Travel Assistance Programs
There are numerous assistance options for families with financial need for both air travel and accommodation:
Air Transportation Options for Patients
Mercy Medical Angels (MMA), a non-profit organization with 25 years of medical air transportation experience, manages programs and services available to patients with both common and rare diseases. Several of the resources are mentioned in this in this article. All are free services to patients.
Air Charity Network serves all 50 states and its volunteer pilots utilize their own aircraft, fuel and time to provide free air transportation to medical facilities for citizens who are financially distressed or otherwise unable to travel on public transportation. Air Charity Network members also coordinate flights to fly organ transplant candidates, people involved in clinical trials, chemotherapy or other repetitive treatment, victims of abuse seeking relocation, families receiving help from Ronald McDonald Houses, Shriners Hospitals and many other charities, disabled or sick children to special summer camp programs, and for many other humanitarian reasons.
For patients who need medical care en route, call Air Compassion America (ACAM) 1-866-270-9198. ACAM representatives locate and coordinate bed-to-bed air ambulance services with the overall goal of lowering costs. In the past year, ACAM has negotiated discounts with air ambulance companies and saved patients and their families between 30-40 percent.
For patients who live within 1000 miles of their destination, Angel Flight’s volunteer pilots fly children and adult patients to distant research and treatment centers throughout the United States. Pilots donate their time and the use of their planes in offering patients this free service for those who qualify. Angel Flight is a member of Air Charity Network (formerly Angel Flight America). CAN represents volunteer pilot associations across the country.
The National Patient Travel Center exists to facilitate patient access to appropriate charitable medical air transportation resources in the United States. The NPTC also exists to develop, administer and consolidate airline patient ticket programs and to operate various Special-Lift and Child-Lift programs on behalf of special disease organizations and/or clinical research centers in the United States.
The Northwest Airlines KidCares medical travel program provides air travel to children age 18 and younger who are unable to receive treatment in their home area. The KidCares program is fueled by generous mileage donations of Northwest’s WorldPerks members, which are then matched by Northwest. Availability of the program is based on that donated WorldPerks mileage, and consideration of each request is based on the following guidelines. Each application received must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis; not all requests are fulfilled.
Based on availability, Midwest Airlines is able to provide complimentary transportation to patients and a companion when medical treatment is only available outside of their hometown through their Miracle Miles Program. For more information, contact B.J. Dreifke at (414) 570-4118 or by e-mail.
Lodging Options for Patients
The National Association of Hospital Hospitality Houses provides a directory of lodgings for families of hospital patients and/or hospital outpatients. (800) 542-9730.
Ronald McDonald House offers very-low-cost lodging to families, but must be booked through the hospital or through CARES Foundation at least 6 months in advance.