camts blog

Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems

Tag: transport

CAMTS Open Letter to Accredited Services:

3/24/2020

We are receiving many calls and emails about our official position on transporting patients with suspected or diagnosed coronavirus.  First, it is NOT our position to dictate whether a patient with suspected or known coronavirus should be transported.  Medical transport is an important part of healthcare and transport is the conduit to get the patient to the most appropriate and definitive care.

Programs have unique opportunities to address the challenges of transporting patients while keeping staff healthy and able to function with diminishing resources and greater needs.

As accredited services, there may be times when you just cannot meet the Standards. Many professionals on the CAMTS Board of Directors are themselves involved in the same situations and realize these are extraordinary times. We will not penalize programs who need to make temporary changes to continue to provide a service. As best you can, continue to meet standards, especially as they pertain to quality and safety, but do what is right for your patients. As Winston Churchill once said: “It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what is required.” 

Over the past week, we sent out several blogs with ideas from various accredited services and helpful tips for pilots and mechanics.  If you have developed innovative  practices that have been effective and want to share – please pass them along and I will post them on our website.  We need to help each other and stay connected during these unpredictable times. 

Eileen Frazer, Executive Director

Info on Transport of Patients w/ COVID19

March 16, 2020

In these uncertain times, we wanted to get some information out regarding transport of patients who are diagnosed with coronavirus. There are many variables that could affect your decision whether to transport or not but here are some thoughts from our Board members who are actively involved in Rotorwing, Fixed Wing and Ground transport.

Response from Mike Brunko, MD, Flight for Life Medical Director (CAMTS Board Member)

Many programs, including mine, have halted transport of patients diagnosed with coronavirus by rotor, primarily because of inability to control and to be able to protect crew and pilots from patient contact (especially in helicopters where it is not possible to  physically separate the infected patient from the pilot) and/or the inability to get adequate N95 fitting with helmets. In our case, we have the added pressure of flying above 12000 feet, with oxygen on. It is difficult to decontaminate a helicopter as opposed to an airplane or ambulance and the air flow is not as easy to control. Right now, many busy academic programs are not transporting by rotor, but are by fixed wing or ground. Some are only doing intubated patients where we can control the filtration of inhalation and exhalation and lessen/prevent the aerosol exposure.

The AMPA Board Is actively discussing the literature, experience and their institutions’ recommendations. Most programs’ crews were fitted and tested for PAPR and N95s without helmets and likely didn’t consider the importance of separate testing (a standard we will need to address in the future). Today, I feel, ground and FW should be used and rotor CONSIDERED only for time sensitive critical ARDS patients where ECMO or ventilation strategies are necessary. This truly is a dynamic situation which may change tomorrow.

Webinar from Ashley Smith – NATA representative

Specific to fixed wing transports – please see the link on the www.camts.org website to the NATA webinar that our board member, Ashley Smith, made available last week.