Cathy Lizak
Contributing writer
last updated 11/18/2019

Air Ambulance in Florida: a Medical Hub Between the Caribbean and the USA

Global Air Ambulance handles medical flight services to or from Florida

Air Ambulance

Florida is a wonderful place to visit, to winter, to retire to, and to raise a family. For those that find they need immediate medical care, Florida also has great hospitals. If you find you require rapid repatriation from the Caribbean, Central or South America for urgent care, Global Air Ambulance can quickly transport your patient and can assist with the logistical issues prior to medical evacuation.

Over 120 million people from all over the world visit Florida every year. Some unfortunately become ill or injured during their visit to Florida and require medical transportation to other states or countries. Global Air Ambulance offers patient transport from anywhere in the world to Florida and from Florida to anywhere in the world. Please contact one of our case managers and we can inform you of all your options.

Types of International Patient Transport to and from Florida

Global Air Ambulance offers several types of patient transport depending on your patient’s needs and financial constraints, including:

Air Ambulance – transport aboard a private jet outfitted as a critical care ambulance. Learn more about air ambulance services to and from florida here.

Airline Stretcher – ICU transport in the rear of a commercial jet with critical care nurses and equipment (available to and from Europe and Asia) This transport is half the cost of air ambulance.

Airline Medical Escort – Basic care transport in business or first class seats with a Registered Nurse. This is typically the least expensive option.

Ground Transport – Basic and advanced life support ambulances available to domestic patients. Ground transport provides cost savings but is a longer transport than others.

Some medical, geographic and timing restrictions apply to the various options. Please call Global Air Ambulance to discuss your case with one of our case managers to determine which of these options is available for your patient.

Information required for International Medical transport to Florida

For your patient to be transported from a facility abroad to a facility in Florida, you must simultaneously:

  1. Get patient discharged from the attending hospital
  2. Contract with a patient transport company
  3. Gain patient admittance into a Florida hospital

Getting your patient discharged is dependent on the patient’s stability and your air ambulance provider’s capabilities. Contracting with an air ambulance provider will require a form of financial guarantee such as a credit card. Obtaining admittance to a hospital in Florida typically requires doctor-to-doctor consults. Global Air Ambulance can ease your burden in all aspects of the process. Please call our consultants to assist you.

Your patient and passengers must have proper documentation to travel including passports, and visas if necessary. If your patient is not a U.S. citizen and does not have a necessary visa, they must obtain a medical visa waiver. To obtain a medical visa waiver, you will need to gain acceptance from a Florida Hospital that may require you to put up a financial bond prior to acceptance.

Global Air Ambulance can help expedite the process for you. If your American patient does not have proper documentation, we can assist with that as well.

Medical Repatriation Between Florida and Europe and Asia

Medical repatriation between Florida and Europe and Asia can be done quickly and safely. Unlike The Caribbean, Central and South America, both Europe and Asia have the option of Airline stretcher transport as well as all other options.

While American based Airlines do not offer stretcher transports, Global Air Ambulance can provide stretcher transport to and from Europe and Asia at a much lower cost than air ambulance for some patients. Of course, air ambulance and airline medical escorts are also available.

Medical Repatriation from the Caribbean, Central and South America

If you become sick or injured on a cruise, or in a country with inadequate medical facilities, you will most likely need to be air ambulanced to Florida. Unfortunately, cruise ships will leave you at the next port after you become sick. Most ports do not have adequate facilities to take care of a major emergency. You will need to be immediately transferred to a higher level of care. The closest modern facilities are in South Florida.

Global Air Ambulance can most likely transfer you back to Florida the same day you contact us. Please be aware that some international airports in the Caribbean, Central and South America do not stay open 24 hours. In some cases, your air ambulance will need to arrive as soon as the airport opens in the morning. In other cases, Global Air Ambulance can pay airports to stay open past closing.

If you become ill while on a cruise ship, do not wait to call after you arrive at port. Call immediately so that we may coordinate with you, the cruise medical director and the receiving hospital in Florida.

