Frequently Asked Questions

Who Is CAMTS?

CAMTS is an organization of non-profit organizations dedicated to improving the quality and safety of medical transport services, with 20 current member organizations each of which sends one representative to the CAMTS Board of Directors.

The Commission offers a program of voluntary evaluation of compliance with accreditation standards demonstrating the ability to deliver service of a specific quality.

The Commission believes that the two highest priorities of an air medical or ground inter-facility transport service are patient care and safety of the transport environment.

Originally developed through an extensive public comment process and published in 1991, revised every 2-3 years, the Accreditation Standards address issues of patient care and safety in fixed and rotary wing services as well as ground inter-facility services providing critical care transports. Each standard is supported by measurable criteria to measure a program’s level of quality.

Accreditation Standards are periodically revised to reflect the dynamic, changing environment of medical transport with considerable input from all disciplines of the medical profession and serve as a marker of excellence for federal, state, and local governmental agencies, as well as private agencies and to the general public.

In order to obtain accreditation, a medical transport service must be in substantial compliance with the Accreditation Standards

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a voluntary process through which a medical transport service (rotor wing, fixed wing, ground critical care, ground ALS/BLS, or commercial medical escort) is certified by the Commission as substantially meeting accreditation standards.

Site Surveyors collect and verify information when they visit a program. This information is reported to the Board of Directors. Accreditation decisions are the responsibility of the Board of Directors, not the site surveyors.

What are the Accreditation Standards?

Originally developed through an extensive public comment process and published in 1991, revised every 2-3 years, the Accreditation Standards address issues of patient care and safety in fixed and rotorwing services as well as ground critical care, ALS/BLS and Medical Escort Services. Each standard is supported by measurable criteria. Accreditation Standards are periodically revised to reflect the dynamic, changing environment of medical transport with considerable input from all disciplines of the medical profession.

Accreditation Standards are the criteria used to measure a program’s level of quality. In order to obtain accreditation, a medical transport service must be in substantial compliance with the Accreditation Standards.

Substantial compliance is defined as follows:

“A medical transport system demonstrates overall quality of service consistent with the essential elements of Accreditation Standards and the professional judgement of the Board. The service demonstrates a steady balance in all dynamic components which comprise their specific program.”

How does a service apply for accreditation?

Complete the Application for Accreditation.

Pay the $750.00 non-refundable application fee. If you need an invoice for the $750 please email shelley.dixon@camts.org.

Once the application has been completed and we have received the application fee in the office, CAMTS will email a Program Information Form (PIF). This is a tool that directly relates to compliance with each of the accreditation standards. The PIF can be ordered separately if you are not applying for accreditation here.

Complete the PIF and return with requested documents and the accreditation fee. The instructions for submitting are included with the PIF.

A service has up to one year to complete the PIF after applying.

The site visit is usually scheduled within 4-6 weeks of receiving the PIF.

Site surveyors report is sent to two board reviewers who present to the full Board of Directors at the next quarterly meeting. A site visit must be at least 4 – 6 weeks prior to a board meeting in order to be placed on the agenda.

Accreditation decision is received by the service via certified mail within 30 working days of the board meeting.

May I purchase a PIF but not apply for accreditation?

Yes, you can purchase a PIF for $100.00 if you would like to use it as a self-study document or if you are curious about what is audited during a site visit. Programs that request an initial application receive the PIF as part of the $750.00 application fee. Order PIF Online Here

What does it cost?

INITIAL APPLICATION FEE: $750.00

SITE SURVEY FEE: As of July 1, 2009, the base fee is $6500.00 for programs with up to and including 5 bases. Each base (aircraft locations) over 5 will be pro-rated at an additional $750.00 per base.

PLUS: $600.00 per day per site surveyor plus travel and expenses to be paid by the program after the site visit.

Number of days and number of site surveyors will be determined by the CAMTS office based on the number of factors that may require additional interviews and travel outside of a normal 1 site – 2 day visit. (Any part of a day spent on-site will be considered an entire day for billing purposes.)

The criteria used to determine additional travel days and number of site surveyors may include but are not limited to:

Number of sites

Distance between sites

Modes of transport offered by the service

Travel differentials

Number of specialty teams

States, vendors and maintenance facilities etc.

For international site visits beyond the North American Continent: $7000 flat fee plus full reimbursement for travel and expenses. Each base over 5 is prorated at $800 per base and there is a $250 travel fee each way for each site surveyor.

