Medical Aircraft Charter
What does one do in a medical situation requiring transportation of patients over long distances? In situations where a conventional ground ambulance would be unable to make the trip in a timely manner or at a reasonable cost, a medical aircraft charter might be just the right option to get your patient where he needs to go safely and quickly.
Medical aircraft charter operators are enjoying good growth in a sector long dominated by business charters. The unique needs of some medical patients make it impractical to transport them using business charters or commercial airlines, but medical aircraft charter operators are specialists in this area. They have the technology and capable staff to perform medical transports correctly.
At the present time there are literally hundreds of medical aircraft charter operations globally, utilizing helicopters, light jets, business jets, and a variety of prop planes. Depending on medical needs and destinations, these aircraft can be equipped at short notice for emergencies, or planned in advance for less urgent transport.
When considering use of a medical aircraft charter, one must understand that different governments regulate the industry to different degrees. Industry standards provide the base-line for medical aircraft charter operators to follow, including the setting of three basic levels of required medical care. Those levels are: Designated Basic Life Support, Advanced Life Support, or Critical Care. It is important to know what level of care is required by your patient and to make sure your carrier is both certified and technically equipped to meet your needs. Emergency Medical Service (EMS) staff will accompany the patient on the trip to insure his stability throughout the duration.
Some medical aircraft charter providers offer a combination of executive-class travel and medical transport, giving family and friends of the patient the ability to travel with them in comfort and convenience. Where more dire medical conditions exist there are providers with the ability to implement full surgical facilities for in-flight emergency care. Medical aircraft charter services can also be used for short-notice transportation of organ transplant patients, intra-hospital transport, or any other medical situation where commercial travel would be inappropriate.
A medical aircraft charter company should not be confused with a local or regional emergency response transporter. Where the emergency response operator provides air transport from the site of a car crash, industrial accident, or other location where trauma is involved, a medical aircraft charter is designed for patients who are stable and in need transport to a different facility. Emergency response organizations are usually volunteer-based and operate through generous financial contributions from donors. Occasionally one will charge a patient for services rendered.
Like business jet chartering, the cost of a medical aircraft charter will vary depending on the type of aircraft used, the medical equipment and staff required for a safe trip, the distance and time of the flight, and the urgency with which the flight is requested. Insurance coverage for air transport can be hit or miss depending on individual insurance plans. Most private plans include medical air transport that might be required for life-threatening emergencies, with the option of adding a non-life-threatening rider. As a general rule, public health insurance will not cover the cost unless it is deemed absolutely medically necessary.
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