GREAT FALLS — Great Falls Emergency Services recently posted pictures on Facebook of a GFES crew transporting a patient to Lethbridge, Alberta in Canada.
Taking a patient to Canada is something that only happens a few times a year.
"There's a few potential scenarios, whether it's Canada or sometimes just a different state,” GFES General Manager Justin Grohs said.
In this case, the patient was on vacation in Mexico and needed medical assistance so they flew back to Miami and then intended to drive from there to Lethbridge but when they got to Great Falls they recognized they shouldn't go any further.
Grohs said the crew worked with what he described as a medical management company that was overseeing the patient's medical care and wanted them transported from Benefis to Lethbridge.
"I gave them a quote on what it was going to cost to do that and they said okay,” Grohs explained.
Grohs said whether a patient's insurance will cover costs is something that has to be considered before agreeing to a transport as well as what the process will be for getting across the border.
"Border policies can be fluid, they can change, so we make a point of seeing what the situation is. We have historically found both the U.S. and the Canadian border crossings are very accommodating,” said Grohs. "They knew we were coming. Of course, we called them in advance. They made it very simple and straight forward."
If necessary, GFES can also meet Canadian medical providers at the border and transfer a patient there.