a much better air ambulance experience.

How to Improve the Decontamination Process of Air Ambulance Transport Vehicles

Due to years of lifesaving services, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance crew has been hailed as rural heroes of the nation. The charity launched in 2013 and has since completed more than 1,330 missions throughout Scotland. The team has provided air ambulance transport not only in the Scottish mainland but also across all the islands.

Air Ambulance Transport a Boon for Rural Areas

Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance provided quick paramedic care and swift transportation of patients to medical facilities. In many cases, their rapid response made all the difference between life and death. The case is especially true for patients in remote and rural regions. As a result of this, the charity has been declared “a crucial lifeline” that the nation desperately needs. They received recognition at the Scottish Rural Awards held in Edinburgh.

Unanimous vote for Air Ambulance Crew

The air ambulance transport crew was unanimously chosen by the judges to receive the Rural Heroes Award. Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance is currently operated by five paramedics and two pilots. According to the awards’ judges, the services provided by the crew were truly remarkable and could potentially benefit every resident of Scotland.

Due to their dedication, the crew has been able to provide emergency medical care to the seriously ill or injured especially in rural areas. David Craig, Chief Executive of the charity stated that their air ambulance crew played a major role in saving the lives of rural residents.

The team believes they’re just doing their jobs and do not consider themselves as heroes. But Craig stated that the team’s job involves a high level of skill and dedication as well as mental and physical endurance. Because of the team’s ability to deliver on these requirements, it’s not an overstatement to call them heroes.

Air Ambulance Service Suspended in 7 British Columbia Hospitals

Seven hospitals in British Columbia experienced a suspension of their air ambulance service for several days since Friday, 12th August. According to the service provider Helijet, they were informed by Transport Canada that their service wasn’t complying with federal regulations in regards to hospital landing pads. As a result, the provider had to withdraw its services from the seven hospitals located in Vancouver Island and the South Coast.

The Root of the Problem

According to Helijet’s Vice President, Rick Hill, this issue was caused by how officials interpreted the performance standards provided in the manufacturer’s manual. According to this manual, the helicopters used by the company don’t come with the performance capacity required to land at certain helicopter landing pads. These are the helipads classified as H-1 under Transport Canada. These come under the strictest standards as they are surrounded by numerous structures including buildings.

Hill further said that the Helijet helicopters have the performance capacity and this current error is a result of an administrative issue. Helijet looks forward to being able to resume its air ambulance service at the seven hospitals as soon as possible in order to save lives and help those in need.

Helijet Files for Temporary Exemption to Resume its Air Ambulance Service

Helijet appealed with Transport Canada to be able to get temporary exemption and resume its services shortly. Among the seven hospitals currently not being serviced by an air ambulance are B.C. Children’s Hospital, Surrey Memorial Hospital, Royal Columbian Hospital, Vancouver General Hospital, and Nanaimo General.

Although this temporary exemption won’t solve the issue, Helijet plans to address the problem and resolve the issue with Transport Canada along with the helicopter manufacturer, Sikorsky. Officials from the hospitals express their concern about lack of an air ambulance servicing their hospitals but also mentioned how safety shouldn’t be compromised.

Royal Medical Flight Pilot’s Security

Yes, we’re speaking about Prince William. Recently, the Price had to go on a medical flight mission to HM Prison Highpoint, Suffolk. The call for emergency medical care from the prison was made when one of the inmates suffered a seizure. The Prince, however, did not enter the prison and stood by the medical flight. He was accompanied by a royal protection officer as well as four prison guards. There were several onlookers who were trying to get a glimpse of the Prince but they were kept at a distance by the guards.

When you look at it, the medical flight job that William is currently involved demands that he land in places filled with common people most of the time, which raises a need for heightened security; after all, he is second in line to the British Throne.

There is Security in the Medial Flight too

It is widely believed that Prince William always has security officers accompanying him in the medical flight. Although air ambulances typically are constrained for space, an exception has been made for the star medical flight pilot. While it is speculated that only one security officer accompanies William, it is not known exactly how many accompany him.

Earlier suggestions were made that the security officer/s too be trained to provide emergency medical assistance, although it is not known whether this advice was heeded or not.

Security of William’s Medical Flight is always an Issue

Earlier an app that tracks any aircraft including a medical flight was cited as security threat. It was opined that the app could be used by terrorists to track William’s medical flight location. The data of the medical flight was subsequently removed from the app.

William is perhaps the best brand ambassador that the air ambulance industry could have had. He also donates his entire salary of 40,000 pounds to an undisclosed charity.

Airambulance Company agrees to Ferry USF Student Stranded in Cuba

Overseas travel without adequate airambulance and medical insurance cover can give rise to huge problems – something that the Jimenez Family learnt the hard way. 22-year-old Barbara Jimenez has now been stranded in Cuba for almost a month now in Cuba after she was involved in a major car crash. Although fit enough for travel via airambulance, she is still in Cuba due to lack of funds. The airambulance is expected to cost upwards of $50,000. Barbara’s family members have expressed their helplessness in raising that kind of money for her airambulance transport. Barbara also does not have health insurance.

Help for Arranging Airambulance to the United States

Barbara had been in a coma with a broken skull, the first few days following the accident. Her boyfriend, John Fox, 23, too was seriously injured but is back in the US currently. His family had arranged for an airambulance to ferry him back; however, the airambulance was too small to also accommodate Barbara. She has been in a Havana hospital since August 3 and has been accompanied by her sister for caretaking.

