St. Barth Executive’s ‘Caribmedevac’, is hoping to be the island’s solution to the high cost of medivacs. The company is going through the approval process to be able to transfer some of the island’s critical patients to other regional hospitals, on behalf of the Government of Montserrat through the Ministry of Health & Social Services.
On Tuesday morning, two pilots executed numerous takeoffs and landings from the John A. Osborne Airport from both a Westerly and Easterly direction.
Once they have been approved to operate commercially, Caribmedevac and its medical crew will be available, based on the MOHSS request, to provide medical transportation services from Montserrat to other destinations, including long-range international flights to the USA.
“The MOHSS has an obligation to ensure that our patients are being provided with optimal healthcare services at all times, and to do this we must continually explore avenues through which we can expand and optimize healthcare delivery, for our patients on the ground and those we are transporting overseas,” stated Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Health Camille Thomas-Gerald.
CEO of St. Barth Executive Vincent Beauvarlet said he was very proud of his company’s story which launched in 2017. He said their goal is to offer affordable medivac services for a fixed price with fixed planes across the Caribbean. He explained that one of the challenges that plagued the region was the high cost of medivacs and the inability of most patients to afford it even with insurance coverage. The CEO, who has more than 25 years as a pilot, said his company’s provision of fixed rates will allow governments and insurance companies to make realistic business plans for long term support for their clients.
He said islands like Dominica who may need to send a critical care patient to Trinidad must hire a plane out of Miami at a cost of around US$25,000. As St. Barth Executive, will have planes on St. Barths, Guadeloupe and St. Martin it will make it much easier and more affordable to serve the region. The aircraft, which is Swiss made, is able to fly to Trinidad in one hour from Montserrat and 55 minutes to Barbados at a height of 31,000 feet. The company said they aim to offer rates which are about 10% of what many countries pay now for medivacs.
Prior to this arrangement with ‘Caribmedevac’, local commercial airline Fly Montserrat, provided air transportation services exclusively for the MoHSS when requested. “I want to also acknowledge the role that Fly Montserrat has played over the years, and will continue to play along with St. Barth Executive’s ‘Caribmedevac’ for our medical air transfers”, stated Minister of Health Charles Kirnon.
Fly Montserrat will continue to provide the short 20-minute trips to Antigua. Minister Kirnon added that it is his hope that the island will become less dependent on medivacs once the new hospital is operational and services upgraded.
To be able to accomplish it’s goal of serving the region’s medivac needs, the airline has trained maintenance technicians and engineers at its various hubs to service the aircraft. The Pilatus PC-12 NG aircraft designed by the Swiss only needs half of the airport runway for takeoffs and landings says the CEO. It also has the ability to maintain the cabin pressure at ground level although it is at 30,000 feet in the air. This allows them to fly quickly like a jet. Doctors are a part of the team and work to ensure the patients are stabilised before they are transported.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Sharra Greenaway-Duberry said she was pleased that the hard work to bring in the SBE to Montserrat had reached this far. She expressed gratitude to the medical staff, officials, fire and rescue and all of those who support the work of the ministry for their unwavering support.
‘Caribmedevac’ based in Guadeloupe, St. Barthélémy and St. Martin, is an EASA-certified scheduled air carrier servicing the region with urgent air transportation needs for a medical crew, medical equipment, blood, organs or lab samples. Caribmedevac is a Trademark of St. Barth Executive.