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Thread: How can I get my dad transported to his home state?

  1. #1

    How can I get my dad transported to his home state?

    On August 29th of this year my parents were involved in a car accident while visiting friends and family in Connecticut. My dad went to ICU at a hospital there. He C1/C2 distraction with spinal cord bleeding. He is unable to move from the neck down. The neurosurgeon found out yesterday, before he was able to do fusion surgery, that my dad's distraction had realigned and begun to heal. He announced that my dad was no longer in need of surgery. My dad had just received a tracheostomy and feeding tube two days prior.

    Today the hospital discharge case worker met with my mom to have my dad moved to a long term nursing home in Connecticut. She refused and stated that she wanted my dad moved to a rehabilitation facility in Georgia since that is where they reside. Ideally we would like my dad in someplace like the Shepherd Center where he could work on being reinstated to the community. I called the S Center and was told a case worker had to make referral. My mom gave the case worker the telephone number and was told she would try.
    I guess the big question is how does transportation get paid for. My dad has Medicare, and very soon Medicaid. Our family just wants to know what avenues to take to get my dad, and mom, back to their home state.

  2. #2
    Ideally the case manager would arrange an air ambulance from ct to ga. However i am not sure if medicare would pick up either some or all of the cost. Since he has a trach that would be the only way he would be allowed to travel by air unless your mom was trained and had a nurse accompany her and him back but with his spinal cord injury as well i see the air ambulance as his only option.
    T6 Incomplete due to a Spinal cord infarction July 2009

  3. #3
    I agree with Smashms above. Also, Shepherd Center should be able to give you information how people get transferred. I agree your father needs rehabilitation and insurance should cover rehab. I wish you the best.


  4. #4
    Here is the 2014 CMS guidelines for ambulance services including air ambulance. See page 6.

    Medicare only covers ambulance service, including air ambulance, to the closest medical facility that can give a patient the appropriate and necessary care. So if there's a SCI unit closer to Connecticut than Shepherd Center, Medicare may only pay what the cost of transportation to that closer SCI facility would have been.

    I wish the best for your family.

  5. #5
    Thank you all so much for your timely response. This is difficult for us, as you can imagine. My mom is disabled and has all her specialists and services in Georgia. She has been foregoing her own medical needs to stay each day at the hospital with my dad. My dad being placed long term at a place in Connecticut would mean that all my mom's stuff (living, medical, etc) would have to be relocated as well. She is against this happening since she has developed a trusting relationship with her medical care providers in Georgia.
    It just seems like insurers should take all of this into consideration.

  6. #6
    Medicare does not consider such issues, and neither does Medicaid. How is he eligible for Conn. Medicaid if not a state resident?? In most states you must be a resident for a minimum of 30 days before being eligible. Medicaid does not pay for transportation at all, and neither does Medicare. How old is your father? Is he by any chance a USA military Veteran?

    I assume with your father's level of injury that he not only has a trach, but is also on a ventilator, is that correct? That would require a critical care level air ambulance. This is going to be quite expensive. You can try to raise money through donations for something like this if you and your parents have enough friends and connections. If so I suggest using this organization to accumulate funds:

    You can also try this organization. There is a chance they may be able to help:


  7. #7
    My dad is 80 years old. He will be 81 in December. He is not a veteran. He is ventilator dependent and would require a critical care ambulance. My dad is not a resident of Connecticut, but has been in ICU since August 29th of this year. I will look at the websites that you suggested. I already looked at the Medicare site; quite depressing.

  8. #8
    KLD with all due respect you are in correct about medicare not covering such expense as it has been said in a previous post and the website was even shown.
    T6 Incomplete due to a Spinal cord infarction July 2009

  9. #9
    My father was injured out of state, like your father. Nightmare, getting him back home, but we did.

    First, absolutely refuse to let him be transferred to a Nursing Home in CT. They cannot force you. If they tell you that Medicare will stop paying for his hospitalization, they are bluffing and hold your ground. Be polite but firm. Keep working with the social worker/case manager at the hospital and gather information on your own about how to transport him by air ambulance to Shepard center. Accept nothing less. I agree with calling Shepard and getting any advice from them as you can. If they don't have a bed available yet, keep calling every day to see if they have a bed yet.

    Do not expect the case manager/social worker at your hospitalwill be that helpful. Their goal is to get your Dad out of their hospital ASAP - not to get him to the best place. It is what it is. Push them, ask them every day for their progress, but do not back down.

    Unfortunately, Medicare will not pay for transportation back. Most likely you will pay out of pocket for the air ambulance and try to get reimbursed later. Just accept that, get on the phone with a few air ambulance places and get some quotes /availability. Some will even subsidize the cost, so always ask.

    We used Res-Q-Jets. 1-877-468-5656. They were great.

    As soon as my Dad was trach'ed and stable off the ventilator, we flew. If your Dad will be on the ventilator, be sure to tell the air ambulance companies that you need that higher level of transport.

    Is there anyone else possibly liable for this accident? If there is even a slight possibility, get a lawyer - ideally a good one experienced with severe personal injury cases like your Dad's who has worked with Medicare. Is their additional coverage through your parents car insurance? Did they buy any travel insurance? Did they pay for an airline ticket with a credit card? Some of the policies and credit cards actually help pay for your trip home so check every one. Also, your insurance plans / credit cards will lie to you and sometimes tell you no when you do have coverage. Request copies of the detailed policies for everything, and have the lawyer look at them. Also, some laws in CT May be different than in their home state, so finding a very good lawyer in CT is important. Also, some life insurance policies pay out early for severe injuries like your Dad's, so that could help money-wise.

    But right now, focus on 3 things. Get Shepard to accept your Dad. Find an air ambulance. And find a lawyer. If you have siblings, ask them to each take a task.

    If money will be an immediate problem getting your Dad home, start reaching out to friends/family now. KLDs links are great.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    East Bay in the San Francisco area
    Quote Originally Posted by Smashms View Post
    KLD with all due respect you are in correct about medicare not covering such expense as it has been said in a previous post and the website was even shown.
    The section from the publication Medicare Coverage of Ambulance Services on Air Ambulance services states:

    Air transportation

    Medicare may pay for emergency ambulance
    transportation in an airplane or helicopter if your
    health condition requires immediate and rapid
    ambulance transportation that ground transportation
    can’t provide, and one of these applies:

    Your pickup location can’t be easily reached by
    ground transportation

    Long distances or other obstacles, like heavy
    traffic, could stop you from getting care quickly
    if you traveled by ground ambulance

    The original poster's father's situation wouldn't seem to qualify for Air Ambulance since he has been in a critical care facility and stabilized since August 29.

    All the best,

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