While not an uncommon sight across the Texas valley, it is always a highly emotional experience when a friend or neighbor faces a critical medical crisis and they are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of miles from home. Such was the case with the Boesewetter family when it was determined that Holiday Rambler Recreation Vehicle member Norbert Boesewetter of Crestwood, Missouri would be best served if he could be in the care of his personal health care team at St. Anthony’s Hospital, St. Louis, Missouri.
On Wednesday, Jan. 19, the Client Services team at SkyMed International, Inc. was alerted that one of their HRRVC members, Mr. Boesewetter, was critically ill and hospitalized at the McAllen Heart Hospital in Texas.
Fortunately for the Boesewetter family, they enrolled as SkyMed members at a 1995 Holiday Rambler Recreation Vehicle Club rally. “Like all of our members, we are certain the Boesewetters never thought they would be in need of a medically equipped emergency air transport when they first heard about the SkyMed program. But, as hundreds of other RVers have learned, “SkyMed is a wonderful health and financial safety net when you need it most,” said SkyMed’s Vice President Jim Edwards.
Mr. Edwards first spoke with medical personnel at the McAllen Heart Hospital when the call came in on the need to arrange a medical flight for Mr. Boesewetter. His illness was such that it took a few days for him to be stabilized for flight. Edwards said, “The illnesses from which Mr. Boesewetter suffered, could well have been treated at a renowned health institution such as the McAllen facility. And they were excellent care givers. But what is unique about membership in SkyMed, is that we take our members home, so that those most familiar with the patient’s health can treat them in their own home hospital environment by doctors whom they have come to know.”
Flight arrangements were made to include Mrs. Lillian Boesewetter so that she could be with her husband on the three hour flight. SkyMed also provided ground ambulance services from the McAllen Heart Hospital to the airport and ground ambulance services from the St. Louis airport to St. Anthony’s Hospital Wednesday, Jan. 26.
Floyd Woods, general manager of Sanborns Insurance Services that represents SkyMed at their numerous offices across the southwestern United States, was at the McAllen, Texas airport on behalf of SkyMed to assist in any way he could to make the flight as pleasant as possible for the Boesewetters. Mr. Woods said, “If anyone ever has any doubt about how important it is to be a SkyMed member when you are traveling, which is the situation for hundreds of thousands of northern snowbirds who spend their winters in the south, to be an observer at one of the flight departures, as I was, would ensure their enrollment in SkyMed.”
Mr. Woods went on to say how impressed he was with the captain and medical staff provided for the flight. “Their efficiency at the airport in moving the patient from the ground ambulance to the Lear jet was superb. This night could well have cost the Boesewetter family $15,000 or more. In their case, SkyMed paid with no claim forms, no copays, and no deductibles, and SkyMed paid for the ground ambulance charges at both ends of the flight.”
SkyMed has been the HRRVC member service of choice for several years. Family membership is $360 (Association Rate) per year and individual memberships are $180. There is a small first year only application fee. SkyMed also offers helicopter service from the scene of a vehide accident to a local hospital. Mr. Edwards said, “The cost of a helicopter flight can run upwards of $16,000. Our traditional service plan such as that of the Boesewetters provides hospital to hospital medically equipped jet transportation.”
SkyMed also pays for a professional driver to return a members RV or other vehicle to their place of residence in the event of a critical illness or injury. A number of additional services are also included in the SkyMed base plan. HRRVC members can learn more about SkyMed’s potentially life saving service by calling (800) 475-9633 for more information.
As Mr. Woods said, “SkyMed is often imitated, but it is never duplicated.”