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Classic Answer Man: Who pays the bill if Mayo One flight is canceled?

March 11, 2019

This Classic Answer Man was first published on Sept. 9, 2016

Hi, Whiz! Hope you’re resting your convoluted cranium of crammed compilations. Anywho, I’m wondering why it seems that Mayo One appears at a lot of accidents or incidents that don’t seem to merit its response. Does law enforcement still have to request it? Who pays for the flight when it’s not needed? — Early Morning Mark

Nobody gets up earlier in the morning than I do, Mark. I attribute much of my extreme intelligence, if not my good looks, to being an early-riser.

These are interesting questions and I took them to Glenn Lyden, the public affairs maestro for Mayo Clinic Medical Transport. First responders and law enforcement personnel make the call for a Mayo chopper, with an assist from a program called Autolaunch, “which is based on certain injury, medical and crash information and guidelines.”

Mayo provides training on “when it’s advisable to call for Mayo One,” he said by email. Early activation is “critical to outcomes … for those patients who need Mayo One care, it is having a significant impact on morbidity and mortality.”

If Mayo One is called in and a decision is made to cancel, even after arrival, “there is no charge to the patient for the flight,” he said. Mayo picks up the tab.

In 2015, Mayo One teams completed about 27 percent of Autolaunch activations, Glenn said, with the rest being canceled due to “changing patient medical conditions” and other factors. About a quarter of Mayo One activations were canceled even before the aircraft left the helipad.