In most cases, your patient can be transferred immediately by air ambulance, no matter the criticalness of their condition. In many cases, the risk of transport is less than of keeping them in a third world medical facility. However, in some cases, your patient is safer to stay in place until their condition stabilizes and they can be safely transported to Florida. Global Air Ambulance will consult with the medical facility and will give you our opinion about safety of transport.

In cases where a patient must stay in place until stabilized, they may need to be transported to a better hospital in the local area. In some locations, private hospitals can provide much better care than the local, government run hospital. We can assist you in gaining a transfer to a local hospital until the patient can be safely air ambulanced to Florida.

Many countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America are Spanish speaking. Global Air Ambulance can provide Spanish speakers to communicate with hospital officials and medical staff. We can also provide Spanish-speaking crew members for your flight.

South Florida Hospitals

Many people will choose to be transported to one of the excellent tertiary hospitals in South Florida. These hospitals have experience with intake from the Caribbean, have international transfer desks to ease the admittance process, and are nationally ranked in many disciplines:

Baptist Hospital of Miami | Miami, Florida |

Baptist Hospital is nationally ranked in orthopedics

Baptist ranks high in Gastroenterology, Geriatrics, Neurology, Pulmonology, COPD, heart bypass and others.

Broward Health Medical Center
| Ft Lauderdale, Florida |

Broward Health has every specialty, is a level 1 Trauma center and received 5 stars from Healthgrades for Cardiac Care

Cleveland Clinic Florida | Weston, Florida |

Cleveland Clinic Florida ranks in cardiology, gastroenterology, geriatrics, nephrology, orthopedics, lung surgery, aortic valve surgery among others

Jackson Memorial Hospital
| Miami, Florida |

Jackson Memorial is an accredited, non-profit, tertiary care hospital and the major teaching facility for the University of Miami

Nationally Ranking Florida Hospitals

With over 21 million people living in Florida, Florida is the third largest state in population. To service the growing population, Florida has some of the best hospitals in the nation. Below is a list by medical category of some of Florida’s great hospitals that rank nationally in many categories requiring urgent evacuations to Florida:

H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center | https://

Cardiology: Baptist Medical Ctr, Jacksonville |

Tampa General Hospital |

Flagler Hospital, St Augustine |

Ear, nose and throat: University of Miami Health |

Endocrinology: Advent Health Orlando |

Geriatrics: Mayo Clinic Jacksonville |

UF Health Shands Medical Ctr |

GI Surgery: Cleveland Clinic Florida |

Advent Health Orlando |

Gynecology: Advent Health Orlando |

Lung Surgery: UF Health Shands Medical Ctr |

Nephrology: Advent Health Orlando |

UF Health Shands Medical Ctr |

Neurosurgery: Advent Health Orlando |

Mayo Clinic Jacksonville |

Ophthalmology: University of Miami Hospital |

Tampa General |

Baptist Hospital of Miami |

Rheumatology: Mayo Clinic Jacksonville |


Advent Health Orlando |

Corruption in Caribbean and Central American Medical Transport

Corruption in the Caribbean and in Central America exists in many aspects, including emergency medical transport. Some medical providers do take kickbacks and bribes to quickly evacuate patients. This causes some patients that do not need to be evacuated to incur expensive air ambulance costs. In addition, those patients that do need air ambulance are steered to services that pay as much as $10,000 to medical providers and then roll those costs into their prices.

In some cases, patients that need urgent evacuation are told that none exists for immediate transfer and that they will have to wait another day for one to become available, when, in fact, they could be evacuated that day by another company, not associated with that medical facility. In other cases, patients are told that their medical condition will not allow travel even though they can travel with their current medical condition, again to align the patient with available transports.

Global Air Ambulance does not participate in these corrupt practices. If you are uncomfortable about your situation and are being strongly persuaded to contract with air ambulance providers, we advise getting a quick, second opinion and alternative price.

Another word of caution

It is critical for you to determine the cost of your patient’s stay in Caribbean and Central American hospitals and to pay the full cost of your stay prior to your air ambulance’s arrival. Some patients are unable to be discharged to the air ambulance when bills are left unpaid.

Call For a Free Quote

Have more questions? We're happy to answer them.