On January 3rd, 2017, 27 year old husband and father Cory Whalen was involved in a car accident that will forever alter his life. After suffering a closed head injury resulting in a minimally conscious state, Cory required specialized rehabilitation to give him the best chances of recovery. Unfortunately, Cory’s insurance denied to cover the costs of an air ambulance transport to get him to Shepherd Center, one of the best specialized rehabilitation centers in the country. This left the family with very few options, so they reached out to Charity Air Ambulance for help.
Charity Air Ambulance was founded to fund long distance air ambulance transfers for patients with or without insurance. Due to the high costs of these transports, we have found this area of our healthcare system to be a very difficult undertaking, especially with so many insurance companies denying this need to patients and expecting families to pay thousands in out of pocket expenses. We have found that 90% of the time, insurance companies will deny air ambulance transports due to the high costs and without regard for medical necessity. At Charity Air Ambulance, we base medical necessity on our own guidelines – not the guidelines of insurance companies.
If we deem a transport request to be medically necessary, we then look at our funds. We get our funding in two ways: private funding from our founder and funding from our partner’s successful attempts to get reimbursement from insurance. Every time our partner is successful in receiving reimbursement for a flight we have funded, that money goes into our charity pool and over time as this pool grows, we will be able to accept more patients in need.
Even if the insurance company has approved an air ambulance transfer, we are still there to help. Most air ambulance companies require the family to pay a hefty out of pocket deposit and we will be there to cover that, giving the family one less thing to worry about. This way, the company that was recommended by he hospital or physician can still complete the flight, making the process as smooth as possible for the patient and family.
4 days after reaching out to Charity Air Ambulance, Cory was on his way to Shepherd Center with his wife by his side and his family on the way to be with and support him. Cory is now receiving the best possible care and is making improvements every day. Now that we have taken over the battle with the insurance company, Cory and his family can now focus on what is truly important – Cory’s recovery.