Frequently Asked Questions About MedFlight
Q: Who will be coming to transport the patient?
Most flights have one Flight Nurse and one Flight Respiratory Therapist for (Fixed Wing) and Flight Nurse and Flight Paramedic for (Rotor Wing) Helicopter. We take our adult flight team along with a High-Risk Maternal Fetal Flight Nurse and/or a High-Risk Neonatal Flight Nurse in the airplane during Obstetrical and Neonatal flights. We also utilize two flight nurses for Intra- Aortic Balloon Pump (IABP) flights.
Q: How long will it take for the patient to get to Billings Clinic?
In most cases, transport to Billings will take approximately one (1) hour or less flight time depending on the location. Additional time is needed for patient packaging, stabilization and ground transport to the airport in the case of fixed wing transfer. Other factors affecting time of transport can be road and weather conditions, both on the ground and at altitude. Long distance flights can have time estimated closely with pilots and MedFlight dispatchers. (See Actual Flight Times on Map)
Q: Can family members be transported with the patient?
When allowable, one designated family member representative will be offered the option to accompany their loved one in transport if determined to be safe after screening by crewmembers. This is also dependent on screening for COVID-19 and proper weight and balance of the airplane and helicopter. Minor children and multiple family members are not permitted.
Q: How are services for air ambulance paid for?
In most instances, insurance carriers cover most of the costs incurred with air ambulance transport. Billings Clinic MedFlight is an in-network provider with most insurance companies in the region. If your deductible has been met, the only additional out-of-pocket expense may be the cost sharing amount provided in your insurance plan. In the case of specialty or long-distance transfer, Billings Clinic can obtain pre-approval for services although they are not a guarantee of payment. Special arrangements can be made for cash payments when insurance will not cover costs or when air ambulance is not indicated.
Q: What type of aircraft do you fly?
MedFlight operates three aircraft to perform air ambulance transport.
- (2) Beechcraft King Air airplanes capable of flying regionally and nationally. Pressurized for high altitude transfer allows for patient comfort and timely arrival at their destination. They average around 320 MPH cruise speed and can fly up to and altitude of 30,000 feet. They are instrument flight rules (IFR) capable and can safely fly in poor visibility and weather. Both planes have new state of the art Garmin G1000 glass cockpits for added safety.
- (1) EC - 145 Eurocopter Helicopter is the biggest air medical helicopter in the region. It is a dual engine helicopter for added safey that can serve the mountainous terrain in and around Bozeman. It has ample room for the flight crew to properly care for critically ill patients. It is an (IFR) capable aircraft that has a range of 300 miles and can fly at over 140 mph. It also has a state-of-the-art glass cockpit for added safety.
Q: Who is your air medical vendor?
- Fixed Wing (King Air 200): Edwards Jet Center in Billings, Montana
- Rotor Wing (EC 145): Metro Aviation, Inc. in Shreveport, Louisiana
Q: What type of patients can MedFlight Transport?
MedFlight transports all forms of adult patients receiving specialty services.
- Critical Care
- High Risk Neonatal
- High Risk Maternal Fetal (OB)
- Intra-Aortic Balloon Pumps (Only team in Montana)
- COVID - 19
Q: What type of equipment does MedFlight use?
The medical equipment and training are an extension of Billings Clinic. MedFlight brings the ICU/ED right to the bedside. We always have direct physician communication via satellite phones in all aircraft. State-of-the-art equipment includes portable Zoll cardiac monitors/defibrillators for vital sign monitoring; IVAC IV fluid and medication pumps; portable internal pacemakers; ability to place chest tubes; advanced airway management video laryngoscopes (McGrath and Glidescope Go Pro); Hamilton T1 ventilators; portable blood gas and electrolyte analyzers (ISTAT); Buddy Lite fluid and blood warmers; Vaccuum Splints for trauma spine mobilization; Whole Blood 4 units (Only team in NW Region to have available) or 4 units Packed Blood Cells (PRBC's) and 4 units Fresh Frozen Plasma (FFP).