Much the same as any other product or business service, Medical Transportation, whether it be for an emergency or a scheduled follow-up visit to the doctor, has a vast array of possibilities when it comes to its service offerings. Needs and offerings vary in this field to help individuals and families/groups during a catastrophe, a medical emergency, traffic accidents, or non-emergency transport situations.
The staff at Regional EMS compiled the following excerpt of general medical transportation services just to give the reader an overview. Of course specific service offerings completely depend on the provider’s geographic location, budget, and typical community needs as well as whether a provider is part of a larger corporate network, a non-profit, a community medical service, or privately owned.
- Advanced Life Support Transport, also known as ALS care, is a unit that carries a certified paramedic. These units provide transport from the scene of an accident to the nearest emergency care facility. Typically dispatched through a phone call to the 911 system after a medical trauma like a car accident, stroke or other life-threatening medical condition, ALS medical transport is usually equipped with varying kinds of medical equipment for saving lives including heart monitors, heart paddles, IV units and ECG monitors.
- Basic Life Support Transport, also known as BLS, carries a certified Emergency Medical Technician on board. This is the type of medical transport service that provides non-emergency transportation. The patient is monitored by various types of advanced medical equipment while en-route to their destination to ensure the patient arrives safely and prepared for any medical procedure
depending on the incident. Private ambulance services can and may offer BLS transportation as well. Private ambulance provider’s services and level of state-of-the-art equipment can and will vary.
- Critical Care Transport, also known as CCT, has a certified registered nurse or a paramedic (or both) on board depending on the severity of the medical condition of the patient. Critical care transport may be either a private or public ambulance service. CCT is generally used for patients who require critical care between hospitals, medical facilities, etc. The patient in this case might have multiple IV drips, ventilators, balloon pumps and other devices attached to their body to keep them alive.
- Neo-natal Intensive Care Transport, also known as NICU transport, transports the medical team from the health care facility to the patient’s location and provides specialized equipment such as incubators and clinical assistance. NICU transport also transfers the patient and medical team to the receiving facility for the occasions when transport requires a highly skilled medical response situation. Some air ambulance companies also provide this service for extreme cases.
- Wheelchair Services are special ambulance companies that allow for the transportation of mobility-impaired individuals. Another example of a similar specialized type of ambulance transport is a Bariatric Care Unit transport, which specializes in the transportation of obese patients to or from the hospital. These can be highly specialized transportation units, as some of these patients are too large to be supported by the traditional transport equipment of a regular ambulance or medical van.
The following information was found on the New York State Department Of Health website in reference to policies on medical transportation. The staff at Regional EMS found this information to be equally informative. (Bureau Of EMS Policy Statement, Medical Transportation, https://www.health.ny.gov/professionals/ems/policy/99-08.htm, October 10, 1999)
- Transportation by ambulance is required if the patient requires medical care or medical monitoring as directed by a physician during the transport. Examples include, but are not limited to, administering oxygen to a patient who does not normally use it, assessment, maintaining IV’s, cardiac (EKG) monitoring, or the periodic monitoring of pulse, respiration, blood pressure or other vital signs and documenting changes in a patient’s condition. Medical care and/or patient monitoring can only be provided by a certified or licensed health care provider and can only be provided in an ambulance.
- Ambulette or livery transportation is appropriate for patients who DO NOT require medical care or medical monitoring during the trip. Ambulette’s may carry a patient’s individually prescribed and provided oxygen (as if the patient is in a private vehicle). An Ambulette service MAY NOT provide oxygen or oxygen delivery equipment and Ambulette personnel MAY NOT monitor or deliver oxygen or adjust flow rates.
- A service not licensed as an ambulance MAY NOT advertise the ability to provide medical care during transport. Services should exercise caution using medically trained staff on any vehicle that is not an ambulance. Such advertising and staffing only serves to confuse the public or health care institution regarding the actual levels of medical care and capabilities available.
As mentioned earlier, this list is just an excerpt of medical transportation service possibilities. Many types of medical transportation services are available to different kinds of patients. Most of them are available on call, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The medical transportation service chosen depends on whether services requested are emergency or non-emergency, and whether the service is needed for local, long-distance national, or international transport.
The appropriate medical transportation service also depends on a patient’s current condition or disability. Please make sure to ask questions when inquiring of such services. Depending on the need, the level of emergency, and your insurance coverage, you may or may not receive the level of care needed or expected from your potential provider.
Please call Regional EMS and Critical Care at 610.377.9027 in Lehighton, PA or 570.668.2121 in Tamaqua, PA if you’d like more information or assistance in choosing a non-emergency medical transportation service provider, or visit our website at — www.remscc.com.
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