Hiring an air ambulance company is not something you do everyday. As a result, you’re going to want to be extra careful if you want to avoid getting ripped off, or worse — ending up with sub-par care. What you’ll find here is a list of some of the top scams and indications of poor quality that you can watch for when seeking out these services.
Most of the time, evaluating air medical transportation is at the very bottom of people’s priorities. In fact, most people wouldn’t even know when to seek out these services in the first place. However, there are many scenarios where an air evacuation might be the fastest or only way to reach a hospital when you need it most.
Without further ado, here is a list of the top things to watch out for when working with an air ambulance:
- Pay as you go frauds.
- Companies that lease their aircraft and/or equipment.
- Old or outdated aircraft and/or equipment.
- Not enough qualifications.
- Too few pilots on board.
Pay as you go deals are not particularly common, but certainly pose a frightening threat for those who are unaware of standard operating procedures in this particular industry. In these situations, companies may take advantage of unsuspecting patients by offering monthly payment plans to cover the cost of the flight. Quite a number of reports have indicated that this type of arrangement opens the door for fraud. A better way to reduce your financial risk is to speak with your insurance carrier prior to signing any legally binding documents.
Brokers are companies that typically lease medical equipment and even aircraft so that they’re able to provide a better rate to consumers. However, there is inherent risk in doing business with such businesses. While it’s certainly not guaranteed, you’ll want to watch out for vendors who are particularly neglectful with respect to safety regulations and regular maintenance schedules. Another thing you have to worry about is how quickly they’re able to put together a flight plan for you. If you must use brokers, make sure to ask about these policies well in advance.
Aging aircraft, or even high-tech medical equipment can represent a considerable expense to medflight vendors. All too often, stories circulate about patient transport vehicles in disrepair simply because there is not enough public funding to support their upkeep. Always make sure to contact private companies during your preliminary research as they are more likely to have access to funds that make their aircraft competitive.
Next, ensuring the flight crew has the appropriate level of necessary medical training is extremely important when choosing an air ambulance. Because each company is only required by federal law to provide a minimum of qualifications, you’ll need to request this information directly. You can ask what sort of training is required prior to take off, as well as a list of state and/or federal certifications.
Finally, the number of pilots required for any flight is subject to the discretion of air medical operators. With over 400,000 patients using these services every year, their safety relies on the ability of the pilots navigating the air space. Studies show that the risk of accidents are dramatically reduced when there are two license and trained pilots on board. For these reasons, it’s advisable to choose vendors who can provide the appropriate number of pilots for any medical flight.
In summary, you’re going to want to be extra careful when hiring an air ambulance if you want to avoid getting ripped off, or worse — ending up with sub-par medical care and/or treatment.