What is Ambulance Transportation or Medical Transport?
The purpose of ambulance transportation is to transport injured or sick individuals to and from an emergency room, medical center, or physician's office. Ambulance transportation is classified into two categories: emergency and non-emergency transportation. Although non-emergency transport can be purchased for any reason, it is most notably used in pre-scheduled transports after a surgery or operation, especially when the patient is in a wheelchair or confined to a bed. Emergency transportation is typically used in the event of a medical emergency, when the individual's health is in serious danger.
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Average Cost of Ambulance Transportation
Non-emergency ambulance transportation is only covered if you have Medicare Part B. It will only bring you to the closest appropriate medical facility equipped to provide the care needed. Medicare will pay to have you transported out of your area if there are no adequate services provided closer to you. If the ambulance company will not cover the charges, they are required to supply an Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage. All ambulance suppliers must accept your Medicare privileges.
Conditions and Requirements for Non-Emergency Ambulance Transportation
All ambulance transportation must be medically necessary, and you will need a physician’s note to qualify. This is known as a Physician Certification Statement. They can be administered by a physician assistant, clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, registered nurse, or your primary physician. Non-emergency ambulance transportation is used when other means of transit would endanger a senior’s health. Below is a list of some of the most common prerequisites for non-emergency ambulance transportation:
- Contractures, or the shortening and hardening of muscles, tendons, or other tissues.
- Danger to others or self.
- Cardiac issues, especially those needing hemodynamic monitoring.
- Suffering from confusion, comatose, lethargic symptoms.
- Orthopedic devices such as a backboard, pins, or a halo.
- Necessary monitoring of oxygen administration or adjusting.
- Senior unable to sit for expected transit.
- Ulcers or other wounds on buttocks.
- Fractures or broken bones.
- Necessary IV medications or fluids.
- Blood clots.
- Severe pain when moving.
Private Non-Emergency Transport
There are companies that provide long-distance medical transportation. They are an option if you do not qualify for the conditions necessary for Medicare, or if you need to traverse further than Medicare is willing to cover. Most companies have trained nurses on board to care for the senior’s needs. Each company is different, so it is highly recommended one does thorough research of the company before using.
Types of Vehicles Used
Vans - The most common form of ambulance transportation. Vans are useful because the chassis provided enough room for mobility equipment or a stretcher.
Helicopter - Used for the sole purpose of emergency transportation. Most commonly used in remote area with limited access to roads and/or locations not in proximity to a hospital.
Car or SUV - Typically cannot accommodate a stretcher or wheelchair. Used by patients who are capable of sitting.
Less Common Vehicles - Boats, ships, fire engines.