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So where I am, we have 5 EMS operators. CALSTAR, REACH, two operated by Med-trans and one operated by a local helicopter company that isnt affiliated with any of the major EMS companies. Actually, 6 if you could the Highway Patrol who does EMS. It is a large geographic area, and by that I mean at least an hour to a 1.5 flight away from each other. I dont see a lot of crossover, if any, by the other operators, but Im curious......

 

How does a company get approval, authority or whatever, to come into a geographical area and set up their operation? If I had the infrastructure and approvals, could I just park my EC135 next to the other guys Bell 407 and be in business? (No, I don't have an EC135 so no PMs about building time please :D )

 

When there are multiple operators, how is it determined who gets the call. I have heard that EMS operators "race" to calls and who ever gets there first wins. Is that urban legend or does that happen? Although I dont see them handling calls in our region, I do see them at the airport getting gas, coming and going, etc. I hear them on the radio transitioning the Class C where I know they are a looooooong way from home.

 

We work pretty closely with our local operator during rescues. There are times we have gone in and retrieved a patient in an area that is out of the scope of the EMS helicopter and brought them out and passed them off because we are NOT an EMS helicopter in the slightest. Unless a bandaid and some anti-bacterial creme is all you needed!

Edited by Flying Pig
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It varies by state. I've been told that a 135 certificate and an aircraft that met "minimum ambulance requirements" (medical oxygen and air conditioning) and some medical staff, you're rock and roll and in Georgia.

As to who gets the call, I've seen all kinds of patterns: Hospital referral centers to preferred providers, scanner jumpers, old boy networks, medics who remember you did well by the patient on that last call and plain old face time telling agencies that you're available. I know agencies that won't call if the patient has a pulse, some who call for hangnails, but most are driven by real professional concern and judgement. In the end, I don't care whether it's because you're the last unit in the service area or the patient is FTD (fixin' to die), we're here to help, whatever it is- you call, we'll haul. Mdeical directors and insurance can argue about the rest.

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I'm interested in learning about this as well. I have a friend with military Medevac experience who thinks he can get the investment capital to start a one-ship, VFR HEMS operation.

 

Maintenance, I assume, can be outsourced. Can the medical staff be outsourced as well, or would you need a medical director, and RTs/Nurses/Paramedics on your payroll?

 

I wonder what insurance would cost for something like that.

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And deep pockets. The average reimbursement rate is around 30%, which means about 70% of his flights will be for free, no payment, plus all the necessary PR flying will be for free. It takes a long time to develop the rapport necessary to get ground ambulance units and fire departments to start calling you, so he should plan on at least a year with no income at all, and after that it will be slim.

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It's really not that terribly bad. Staff and equipment are being paid for no matter what. All you are paying is a flight hour rate and fuel. Also most hospital run programs utilizing a big corp lease like air methods get so many hours of free pr time so all they are paying for is fuel.

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  • 1 month later...

^Im understand you are joking so this isnt a response to yours, however, all the accidents Ive been on, 15 years worth.... I dont know that I have ever heard a request go out for a specific company from the scene. As a Deputy Sheriff, Ive even been the guy a couple of times who has called to get an EMS helicopter started based on the injuries and the remote location of the accident. Ive never asked for a specific company. I just say, "We are going to need to get an EMS helicopter started this way also."

 

Must be someone in dispatch who decides. Because there are 3 separate ones that could come, to include CHP. However, I have heard EMS peopl and cops generically ask for "Life Flight". There is no "Life Flight" where I am. So the dispatchers just must know who to call.

 

So I could see the value of making your company a household name!! I am going to start a company and just call it "The Helicopter" :D Im going to require all of my nurses be attractive females and mandate that they must remove their helmets and interact with the ground troops before they leave the scene. Cha Ching!

Edited by Flying Pig
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