Frequently Asked Questions

What is Life Flight Network?

Life Flight Network is a medical transport service owned by a consortium of Oregon Health & Science University, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, and Providence Health & Services. Life Flight Network is dedicated to providing the highest level of quality medical transport and aviation services available to communities throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, and to improving patient outcomes by providing helicopter, fixed-wing, and ground ambulance support to seriously ill or injured patients in a safe and timely manner. We bring an ICU to you.

What type of medical personnel does Life Flight Network utilize?

Life Flight Network’s helicopters and fixed wing aircraft are staffed with a transport critical care flight nurse and paramedic or respiratory therapist to provide ICU level care. Neonatal teams utilize specially trained transport neonatal nurses and respiratory therapists. ALS ambulances are staffed with an EMT and paramedic. Life Flight Network works with Legacy Emanuel Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University to provide Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation ECMO transport.

Where are Life Flight Network bases?

Life Flight Network’s bases are strategically placed throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana to provide rapid response to communities we serve. We place many aircraft in remote communities to be closer to patients in rural areas that might otherwise have to wait for aircraft coming from metropolitan areas. For specific base locations, refer to our Service Area page.

What is Life Flight Network’s service area?

EMS helicopters typically operate within a 175-mile radius of its base, but have the capability to fly longer distances. Fixed-wing aircraft can transport throughout North America. If necessary, Life Flight Network can retain the services of a long-range jet to facilitate worldwide transport.

Does Life Flight Network provide ground-based transport?

Life Flight Network provides ground-based transport in some locations such as Portland, Boise, Spokane, and Richland. In other locations, Life Flight Network can send the critical care team or neonatal team with a local ambulance service.

What are Life Flight Network’s operating hours?

24 hours a day, 7 days per week, 365 days per year. Availability is subject to safety considerations, weather, aircraft maintenance, training activities, other patient transports, and other reasonable factors.

Who calls Life Flight Network?

Agencies authorized to call Life Flight Network include law enforcement and rescue agencies, fire departments, ambulance services, hospitals, and other 911 emergency responders. These agencies assess the needs of the patient and determine if transport via an air ambulance is warranted. Members of the general public needing emergency medical care should dial 9-1-1.

What is the Life Flight Network Membership Program?

With a $65 annual membership, Life Flight Network members pay no out-of-pocket expenses for medically necessary emergent flights flown by Life Flight Network or one of our reciprocal flight programs to the closest appropriate facility.  Life Flight Network will accept an insurance payment (if any) as payment in full. Life Flight Network Membership benefits only cover ground ambulance transportation if completed by a Life Flight Network emergency ground ambulance. Life Flight Network Membership covers the member, their spouse or domestic partner, and dependents claimed on income tax returns. Elderly and disabled family members living in the same household can also be covered. Life Flight Network transports patients on the basis of medical need, not membership status.

To become a Life Flight Network member, please visit our Membership page.

Does Life Flight Network reciprocate Membership with other air medical programs?

Yes, Life Flight Network reciprocates with many other flight programs; which means if one of their members is transported by Life Flight Network there are no out of pocket expenses and if our members are transported by their program they receive membership benefits according to that program’s rules. Life Flight Network believes reciprocal agreements among air medical transport programs are in the best interest of all of our members and the communities we serve. A full list of Life Flight Network’s reciprocal partners can be found on our Membership page.

What types of equipment does Life Flight Network carry on board?

Each helicopter and fixed-wing aircraft is equipped with the medical equipment necessary to act as a mobile intensive care unit, with the ability to perform a multitude of highly skilled medical functions during transport, including video laryngoscopes, ICU-level ventilators, and in some instances, blood products and portable blood analyzers for point-of-care testing. Aircraft used for neonatal transports are equipped with incubators and other specialized equipment for the treatment of premature and critically ill infants.

What accreditations does Life Flight Network have?

Life Flight Network is accredited by multiple nationally recognized organizations. These include organizational-wide accreditations by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) and National Accreditation Alliance Medical Transport Applications (NAAMTA), both imposing strict quality and safety standards on medical transport providers. In addition, Life Flight Network has achieved and maintains dual aviation safety accreditation awarded by the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO) and Helicopter Association International (HAI); the first air medical program in the world to achieve dual accreditation.

What is the cost of Life Flight Network’s Air Medical Transport?

The fees charged by Life Flight Network for air transport begin at $19,993 and can exceed $100,000 for international transports. The cost for a transport is determined by many factors including distance traveled and the care provided during transport. The fees directly reflect the quality of our program through our investment in safety, the training and expertise of its mechanics, pilots, intensive care nurses, paramedics, respiratory therapists and EMTs, the aircraft and ground units employed, and the sophistication of the medical equipment and supplies on its aircraft and ground units.

We carry blood products on our aircraft, an expensive and life-saving resource not routinely carried at most air medical programs and carried on ground ambulances. Life Flight Network employs a full time dedicated medical director, in addition to associate medical directors to oversee the high level of quality medical care provided. Our associate medical directors provide expertise in Neonatology, Pediatric Critical Care, High-Risk Obstetrics, Traumatology, Cardiology, Pulmonology, Adult Critical Care, and of course Emergency Medicine. In addition to a vast array of expertise not found in any other flight program in the Northwest, we employ other professionals similarly not found within the Northwest. For example, Life Flight Network has an in-house Flight Operations Quality Assurance Manager, an Aviation Operational Control Center separate from our Communications Center, a full-time dedicated expert in safety and risk management and many others.

Life Flight Network does not financially screen patients prior to providing emergent transport. When we transport a patient under medically necessary and emergent conditions we have no idea if we’ll be paid at all. Healthcare in general is expensive. Add in the cost of aviation services and you have two service lines that are the most regulated, most expensive in our country.

What types of financial assistance does Life Flight Network offer?

Life Flight Network has a generous charitable program that can forgive up to 100% of the out of pocket expenses for transport to those who qualify, after review of a completed application.  Payment plans and prompt pay discounts are also offered.  Life Flight Network has a robust membership program that covers out-of-pocket expenses for medically necessary and emergent transports by Life Flight Network.

Is Life Flight Network a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization?

No. Oftentimes people confuse not-for-profit with tax exempt. While they sometimes go together they are not the same thing. Life Flight Network Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization (Life Flight Network Foundation), Life Flight Network, LLC is an Oregon limited liability company, which operates its transport program on a not-for-profit basis. It is accurate to refer to Life Flight Network as a not-for-profit program because of the nature of its ownership and structure.

There are no private shareholders or owners in Life Flight Network. Unlike for-profit companies with private shareholders, no individual owners or for-profit corporations receive a share of any profits generated by Life Flight Network. Life Flight Network’s mission is to promote the health, welfare, and wellness of the communities it serves and to further the charitable, religious, scientific and educational purposes of its member organizations.

The owners of Life Flight Network (Oregon Health & Science University, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, and Providence Health & Services) are all non-profit, tax-exempt entities. As an Oregon limited liability company, Life Flight Network is a “pass-through entity” for purposes of state and federal taxation. Any profits generated by the program are reinvested in the program’s equipment and staff, or passed through to its non-profit owner.  Life Flight Network is exempt from real and personal property taxes in Oregon.

 

If you have further questions, please contact us at (503) 678-4364 or e-mail us at info@lifeflight.org
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