HELICOPTER AMBULANCE COMPANIES WILL TAKE YOU FOR A RIDE
Posted By Meyerkord & Meyerkord, LLC
Owning an emergency helicopter company must be a great investment. My
personal injury law firm
represents several people each year who took emergency helicopter rides.
One such client was a young boy whose finger was crushed in a door. I
can recall several helicopter transfers related to car crashes. Yet another
was a gentleman suffering from undiagnosed meningitis who was flown from
a small rural hospital to a larger university hospital. I have an open
case in which a teenage girl fell and fractured her hip. Other than the
meningitis case, all of the cases I can recall related to an orthopedic
injury. Though the circumstances are different, one thing every flight
I have seen has in common is the size of the bill from the helicopter
company – always tens of thousands of dollars.
The EMS flights cost about what an average person spends on a car. A flight
which takes just a few minutes costs as much as a car which will be driven
for years. Of course, if the helicopter is saving a life, who cares about
the cost, right? Who in their right mind is going to complain after a
successful transfer of an emergent patient from an injury site to a hospital?
The answer is nobody will complain. Who would dare Monday-morning quarterback
the decision made during an emergency to render life-saving expediency
in the transfer of a patient deemed to be in danger of dying?
The second near death experience for the patient comes several weeks later
when the invoice for the helicopter service arrives and it's in the
neighborhood of $40,000-$80,000. Let's celebrate the wisdom of the
ownership groups that hold the equity stake in these companies. What are
the risks involved? Find some financing to acquire a helicopter and trained
crew. Get your permits together and strike your deals with the hospitals
in a several hundred mile radius and sit back and wait for the inevitable.
The inevitable will always happen - carelessness of human activity will
cause serious injury such that a helicopter will be needed for quick transport
of the sick and injured.
How can you lose? There aren't many helicopters out there so your
competition is sparse. Also, nobody wants to second-guess first responders,
and that's what these businessman really are – they’re
first responders. If the people in the field think the injury is worthy
of a helicopter ride who would dare criticize their decisions? So what
if the bill is $40,000-$80,000? Won’t insurance cover that?
There so many different health insurance coverages these days it's
almost a guarantee that a meaningful amount of the bill will be paid by
a health insurance provider. Even if health insurance pays the helicopter
company twenty cents on the dollar (though many pay more), a $40,000 bill
will result in an $8000 payment for a 30-minute helicopter ride. In Vegas,
you can take a 30-minute helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon for a few
hundred dollars. If the EMS helicopter can manage two or three rides a
week (more in urban areas) the company should run $16-$24,000 a week.
A helicopter and crew can't cost that much - so there's plenty
a room for profit. That is one heck of a ride.