Barbara is a senior at University of South Florida. Her sorority at the University has tried raising money for her by creating a GoFundMe page by the name “Bring Barbie Home.” So, far they’ve only been able to raise slightly over $13,000 of the targeted $75,000.

Barbara had interned with United States Representative Kathy Castor who is a democrat from Florida State. He has offered a helping hand by saying that he would facilitate her transfer from Cuba.

Tampa Airambulance Company, JET ICU, Comes Forward with Help

The airambulance company, JET ICU, has assured that they would take the responsibility of bring Barbara back from Cuba. The airambulance company would transport her to Tampa General Hospital soon. She will be returning to Tampa on Friday if all things go according to schedule.

Alberta Woman, Amy, Still Struggling with Air Ambulance Cost to Get her Baby Home

A while back we had reported about Amy Savill who was struggling to pay two air ambulance bills. She had first availed an air ambulance service to deliver her baby after she went into early labor. After the uncomplicated delivery, the question of paying for the next air ambulance flight arose. Her newborn, Amelia, needs to be transported back to Alberta. The baby was born when Amy was vacationing in Ontario. The child now needs an air ambulance that has neonatal intensive care unit facility and this facility does not come cheap.

The Cost of first Air Ambulance Flight was Covered

Amy had gone into labor when she was visiting Ontario and had to be transported via air ambulance to Sudbury from Timmins. This was because the hospital in Timmins did not have level-2 neonatal intensive care unit. Initially, there was some confusion among Ontario and Alberta administrators regarding footing the air ambulance bill. However, they later came together and decided to share the air ambulance cost.

Amy’s Air Ambulance Cost Woes aren’t Done Yet

Amy is now facing the problem of getting her newborn back to Alberta. The flight from Ontario to Alberta will cost roughly about $550,000. Peterborough-based social organization called Global Angel is helping the family raise the funds necessary for air ambulance transport. So far, the total donations have come up to $17,000 only. The family is under immense stress currently, wanting to take the little baby back home in Alberta.

The donations too have started dwindling with the Alberta and Ontario governments covering the initial air ambulance costs. What potential donators have not realized is the fact that the family still needs a lot of funds to get back to Alberta via an air ambulance that has neonatal intensive care unit. Global Angel is making appeals to citizens of United States, England and Canada but help is only trickling in.

Namibian Air Ambulance Crash Kills 5

An air ambulance crash is always sad. In an unfortunate incident, this past Sunday, E-med Rescue 24, a private air ambulance company crashed killing all 5 people aboard the aircraft. The air ambulance was heading towards Cape Town International Airport but crashed in the Tygerberg Nature Reserve which is outside Cape Town. The air ambulance service provider was based out of Namibia. The air ambulance was a Cessna 441, twin-engine aircraft.

The Unfortunate Victims of the Air Ambulance Crash

The victims were identified as:

  • 80-year-old patient, Gabriel le Roux, who was a South African
  • 49-year-old Charmaine Koortzen who was the daughter of the patient and also a South African
  • 53-year-old Steven Naude who was the pilot of the air ambulance and a Namibian
  • 23-year-old Amore Espag who was the co-pilot and a Namibian
  • 24-year-old Alfred Ward who was the paramedic onboard and also a Namibian

The air ambulance had taken off from Oranjemund to transfer the patient to Cape Town for medical reasons.

Investigations into the Air Ambulance Crash

The Chief Executive of E-med Rescue 24 and the investigators from the Transport Department had visited the crash site. It was also revealed that there was a “breakthrough” in investigation and “some” results would be made public this week. The confirmation about the breakthrough came from Ericsson Nengola who is the acting deputy permanent secretary of the Department of Transport. He also heads the team that investigates aircraft accidents. Namibian and South African investigators are working together to find out the reasons behind the air ambulance crash.

There was a Technical Glitch at the Airport

According to ACSA (Airports Company of South Africa), all aircrafts that were scheduled to reach Cape Town had been put in a holding pattern when the fatal crash occurred. However, it was also reported that the “glitch” was not the reason behind the air ambulance crash. Authorities revealed that the problem at the airport pertained to “flight slot coordination.”

Govt. Mulling Increased Medicare Pay for Air Ambulance Companies

Lawmakers in both chambers of the Congress are in the process of passing a bill that would increase Medicare payment rates. If passed, the bill would increase the Medicare pay rate for air ambulance companies by 20 percent and this increase would come into effect in 1st of January next year. There would be a further increase in pay rate from Medicare for the air ambulance companies, which would be spread between 2017 through 2019; the increase would be an additional 5 percent.

What Does this Mean for Air Ambulance Companies?

Association of Air Medical Services, which is a lobbying entity for air ambulance companies in the United States, has been constantly pushing the congress for passage of this bill.

Here’s what the largest of the air ambulance companies in the country – Air Methods – had to say about the payment raise. The CEO of the company Aaron Todd said that the 20% increase will definitely affect the bottom line positively and Air Methods, which is currently enjoying 1 billion in revenue will see even better margins. It was revealed that about 36 percent of Air Methods’ revenue comes from Medicare patients compared to 26 percent which comes from reimbursements from private players.

The beneficiaries would not just be the air ambulance companies, many hospitals that run air ambulance services too will benefit from the passage of this bill.

Air Ambulance Companies apart, What Does it Mean for Consumers?

At present, the criteria for reimbursement is pretty strict and patients are, sometimes, required to pay out of pocket. This out of pocket expense, if any, would definitely come down. The bill would also bring into effect a data reporting system for all air ambulance companies that offer emergency transportation. So, the sector would definitely be more organized in the days to come if the bill sees the light of the day.