Cleveland Clinic has launched a new membership program for traveling patients that promises to transport members via ambulance, helicopter and jet to the Clinic or any other hospital they choose.
The program, which costs $400 annually for a single member, is intended for patients who are faced with a medical emergency while traveling more than 150 miles away from home, according to a statement from the Clinic.
The Clinic sells the program, which is called Global Care Air Rescue and Evacuation (CARE), as providing “peace of mind” to “anyone who may find themselves hospitalized more than 150 miles from home and too sick to fly on a commercial airline.” The jets can be outfitted for “virtually every critical-care scenario” and can include ventilators and heart-lung machines, for example, according to the statement.
That makes it possible to transport patients who typically couldn’t travel due to the extreme severity of their conditions, the Clinic said.
U.S. and Canadian adults under the age of 85 are eligible for the CARE program. The plan covers up to two transports per year and doesn’t include deductibles or co-pays related to the transportation. The family plan costs $600 annually and covers two adults and up to five dependents under the age of 26.
The program is available around the clock, 365 days per year, for members traveling anywhere in the world, according to the Clinic.
The program represents yet another gambit by the Clinic to diversify its revenue base beyond Northeast Ohio. Finding new ways of generating revenue is becoming increasingly important to hospitals, which have been hit with higher levels of uncompensated care and fewer elective procedures during the economic downturn of the last few years.
It’s particularly important for the Clinic because the health system generates about 93 percent of its revenue in the state of Ohio, which has been losing population and struggling to create jobs in recent years. As a consequence, the Clinic has been aggressively pursuing cash-generating opportunities that aren’t connected to filling hospital beds in Ohio.