Cost / Benefit Analysis of Accreditation

In an economy where organizations aspire to contain costs and enhance revenue, the following analysis is offered to assist you in weighing the decision of applying for accreditation.

COSTS

Fiscal Resources

Application Fee + Site Survey Fee = Total Due

Human Resources

4-6 month time period

Staff hours involved in completing the Program Information Form (PIF), which equates to a self-study.

BENEFITS

Comprehensive Evaluation

CAMTS Staff – an average of more than 40 hours guiding and providing assistance to each applicant.

Site Surveyors – more than 150 hours studying the Program Information Form and completing the site visit.

CAMTS Board of Directors – 20 hours of final review and recommendations.

Total hours per applicant – 210

Financial Incentives

Savings potential on aviation insurance premiums.

Recognition by managed care organizations for more positive reimbursement success

Recognition by federal, state, and local government regulatory bodies.

Transport contracts that are awarded exclusively to CAMTS accredited services.

Marketing Assistance

Credibility and distinction gained through the certificate of accreditation and inclusion on the accredited services list.

Use of CAMTS logo on invoices, promotional materials, letterheads, etc.

Recognition by peers and ability to stay abreast of current professional practice.

What happens during a site visit?

The schedule for a site survey is usually a 1 1/2 – 4 days depending on the size of the service. The site visit begins with a brief opening conference followed by a tour of the key areas and vehicles and pre-arranged interviews with program personnel. Tours and interviews of key personnel and staff are prescheduled. Aircraft and ambulances are specifically reviewed for equipment and supplies required by the accreditation standards.

During the closing conference, Site Surveyors will outline areas of excellence and areas not in compliance with accreditation standards. Site Surveyors do not discuss accreditation actions since all accreditation decisions are made by the Board of Directors.

What are the General Criteria?

The Accreditation Standards include criteria for the following topics:

GENERAL STANDARDS

Capabilities and resources of the service

Medical Personnel

Medical Director

Medical Control Physician

Clinical Care Supervisor

Staffing and Physical Requirements

Mission Types

Initial and Continuing Education

Aircraft/Ambulance section

Medical Configurations

Operational issues

Equipment

Communications

Management and Administration

Management/Policies

Quality Management

Safety Committee

Infection Control

ROTORWING STANDARDS

FAA Certificate

Weather and weather minimums

Pilot staffing and training

Maintenance

Refueling

Community outreach

FIXED WING STANDARDS

FAA Certificate

Aircraft

Weather

Pilot staffing and training

Policies

Maintenance

Refueling

Community outreach

GROUND INTERFACILITY STANDARDS

Vehicles

Qualifications of Drivers

Maintenance and sanitation

Mechanic

Policies

MEDICAL ESCORT STANDARDS

Medical Director

Medical Personnel staffing and training

Equipment and supplies

Policies

What are the Accreditation Decisions?

A program is entitled to advertise as an accredited service by CAMTS under the following circumstances:

Full Accreditation – A medical transport service demonstrates substantial compliance with the Accreditation Standards. Full accreditation is granted for three years.

Probational Accreditation – The Commission shall grant probational accreditation (for two years) when a program has held full accreditation but upon review is no longer considered to be in substantial compliance with the Accreditation Standards.

Preliminary Denial – The Commission may grant preliminary denial of accreditation when a Program had held Full or Probational accreditation, but upon a scheduled review for reaccreditation, the Commission has concerns and/or there are deficiencies that are not in substantial compliance with the reaccreditation standards but could be resolved or demonstrate significant progress in resolving the concerns and deficiencies within 90 days. The Program’s accreditation shall not be withdrawn, but the Program’s name will be designated with an asterisk on the CAMTS website indicating Preliminary Denial.

Under Special Review by a Board Member – reference page three of Policy 04.01.00 in the Policy and Procedure Manual.

A program is not entitled to advertise as “being accredited” nor enjoy the privileges of accreditation under the following decisions:

Withhold Accreditation – Accreditation will be withheld when a service applying for the first time does not substantially comply with the accreditation standards.

Withdraw Accreditation – Accreditation may be withdrawn if service is no longer in compliance with Accreditation Standards or accreditation policies and procedures or there are significant changes in the service.

