Air ambulance accreditation update

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Latest from the air ambulance accreditation bodies

ITIJ spoke to representatives from EURAMI, CAMTS and NAAMTA to find out their latest news

CAMTS and CAMTS Global

Eileen Frazer, Executive Director of the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) provides an update on the goals of the organisation for the new decade, and celebrates recent achievements

CAMTS celebrates 30 years of accrediting medical transport services in 2020. We continue to revise standards and policies to remain current and relevant. We are now on the 11th Edition CAMTS Accreditation Standards and we have expanded our services from air and ground transport to medical escort and special operations accreditations, as well as internationally through CAMTS Global. 

Industry recognition 
Standards are the foundation for any accreditation, and CAMTS is accredited as a Standards Developer by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). ANSI accreditation provides assurance that standards, goods, and services meet essential requirements throughout the global supply chain – engendering consumer trust and fostering competitiveness. 

Eileen Frazer
Eileen Frazer

CAMTS Global standards are international standards that are focused on services outside of North America and differ from CAMTS by recognising other aviation regulators and differences in business practices and medical training. The policies and procedures are similar to CAMTS policies, with the same mission to improve transport safety and patient care. The Board of Directors is also composed of member organisations that send expert medical transport representatives from Europe and Asia.  

In January 2020, CAMTS accredited the first Special Operations – Medical Retrieval service. Air Center Helicopters, headquartered in Burleson, Texas, was awarded Full Accreditation for Special Operations – Medical Retrieval, and in doing so, became the first service to achieve this accreditation.
The Accreditation Standards for Special Operations – Medical Retrieval were developed in 2019 by a team that included managers and ex-military paramedics trained in tactical rescue and medical evacuation procedures. The standards were specifically developed and approved in 2019 for services that provide search and rescue and citizen recovery operations that are often contracted by the government to assist military and paramilitary operations in remote parts of the world. 

There are 65 current site surveyors from the US, Canada, Europe and Asia who attend initial training and ongoing updates online from CAMTS’ Quality Management Associate Director. Site surveyors vary in their backgrounds and experience, which provides the flexibility to schedule the right team at the right time and place. 
Today there are 165 medical transport services accredited by CAMTS and CAMTS Global. This number includes: 1,195 bases, 849 helicopters, 267 airplanes, and 625 ambulances in the US, Canada, Europe and Thailand.  
CAMTS and CAMTS Global Board of Directors will hold its annual meeting as guests of Leonardo in July 2020 in Milan, Italy. 


Roylen Griffin and Amy Arndt of the National Accreditation Alliance for Medical Transport Applications (NAAMTA) look back at 2019’s accomplishments and predict what the next year holds

NAAMTA global medical transport and medical escort accreditation grew significantly in 2019, and rolling into 2020, we see a continuing trend in our customer base and recognition from insurance and assistance companies requesting accredited operators. NAAMTA Global’s focus is on high-quality patient care, integrated safety and risk management systems for the patient, patient family members, the service provider, and their employees. We accomplish this through our ongoing quality management and continuous improvement processes. 
Our ISO 9001:2015 certified accreditation processes are complemented by our ISO registrar each year for quality and consistency. To our customers, this equates to consistency, continuity, and comprehensive analysis of their programme for accreditation. Keeping in mind that our auditors are employees who are audited by the ISO registrar; we can relate to both sides of the auditing process. 

Roylen Griffin
Roylen Griffin

In 2019, we opened our international office in Malta, from which our sales team has done an outstanding job reaching new accounts throughout the world. Our diverse customers range from commercial medical escort providers to prehospital trauma programmes that may be comprised of community-based or hospital-based programmes, throughout the globe. Additionally, our government and military service providers have been accredited for four or more years. 

Outstanding customer satisfaction
At the completion of NAAMTA’s accreditation processes, programs provide an assessment of each of the completed phases. This evaluation helps NAAMTA in its goals for improvement, but also helps customers to recognise their return on the investment of accreditation. 
Accreditation demonstrates to customers that they successfully meet the requirements of international accreditation standards. Our customer survey includes the ability to select the expectations for pursuing accreditation. The following includes the top rankings: 
Quality Improvement – 100 per cent. 
Industry Recognition – 60 per cent.
Customer Expectation – 60 per cent.
Build Industry Alliance – 40 per cent.

