By Kelly Baughman

When tragedy strikes, getting the best care as quickly and conveniently as possible is important for your survival and the sanity of your family. Thanks to the team at Intensive Air Care, transporting your loved ones safely to facilities all over the country is now available here on the Gulf Coast.
Located at Gulf Air Center at Jack Edwards National Airport (KJKA) in Gulf Shores, Alabama, Intensive Air Care is an FAA certified fixed wing air carrier providing domestic and International air ambulance services using state of the art medical equipment and professional staff committed to providing the highest quality of medical care, safety, and satisfaction.
Director of Operation and Chief Pilot, Joseph Todor, said of IAC, “We have a 9 passenger B-200 King Air plane that only takes about 40 minutes to reconfigure from a charter plane into a medical transport plane. We offer bedside to bedside care, meaning we go in to the hospital, transfer our equipment to the patient from the hospital equipment, get them loaded into the plane, care for them in flight, and transport them to the new facility making sure they are transferred back onto hospital equipment, and finally, briefing the doctors on the patient’s condition.”
Bethany Kottsick, Vice President of Marketing, added, “The aircraft is equipped with state of the art mobile ICU medical equipment and supplies. We have five registered nurses, five paramedics, and a doctor out of the ER all on call 24 hours a day 7 days a week. It’s the safest, fastest, and most comfortable way to transport a patient while keeping them in capable hands the entire trip.”
All staff members with IAC are required to have five years-experience in an ICU-CCU setting and/or Emergency Room setting. The medical flight crew has successfully completed the U.S. Department of Transportation Air Medical Crew National Standard Curriculum-Advanced or equivalent approval by IAC’s medical director, which includes general topics, patient assessment, and management appropriate to the patient in the airborne environment.
In addition to patient transport, IAC provides organ transplant transport services, working closely with organ procurement organizations to provide a fast and seamless transport and receipt of organs which is a time sensitive process. “We can be ready to pick up an organ recipient or transplant team at a moment’s notice and transfer them to their destination, any time, day or night,” Kottsick said.
The aircraft itself is fully equipped with the most advanced communication, weather radar, and navigation systems that are available today, and cruises at 330 mph ensuring minimal time away from the healthcare facility. “We can get to Nashville in an hour and twenty minutes, Dallas in under two hours, Atlanta in an hour and fifteen minutes. It’s a very fast and efficient way to get the patient where they need to go safely,” Todor said.
As far as cost effectiveness, Todor said that flying with IAC is far less than other ambulatory services. “For an average trip, say Miami, Atlanta, Nashville, etc., patients are looking at a cost of around $10,000. That is a drop in the bucket compared to being airlifted in a helicopter which easily runs around $35,000 at the very least. Helicopters and lear jets can break a family financially.”
Todor said that many insurance companies cover fixed wing transport services, so check with your provider to see if you are covered. In the event that your insurance provider does not cover air transport, Todor recommends supplemental insurance like AirMed. AirMed network providers will work on your behalf with your benefits provider to secure payment for your flight, with any uncovered amounts considered to be prepaid in full through your AirMed coverage.
Kottsick said when a patient needs to be transported, their insurance company will contact a transport broker who searches for the best fit and closest transporting service. The broker then sets up the flight for the patient. Ground transportation can be included which will allow the patient to be transported directly from the hospital to the airstrip where the patient is loaded directly by the one on one team.
Michelle Sherrod, Chief Flight Nurse, served in Memphis on a fixed wing air ambulance, and realized the need for the service here. “She was pivotal to putting our team together. She took the reins and made this possible,” Todor said.
Todor and Kottsick said that the need for a fixed wing air ambulance in the area was dire, and the newly FAA certified Intensive Air Care Charters will help save the lives of patients all over the Gulf Coast. By offering an affordable, fast, and convenient way to get the best care possible, Intensive Air Care is a welcome addition to the Gulf Coast medical business scene.
For more information on IAC, visit www.intensiveaircare.com or call 251-233-5356.