Medical repatriation involves returning someone to their home country when they experience injuries, illness or trauma while abroad. Knowing how to find medical repatriation companies is critical to getting back home safely before time spent dealing with hospitals, doctors and insurance companies takes a toll on a person’s health and finances.
When trying to find medical repatriation companies, the key is to act quickly. They can provide the support you need to clear hurdles and get you back home to the care of your own doctors. The following medical tips can help you find medical repatriation companies and understand how they can help.
What Kind of Company Does Medical Repatriation?
When trying to find medical repatriation companies, you want to find a non-emergency medical transport (NEMT) service. These companies book flights, work on the patient’s behalf with airlines and airports and send an experienced, trained nurse to fly with patients. These flight nurses provide patients the care they need while in transit.
The right NEMT company will work with an insurance provider to verify if a patient qualifies for medical repatriation, handle communications with foreign medical staff and officials and properly completes all paperwork. They also consult with clinical staff at the hospital to ensure a patient is stable enough to fly.
Flying Angels has years of experience in providing medical repatriation services.
The Challenges of Medical Repatriation
People hire a reputable NEMT company because of the challenges in leaving a foreign country to return home when you have required medical attention. When searching for medical repatriation companies, look for companies who understand how to handle the following problems.
American tourists on vacation don’t typically plan for an emergency and do not know if they have coverage for medical repatriation. The first step an NEMT company will take is to find out what is covered under a person’s insurance. That can get complicated. For example, some insurance does not cover air medical, and some may cover transfer to a higher level of care, but not back to their nation of origin. Also, even if insurance does cover medical repatriation, it may only cover return to the nearest U.S. airport, not the patient’s home city.
If insurance does not cover air medical, then some types of travel insurance and some high-level credit cards may offer coverage. Experienced NEMT companies have untangled these insurance knots many times before.
Simply communicating can prove difficult in non-English speaking countries. This can create delays in getting a patient transferred. In the worst cases, communication gaps can result in patients not getting the level of treatment they need. Poor communication also can lead to people not understanding local regulations that may allow hospitals to charge them far more than they realize. An experienced medical travel company will have contacts in the area and work with translators to ensure everyone is on the same page for treatment and transfer.
Choosing a Receiving Facility
Patients returning to the U.S. may have difficulty in getting transport to the receiving facility they want. NEMT companies will have a list of medical facilities where they have contacts and work to get patients transferred to a facility that offers the type of care they need. They also will have a list of alternative medical flight destinations.
The Patient’s Medical Condition
Medical transport companies should provide a trained flight nurse to travel with patients on their trip. Flight nurses have experience and training in performing medical services at high altitudes and should have expert knowledge of aviation physiology. They also manage medications or medical equipment needed during the flight. These registered nurses consult with medical personnel where the patient is getting treatment to understand their current condition. They also notify the receiving facility about the patient, so they are accepted for treatment.
When it comes to finding medical repatriation companies, time is of the essence. People who need medical repatriation want to move as fast as possible to get back home under the care of doctors they know. Hiring a professional medical repatriation company can get patients through the process faster and safer.