Air Methods, a leading air medical service provider in the U.S., announced that it has entered an agreement with HealthPartners, a consumer-governed, nonprofit healthcare organization based in Bloomington, Minnesota. The agreement enables Air Methods to provide HealthPartners plan members – totaling 1.8 million people across Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, North Dakota, and South Dakota – with critical air medical services at discounted in-network rates. The agreement includes commercial insurance, state public programs (SPP) and Medicare Cost.
“As many states in the Midwest see spikes in COVID-19 cases, air medical services are more important than ever,” said Chris Myers, executive vice president of reimbursement for Air Methods. “Air ambulances are crucial for interfacility transports during hospital surges and are also key in quickly reaching patients in rural areas. We are proud to enter this agreement with HealthPartners, which will ensure those who need air medical transport will receive it at affordable rates. We encourage all health insurance companies to negotiate similar agreements with Air Methods.”
Air Methods is now in-network with more than 100 health plans in more than 40 states. The latest agreement with HealthPartners continues Air Methods’ focus on expanding its in-network partnerships to 100 percent of plans in the country.
In-network coverage offers consumers a discounted, out-of-pocket payment for qualified services, which varies depending on a plan’s benefits. Staying in-network for healthcare services can help consumers avoid unexpected spending as well as balanced billing, which is the practice of the healthcare provider billing a patient for the difference between the plan’s reimbursement and the medical charges.
Expanding high-quality care access to rural regions
As hospitals across the country continue to be shuttered, access to care is a growing necessity for many, especially those in rural areas. However, even in highly populated states, nearby emergency and specialty care are not always available.
Today, more than one-quarter of the American population, 85 million residents, can only access a Level 1 or 2 Trauma Center within an hour if they are flown by air medical transportation. Nationally, 15 rural hospitals have closed in the U.S. this year. According to the National Rural Health Association, rural residents have greater transportation difficulties reaching health care providers, often traveling great distances to reach a doctor or hospital.
Air Methods eliminates those geographic obstacles while providing life-saving interventions during missions, such as clot-busting medications that must be given shortly after a major stroke to significantly improve outcomes and trauma care after an accident. Air ambulances are considered “flying ICUs” and the clinical teams flying on these missions have the highest first-attempt success rates in the nation among their peers at performing prehospital intubations, which is an emergency medical procedure to open a patient’s airway when breathing is obstructed. Developed exclusively by Air Methods’ clinicians, this emergency process was recently published in the leading textbook for emergency medicine continuing education, Prehospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS) (9th Edition).
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