A medical emergency on board a business jet at altitude–and how it is dealt with–presents a defining moment for any flight department. Yet not all are well-prepared, according to emergency planning specialist FrontierMedex,hich gave a briefing here at NBAA yesterday.
Those that have dealt with medical emergencies tend to be the ones who subscribe to services such as FrontierMedex’s newest offering, AirAssist Services (Booth No. C9918). “I am still surprised that there are a fair amount of Part 91 operators that have no coverage in this realm,” said Charlie LeBlanc, vice president security services at FrontierMedex, who introduced the company’s AirAssist product. “I think that we have [a] tremendous value to cost [ratio] for this type of service,” he said. “And those who have had an emergency know it.”
AirAssist’s central feature is its in-flight emergency medical consultation service, provided by the emergency physicians of the University of Pittsburgh’s Stat-MD program. AirAssist provides both the crew training and on board medical kit and communication to enable Stat-MD to function. It also directs the crew as to where to land based on both proximity and the needs of the patient for specialized care. Sometimes the closest hospital is not the best choice.
“Stat-MD has been providing Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines with emergency inflight medical assistance for five years, but we are their only business aviation client,” said LeBlanc. “We found them about 18 months ago and began to conceptualize how we could provide the AirAssist product,” he continued. What is unique about the product is that AirAssist provides not just inflight emergency training, support and direction, but also pre-flight passenger health assessments, helping the crew know ahead of time if their passengers have serious health issues that should be monitored.
FrontierMedEx’s AirAssist product is more than just another medical assist subscription program for business aviation, the company claims. FrontierMedex grew out of Air Security International/ASI Group. This group was purchased by Medex Global Solutions in 2008, rebranded in 2011 and has been owned by UnitedHealthcare since 2012, according to LeBlanc, who has been with the company since 1993. “UHC provides expatriate insurance that includes a medical-assist program and political security and evacuation service. Beyond that, our roots are in security, so it is natural that we would provide a security component that no other medical-assist program has to our newest product,” he said.
AirAssist subscribers have access to the company’s FliteBriefs and trip-monitoring products, which provide tailored airport security issues and travel tracking, along with online intelligence tools, secure ground transportation with pre-screening of drivers and vehicles and even aircraft guarding. LeBlanc said that four Part 91 operators have already signed up for the program.