Classic Air Medical

Havalina

Escalante-Class Member
Utah couple gets hit with sky-high surprise air ambulance bill


I just saw this on KSL. We have talked several times about how remote and dangerous lake Powell can be. So, hopefully you have your sat phone or Garmin in reach. Don’t forget about the life flight. The $90,000 price tag out of Page prompted this post. I used to use classic air medical, but they have discontinued memberships. Congress passed The No Surprises Act back during the pandemic. So, once you have paid your deductible you should be covered. Just know what your coverage is, so you don’t get any nasty surprised. Hopefully you never need it.
 

Squirrel

Escalante-Class Member
10 years ago my fishin’ partner David had a mild heart attack at Stanton while camped there. Did the aspirin trick under the tongue and he felt better but knew what we had to do. Bring the RV up to the highway, went back down to bring the boat to the ramp, David met me at the ramp to pull the boat then went directly to the BF medical center. David got flown out to GJ from BF ($35000.00) then ambulance to St. Marys, 4 miles ($5000.00). A couple stints later, luckily he had very good insurance and it was all covered. All is well. Sq
 

David A Dexter

Active Member
A similar experience happened to a person in my group at our houseboat in May of 2020, On our first afternoon out in Rock Creek, we were catching multiple species in a slot canyon in my 18 foot Ranger. My friend thought that my raised big motor was getting too close to the canyon wall so he decided to put his foot on the wall and push the boat away. What happens when you do that? the boat goes out from underneath you, and he fell out of the boat hitting the canyon wall with his shoulder. I was busy in the front operating the boat and catching fish, but I heard the splash; I thought that he had jumped in the water to cool off until I heard his cries for help. He was floundering in the water without his PFD which he had taken off. Only one shoulder worked; the other was dislocated and. although we didn't know it at the time, he had also torn his rotator cuff. I kicked the ladder down and managed to grab his hand and pull him to the ladder, but at 275 pounds, I could not drag him into the boat...he was like a dead weight. After struggling for 15 minutes, together we finally got him into the boat and I made it back to the houseboat. we called for help on my Garmin Inreach 660i sat device and the NPS arrived within 20 minutes with paramedics who gave him meds, which he supplemented with Jack Daniels, howling in pain the whole time. The wind had come up significantly and he faced a 50 mile boat ride back to Page, which did not seem to be a good plan. I'm a healthcare CEO and I knew that Page Hospital did have orthopedic surgery capabilities, so we made the decision to call for life flight. They arrived out of St. George in about 60 minutes, landing on the bank near the houseboat. They administered meds and stressed that it would be very expensive (they estimated $40k) to fly him to St. George and much more to Provo. I made a different call; the distance from where we were was the same to Flagstaff as it was to St. George, and my friend lives in Arizona. They finally agreed to fly him to Flagstaff, where he underwent surgery for his injuries a couple of hours later. The bill was $78k and the same insurer, Cigna, negotiated it down to $58k and paid it in full. There are several key learnings from this experience. Bring a satellite device; it can save a life. Never assume that a passenger in your boat isn't going to do something stupid. It's always best to keep a PFD on even if you're just fishing, but I don't make that a requirement. It is a requirement when the boat is under speed; no exceptions. That said, the charges by the Life Flight companies are beyond outrageous, and to balance bill the patient after insurance paid way more that a reasonable amount just isn't right.
 

Trix

Escalante-Class Member
FWIW.
I belong to a horse group. We have an annual week long ride in the low mountains east of Kirkland Junction. With about 120 guys on horseback with various riding skills, airlifts are rehearsed and used for emergencies occasionally. A medical evac company offers insurance for no cost helicopter transportation. Neither I or our group has any affiliation with the company.
For this past spring ride the cost for annual coverage for a family was $45 after a $15 coupon code of AZ911. I don't know know if this was a special rate for our group. PHI Air Medical. Www.PHIcares.com. Their online brochure advertises national coverage.
 

PBH

Well-Known Member
My wife had an injury to her leg while hiking in the Canadian Rockies (Banff). I don't know what concerned me more: getting her out of the backcountry safely vs. the cost of the helicopter to get her out.

To our surprise, there was no charge for the helicopter evac. Those costs are included in the entrance fee to the park. The only bill we had was the medical bill at the hospital (Mineral Springs Hospital, Banff, Alberta, CA). $675 to the hospital, and $485 to the doctor.

I'm glad we were in Canada!
 

BobT

Active Member
It has worked well for when I have forgotten contraband and was able to text you from the lake before you got there…
Looking at Garmin inReach SE and Explorer. Se just doesn't have the maps. Only waypoints as I understand it. Don't need the mini, just for boating and maybe international travel. Any thoughts?
 

TR.

