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Long Distance Medical Transportation: Why it is Needed and What to Expect

Long Distance Medical Transportation is known by several other names. It is often referred to as non-emergency medical transport or as a long distance medical escort. Either way, it refers to the same service, taking someone who is not well enough to travel through commercial means and delivering them safely to wherever they need to go. This process is not as easy as it sounds and it is not as inexpensive as many hope it will be.

Why Non-Emergency Medical Transportation is Needed

One of the most important factors for comfort and healing when injured or ill is having the support and love of family and friends. Unfortunately people do not always become hospitalized close to home. Some are injured while on vacation or away on business. Others are attending college or have just moved off on their own when an illness strikes. All of these occasions leave people feeling alone and stranded.

In some instances people are able to receive better long term care at a different facility. A specialist may be able to provide treatments that are not available elsewhere. The transportation of those patients exposed to Ebola in a Texas medical facility who were taken to Maryland for care are a widely reported example of this type of event.

A final example is when a family has decided to relocate. Someone who is moving may have a loved one, perhaps a parent or grandparent, residing in a nursing facility. A professional state to state elderly transport may be needed to safely move them from their current home to the facility where they will be living in their new state.

Why These Services can Seem Expensive

Professional long distance medical transport is not just a fancy method of giving someone a ride. The vehicle must be fully equipped with all of the medical supplies and equipment the patient will need as well as any emergency supplies that could be required while out on the road. There must be at least one medical specialist riding with the patient, more if their health requires the additional care. A professional driver is required and all details about picking the patient up and dropping them off must be scheduled precisely. In addition to all of this, there are the everyday costs of being on the road, including tolls, fuel and even food for the patient and the staff. In some instances, ground support is not enough and the patient needs to be transported by air.

What Health Insurance Usually Covers

Every health insurance policy is always different, so it is important to speak to your own provider prior to scheduling any service. In most instances insurance will cover state to state medical transport if it is deemed to be medically necessary. If you are traveling to see a specialist or get better care, you should be covered, at least partially. However, if this is just a move being performed to put you closer to family or friends, it will most likely need to be paid for out-of-pocket. Options for paying for these services include fund raising, charitable organizations and funds made available at the facility the patient is being transferred to. Always research all options before the transport is scheduled.

What to Expect When Choosing a Company

Prior to hiring any state to state patient transport, family members should always ensure the company is licensed and has all permits required to transport patients through the necessary states. You do not want your loved one held up on the road due to paperwork. Inspect the vehicles personally to ensure they are safe, modern and clean.

Expect to fill out plenty of paperwork. It is important the company is given the patient’s medical history and a complete list of medications and treatments the patient relies on. They will need to know everything about meal requirements and any other special needs. The move will need to be coordinated with all medical facilities involved prior to transfer.

What to Expect During Transportation

On the day of the move, patients will be brought into the vehicle and stabilized prior to leaving. Many transports allow a family member to travel with their loved one when space permits. This is generally allowed free of charge. Personal effects like a magazine, book or handbag are also usually allowed to be brought with the patient.

These transports are not set up like a traditional ambulance, but are designed to be as comfortable as possible. All units are climate controlled, provide comfortable seating or sleeping locations and have entertainment options like televisions, DVD players and radios. Stops will be made when necessary for meals.

A medical professional, typically a nurse, will be accompanying the patient throughout the entire trip. They will monitor vital signs and ensure the patient is comfortable. They will also administer any medication or medical treatment that is required during the course of the trip. These caregivers are always trained in emergency services should a need arise while on the road. At the end of the trip the patient will be escorted into their new facility and all of their property and medical records will be given or shared with their new care providers.

Scheduling Long Distance Medical Transportation can take a few days, possibly up to a week. The patient must be found healthy enough to move safely. Every step is taken to guarantee their safety and medical treatment will never be compromised by the transportation. The staff is always professional and are dedicated to providing exceptional medical care.