The problem with some types of insurances is that we don’t know we need it until it’s too late.
You see, it sometimes in the wake of a natural disaster. Maybe the hurricane insurance covered the storm damage but not the subsequent flooding that followed.
The same can be true for medical flight insurance.
We see the medical helicopters – either LifeStar out of the University of Tennessee Medical Center or WINGS out of Johnson City – frequently but how often do we think about if or when we need the service ourselves, will we be covered?
The AirMedCare Network can take that particular worry away.
For as little as $65 annually for seniors the AirMedCare Network – a group of various medical flight services spread over 38 states – will provide insurance for if you or an immediate member of you family need a medical flight.
“When a medical emergency arises, we can provide swift access to the care you need with our world-class emergency transport services,” AirMed explains. “When you need transport from a far-away medical facility for recovery closer to home, our Fly-U-Home coverage guarantees that everything is taken care of. And not only do we help safeguard your health, but we also protect your finances; members never pay a dime out-of-pocket when transported by an AMCN provider.
“Enjoy peace of mind for as little as $85 a year, or $65 a year for seniors.”
The network has over three million members.
And these are not fly-by-night operations. Aircraft operators must hold a current Air Carrier Operating Certificate in accordance with Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The FAA governs the operation of the aircraft and installation of the stretcher and other equipment, but exercises no control over the medical aspects of the flight; including the medical team and the uninstalled medical equipment. Some states require licensure of air ambulances. These licenses are usually based on a variation of EMS standards and may not apply to fixed wing aircraft or long distance transports.
A Wish Come True: An
AirMedCare Network member gets the chance to say thank you
December 9, 2021 was a special day for Charlie Pearman. That evening, the Bristol resident got his wish answered: to meet and say a personal “thank you” to the AirMedCare Network flight crew he says are the reason he’s alive today.
“I wanted to express my deepest appreciation for what they did,” says Pearman, who met Flight Paramedic Brian Hutchinson and Flight Nurse Jamey Thompson of Highlands 1 at the medical flight crew’s company holiday party.
Highlands 1, an Emergency Air Rescue & Transport (HEART) in Elizabethton, is one of four bases belonging to Med-Trans, a member of Global Medical Response’s (GMR) family of solutions. On September 8, 2021, the medical helicopter responded to an emergency call from Indian Path Community Hospital in Kingsport, where Pearman was being treated for a flesh wound.
“I was in the hospital because of a cut I suffered in late August at my lumber job. I had no idea that I would eventually experience another medical condition that would require even more intervention,” says Pearman. That other “medical condition” would be a saddle pulmonary embolism or a large blood clot that gets lodged where the main pulmonary artery branches off into each lung. “I know I passed out, so I don’t remember much when the medical flight crew came in my hospital room. What I do remember is hearing someone say I was going in the back of the helicopter, and then, someone putting an oxygen mask on me,” says Pearman.
Hutchinson also recalls the day he and Thompson transported Pearman. “It was clear that he [Pearman] was hypoxic and in desperate need of oxygen; he had no idea what was going on,” he says. Thompson agrees, saying “we knew we had to quickly get him to another hospital that had the resources and medical expertise to treat his condition.”
Pearman, a member of GMR’s AirMedCare Network’s alliance of affiliated helicopter and airplane air ambulances, was immediately transported by Hutchinson and Thompson to Johnson City Medical Center, where he underwent life-saving surgery.
As a member of the AirMedCare Network, Pearman has financial peace of mind knowing that his out-of-pocket expenses are covered. Today, the 57-year old lumber distributor is recovering well. “I’ve made tremendous progress in my rehabilitation,” says Pearman. “In fact, when I met [Hutchinson and Thompson] at their Christmas party, I remember Hutchinson saying, ‘you look a heck of a lot better than the last time I saw you,’” he jokingly recalls.
Hutchinson remembers that comment, too. “I was telling the truth,” he says with a chuckle. “I was also glad to see that he was getting better.”
And while Hutchinson and Thompson say they’re happy to see patients like Pearman, especially as they work towards a full recovery, the air medical crew members also say it’s an honor to serve their community. “This line of work is not based on a one-person mentality. We work as a team. We’re not in it to get individual recognition. We’re in it to save lives with the expertise, skill, and knowledge that each team member possesses. We know the bigger picture,” says Hutchinson.
But for Pearman, that “bigger picture” was sized up in the two small words of “thank you” that he says, could never fully convey the depth of gratitude he has for the two men he will always remember. After all, meeting them was a sincere wish for him that finally came true one December night.