Mercy Medical Angels® (MMA) fills a societal need that most people don’t know exists— namely, the need for long-distance patient travel. Most of us have easy access to local hospitals and medical specialists that offer quality care. But millions of our fellow Americans live in poverty and/or in remote areas and lack the financial means to travel to distant medical specialists for treatment. Their future health and even their very lives can depend on overcoming these challenges.
MMA bridges the access gap by providing charitable medical transportation throughout the United States and at times internationally. The need is great. There is no other known workable transportation alternative. MMA can serve those in need only through the generous support of foundations, corporations, individuals and institutions.
Mercy Medical Angels’ mission is to ensure that no one in need is denied medical care due to a lack of transportation.
MMA fulfills the mission by using one or more of the modes of transportation described below. Safety of operation is the number one priority. MMA programs started in 1972, and the program has a 100 percent safety record since its beginning, transporting nearly 170,000 patients to date.
Commercial Airline Tickets
MMA administers charitable or deep-discount airline ticket programs for patients and patient escorts in cooperation with major U.S. airlines. These trips are for ambulatory individuals (able to walk) who need to travel over 750 miles. In special circumstances, airline tickets for shorter distances may be provided. MMA flight coordinators are highly experienced in these diverse and often changing airline patient ticket programs. There is also a special program for veterans and their immediate family members, providing travel for medical care, service dog acquisition, rehabilitation, and treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).
Volunteer Pilot Operations
Volunteer pilots who own or rent small aircraft are available to patients and an escort needing transportation for medical care. Patients must be ambulatory, which means they must be able to walk, enter and exit the plane with little or no assistance, and require no medical care (i.e., doctor or nurse) en route. There must be a financial or compelling need for the flight and clearance from the physician. Volunteer pilot organizations can assist only when the destination is within 750 miles. A special area of service provided is disaster relief. Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic pilots collaborate with the Virginia Volunteer Pilots Group to assist in times of natural and man-made disasters.
Long Distance Ground Transportation
MMA’s ground transportation program ensures travel for low-income patients by providing gas cards and commercial bus or Amtrak tickets. Patients (with or without escort) must be ambulatory and require no medical monitoring or care en route. These trips are for non-local medical care or for patients returning home after a distant appointment or hospitalization. The typical trip does not exceed 300 miles.
National Patient Travel Helpline
MMA also operates the National Patient Travel Helpline®, which provides information about all forms of charitable, long-distance medical transportation and provides referrals to all appropriate sources of help available in the national charitable medical transportation network.