A program may not advertise as “being accredited” nor enjoy the privileges of accreditation if the following is received:

Provisional Action – A service has applied for the first time and has deficiencies which are, in the judgement of the Board, correctable within a six month time frame but prevent the service from being in substantial compliance: – Provisional action is temporary and for a maximum of six months. Only two further accreditation decisions can result at the end of the six months: * Full accreditation if concerns and deficiencies are addressed satisfactorily. *Withhold accreditation if deficiencies are not corrected within the six month time frame.

Deferral Action – The Commission may defer a decision on accreditation status if there is a lack of sufficient information about specific issues which may preclude an informed and reasonable decision. If action is deferred on an accredited service, the program retains its current accreditation status until a final decision is made.

Can an accreditation decision be appealed?

Yes. A program is entitled to appeal an accreditation decision when the program feels there were errors in interpretation during the site survey. The due process procedure 04.02.00 can be found in The Policy and Procedure Manual.

The program must request an appeal in writing within 30 days of being informed of the accreditation decision.

Executive Committee of the Board will review the appeal and decide if a repeat visit is warranted. If a repeat site visit is required, it will be scheduled within 60 days of appeal.

How do I submit a complaint about an accredited service?

The Commission will address all complaints within the scope of the accreditation standards regarding an accredited medical transport service or a service that has submitted an initial application for accreditation in accordance with the generally accepted principles of peer review.

A complaint must be received in writing. This complaint form may be used. If there are questions, contact the CAMTS office for specific guidance.

Conflict of Interest

Because the medical transport profession is unique and limited in number, the Commission is very sensitive to conflict of interest issues. Each site surveyor and board member is required to complete a form with questions regarding conflict of interest issues before becoming involved in a specific site survey. There is an Ad Hoc Ethics Committee which can meet in the event of an unresolved conflict of interest.

The program is also asked to sign a conflict of interest form to verify there is no conflict with the anticipated site surveyors.

Confidentiality

Board Integrity – When a program applies for accreditation, it is assigned a number. The program is then identified by this number throughout the process. All reports to the Board are blinded so that deliberations are carried out with a program identified by that number, not a name or location, until the program is awarded a full or probational accreditation.

CAMTS will publish a list of accredited programs. However, it is the policy of CAMTS to consider specific information about the accreditation process of an individual program to be strictly confidential. The Commission will release such information only with the program’s written permission. CAMTS will provide the following information upon the program’s written permission:

Whether CAMTS has received an application from a specific program or a site visit has been scheduled.

The expiration date of the program’s accreditation.

The accreditation status if not on the accredited list.

Surveyor Confidentiality – CAMTS Site Surveyors are not permitted to discuss their findings or their report with anyone other than the Commission.

The accreditation process and subsequent certification decision is not to be thought of as a substitute for a medical transport service’s ongoing quality control efforts since full accreditation signifies only substantial compliance with a preponderance of evaluation criteria at the time of the site visit

Does CAMTS have consultants?

The Consultation Program of the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) is offered to medical transport programs that provide air medical services and ground critical care services and who:

Want to measure the quality of the service they provide in comparison to the criteria listed in the CAMTS accreditation standards as examined by an informed consultant.

Want to have specific assistance in preparing for an accreditation site visit through a review of: Documentation, Policies and Materials Requested for Accreditation.

Entire service by a consultant’s on-site visit.

Services who contract with CAMTS for a consultant are not required to apply for accreditation and the consultant’s role does not guarantee any accreditation outcome if the service is preparing for a site visit by CAMTS. Services will sign a contract with a disclaimer in reference to applying for accreditation and that no accreditation outcome is guaranteed.

CAMTS does not guarantee the availability of a consultant due to scheduling needs and time constraints. CAMTS Consultants are chosen (as availability permits) from a pool of professional site surveyors and former board members who have a minimum of six years experience in the field of air medical and/or ground interfacility transport.

Consultants are responsible for providing the service with a written summary report after completing an onsite visit.

Consultants may not serve as a site surveyor for the contracting service nor for a competing service for a period of four years after the consulting visit.

A consultation may also be arranged to review documents. For example, a Program may have questions about the attachments they are submitting with a PIF or want their entire PIF reviewed before submitting it to make sure they included the correct documentation. A document consultation is available at any point in time. For a complete understanding of the cost and consultation policies – refer to Section 07.00.00 in The Policy and Procedure Manual.

To request a consultation please fill out the Request for Consultation Form