Escalante-Class Member
I have had one for years and use it frequently With a yearly subscription. The only thing I need it for is texting with no cell service and for me the big benefit is being able to attach it to my cell phone so I can text a lot more easily. For me, staying out on the lake multiple weeks at a time and coordinating incoming friends it is invaluable, as is being able to text out for help if I am deep in the Everglades, although none of my friends will probably come get me lol. if you are looking at it for the 911 response side of it you should look at inreach vs spot vs zoleo and decide which fits your need best. As an aside, their are a number of folks on here that do have these and use them to communicate with each other on the lake. Sorry, sidetracked air medical response.
 

mulehound

New Member
I am not a technical person in any way. A friend of mine was saying the other day that the Tesla phone was going to change the game. Said it would work everywhere. Not sure how. If so I would ditch my inreach.
Darrel
 

BobT

Active Member
I have had one for years and use it frequently With a yearly subscription. The only thing I need it for is texting with no cell service and for me the big benefit is being able to attach it to my cell phone so I can text a lot more easily. For me, staying out on the lake multiple weeks at a time and coordinating incoming friends it is invaluable, as is being able to text out for help if I am deep in the Everglades, although none of my friends will probably come get me lol. if you are looking at it for the 911 response side of it you should look at inreach vs spot vs zoleo and decide which fits your need best. As an aside, their are a number of folks on here that do have these and use them to communicate with each other on the lake. Sorry, sidetracked air medical response.
Thanks. Had decided on the in reach expedition but its discontinued. The new version is $150 more, of course. Montana and 66i. One of these will make my wife feel better my little jaunts.
 

David A Dexter

Active Member
I have the 66i with the mapping, but you can really get by with the Garmin Inreach Mini combined with their app on your smartphone. Using any of the Garmin units with their texting functions is laborious and tenuous at best, but with the app it's just like regular texting; no issues whatsoever. On Lake Powell, the Garmin units are a genuinely a life saver. If you are a Lake Powell regular, and you haven't had a major emergency issue, well, thank your lucky stars but, trust me, you're living on borrowed time. You absolutely need one of these Garmin devices. I have personally experienced what Lake Powell can dish out many times and, in our family, we call them near death experiences.
 

Ed_on_WD

Well-Known Member
If a regular cell phone could reach satellites, we wouldn't need specialized sat phones. Wifi calling has a VERY limited range. My Samsung quits trying to use wifi calling and switches to the LTE system if I'm more than 100 feet away from my router.

Devices like the Garmin can send shorts texts, but they don't have the satellite coverage that Star Link has, so sometimes it takes a while to line up with a compatible satellite to complete the transmission.

A Tesla phone would operate on the Star Link system. Elon has plans to eventually orbit 42,000 individual satellites. That would allow overlapping coverage and the bandwidth to conduct normal 2 way voice conversations, not just texts. Star Link satellites operate on different frequencies than cell phones, so new equipment will be required.
 

Rainbowbridge

Escalante-Class Member
Bring a satellite device; it can save a life. Never assume that a passenger in your boat isn't going to do something stupid.
Thanks for that great post, and the reminder: "Never assume that a passenger in your boat isn't going to do something stupid. Folks these days are just so naive about the wilderness, and seem to live in a Disneyland mentality.

Before every houseboat trip we'd have a 'talk' with the newbies about staying safe and not ruining their (and our) vacation....but that didn't stop someone from thinking they could stop the houseboat from hitting the dock at Dangling Rope....fortunately nothing serious....

My fav was when a newbie asked if she could pet the snakes......couldn't help it, I replied....sure, until they rattle....:)

(we straightened her out)
 

BobT

Active Member
I have the 66i with the mapping, but you can really get by with the Garmin Inreach Mini combined with their app on your smartphone. Using any of the Garmin units with their texting functions is laborious and tenuous at best, but with the app it's just like regular texting; no issues whatsoever. On Lake Powell, the Garmin units are a genuinely a life saver. If you are a Lake Powell regular, and you haven't had a major emergency issue, well, thank your lucky stars but, trust me, you're living on borrowed time. You absolutely need one of these Garmin devices. I have personally experienced what Lake Powell can dish out many times and, in our family, we call them near death experiences.
Don't really need the mini. Might as well get size with features. Looking at the Montana series as well as the 66i. About $100 more. But would work with rental cars overseas and save that $20-$30 per day of rental. I want to get out and check them out at cabellas but I've got the damn covid!!!! Does the 66i link to your phone/the app via bluetooth? Haven't had an emergency issue in hundreds of trips to Powell and Colorado River in general that I couldn't handle. But that changes in the late 60's doesn't it?
 

drewsxmi

Escalante-Class Member
Thanks for that great post, and the reminder: "Never assume that a passenger in your boat isn't going to do something stupid. Folks these days are just so naive about the wilderness, and seem to live in a Disneyland mentality.

Before every houseboat trip we'd have a 'talk' with the newbies about staying safe and not ruining their (and our) vacation....but that didn't stop someone from thinking they could stop the houseboat from hitting the dock at Dangling Rope....fortunately nothing serious....

My fav was when a newbie asked if she could pet the snakes......couldn't help it, I replied....sure, until they rattle....:)

(we straightened her out)
My standard speech is that no part of your body is worth risking to prevent damage to the boat. Never let any part of your body get between the boat and another object. Worst injury so far was a passenger slipping on the mud hidden under a thin layer of sand and tweaking her knee. Thinking back though, if she had twisted it badly enough to not be able to put weight on it, it could have been a pretty serious situation, even just 50 feet from the boat.
 
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