Air Ambulance Transport to ACUTE

For the 90 percent of privately-insured patients with an air ambulance benefit, ACUTE can offer safe, urgent transport to our inpatient medical stabilization unit at Denver Health Medical Center in less than 48 hours.

For patients with extreme forms of eating disorders and severe malnutrition, ACUTE’s admission process removes the logistical issues and risks of commercial air travel, taxis/Ubers and nights alone in hotels. It also acknowledges emerging considerations related to COVID-19 and safe travel, including social distancing and closures, that may complicate one’s ability to travel to treatment.

An air ambulance technician stands near a helicopter

Transport During COVID-19

During COVID-19, as many as 48% of ACUTE patients arrived to care via Air Ambulance.

Why Air Ambulance Transfer?

The patients who meet criteria to admit to ACUTE display life-threatening symptoms of urgent medical instability, including:

  • Weakness, mobility limitations, inability to engage in basic self-care 
  • Physical or emotional changes 
  • Abnormal labs:
    • Serum potassium level < 2.6 mg/dl  
    • Serum bicarbonate level ≥ 38 mg/dl 
    • Serum sodium level < 120 mg/dl 
    • Low blood sugar 
    • Heart Rate < 35 (adults) or < 45 (adolescent) 
    • EKG rhythm other than sinus or QTc >500 msec 
  • Loss of consciousness 
  • Psychiatric symptoms alongside medical issues 

Our air ambulance partners are medical experts trained in the care of patients with severe eating disorders and malnutrition. In fact, they adhere to specialized air transport protocol for severe eating disorders authored by ACUTE founder Dr. Philip S. Mehler. 

Please note that not all patients will meet criteria for air ambulance transport; however, the likelihood of transport approval may be greater during the unprecedented COVID-19 medical crisis. ACUTE’s admissions team can work with you and your patients to arrange creative, immediate solutions to admit to care.

In partnership with elite air ambulance providers, ACUTE offers bedside-to-bedside air ambulance services, both domestic and international, on medically-configured learjets.

Air Ambulance Quick Facts

  • ACUTE’s admissions team handles all logistics related to medical transport and flight insurance benefits
  • Patients are generally air-ambulanced to care within 48 hours of assessment and authorization
  • Air ambulance can provide safe transport back to their referring treatment center following discharge
  • Adolescent patients may bring one parent/guardian on the aircraft for support

Even in my barely conscious state, I was shocked to my core. I knew things were bad. My weight was down to an unimaginably low number and my blood pressure and heart rate were barely discernible. I had more than thirty seizures over a two-day span, and had surprised even my doctor by staying alive as long as I had. I never truly believed this would be my end, though. I then reached out to my previous doctor in Denver, who told me in no way was I to accept that this was it. She arranged a medical flight by Angel MedFlight, and as soon as I was stable, I was transported to the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders at Denver Health...


Learn More About Air-Ambulance Services

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    Read Lindsay's Story

    "Today, I am home and weight-restored. My health has bounced back and I am enjoying life in a way that I never knew was possible."

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    Serious eating disorder cases rising, according to medical transport team

    Read the news story on Denver 7

ACUTE Earns Prestigious Center of Excellence Designation from Anthem
In 2018, the ACUTE Center for Eating Disorders & Severe Malnutrition at Denver Health was honored by Anthem Health as a Center of Excellence for Medical Treatment of Severe and Extreme Eating Disorders. ACUTE is the first medical unit ever to achieve this designation in the field of eating disorders. It comes after a rigorous review process.

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