Continuous commitment
NAAMTA Global continues to provide outstanding customer service and tools to assist in its operations and accreditation compliance. In 2019, the following online forms were made available as a template. These forms can be used as-is or customised to meet customer needs at an administrative cost. 
Quality Management Meeting Template
Safety Management Meeting Template
Utilization Management Meeting Template
Flight Risk Assessment Tool (FRAT) Form
Internal Operations Report
Medical Skills Tracking
Training and Certification Tracking.

Continuous compliance
NAAMTA Global Alliance Members participate in the Continuous Commitment Program. Each accredited programme provides quarterly reporting which identifies continuous compliance with accreditation criteria. Patients, family members, hospitals, clinics, insurers, assistance programmes and more correlate confidence in services that demonstrate this ongoing measurement of excellence. 
Pursuits of safety 
The NAAMTA Global Safety Initiative was launched in 2019, for which we partnered with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). It is a programme to raise awareness of daily safety practices is in the project scoping and pre-development phases. In 2020, the Safety Initiative is rolling out worldwide with NAAMTA Alliance members contributing to evolving safety practices throughout the medical transport industry. 

2019 successes
Our end of the year QMS meeting is when we look back to assess our yearly goals and establish goals for the new year.  We accredited 14 customers with 79 bases in 2019. We are currently working with 14 programmes for 2020 and have additional customers who will be renewing their accreditation later in the year. 
We are excited about the synergy in the medical transport industry. The pursuit of accreditation for quality improvement, industry recognition, meeting customer expectations and building an industry alliance aligns with our initial desire of providing a service to our customers who are diligent in serving their patients.


By Claudia Schmiedhuber

Last year was a year of change and development for the EURAMI. Early in the year, the association, along with the EURAMI Global GmbH, moved their offices to a central co-working space in Cologne, Germany, to further support the strategy of a lean administrational organisation. As usual, the Board, auditors and office had a busy year, conducting and approving 18 re-accreditations, four primary accreditations, three additional accreditation categories and nine additional bases. In order to support the growth and increasing demand for EURAMI accreditation, the first EURAMI Auditor Training for current and new auditors was held in Germany, with a total of 13 physicians participating. The theoretical course was followed up by practical audit observation and approval by the Board. EURAMI is delighted to say that four new auditors started work in 2019, with several more scheduled to complete their practical training in 2020. This will allow EURAMI to further increase its geographical reach and optimise audit planning and timing for its members.  
At the General Assembly, Dr Cai Glushak and the Board recognised the longstanding dedication of Dr Terry Martin who completed his service as Chief Auditor. For his efforts at overseeing the audit process, the advancement of standards and, most recently, the auditor training, the members honoured him with life membership in the organisation. Terry continues as an auditor and advisor to EURAMI.

Claudia Schmiedhuber
Claudia Schmiedhuber

EURAMI’s Board and Managing Director attended multiple conferences throughout the year and met with many existing and new members during ITIC Global in Malta, where the general assembly was also held successfully and with great participation from members. During the annual meeting, the development and strategy of the accreditation organisation was discussed, and EURAMI was delighted to welcome Dr Mike Braida as Chief Auditor. 

Future plans
As we start in a new decade, EURAMI is preparing for another busy year ahead. The website is being relaunched in order to further promote its members and mission with a new and optimised look. A focus for 2020 will be the work on new standards for Fixed Wing Air Ambulance, Rotary Wing Air Ambulance and Commercial Airline Medical Escort sectors, which will be developed by designated committees led by the newly named Head of Standards Committee, Dr Simon Forrington. EURAMI is focused on further increasing its global presence by attending multiple international conferences and events. It is important to Dr Glushak and the Board to raise awareness about the importance of accreditation and using high-quality providers. EURAMI has witnessed increased traction in this area, as evidenced by being cited as an inclusion criterion for a major global RFP and being approached for its endorsement of related aeromedical products. EURAMI will continue to work closely with members of the assistance and insurance industry, as well as government and regulatory bodies, to further educate the sectors who depend on aeromedical services. 
With many exciting projects in the pipeline, the EURAMI office and Board is looking forward to an exciting and productive new decade!