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Specialty care transport (sct)

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure:

Specialty Care Transport (SCT)


Specialty Care Transport (SCT) involves the transfer of critically ill or injured patients from one medical facility to another. These transports are conducted by specialized medical teams equipped to provide a high level of advanced care during transit.


Medical Conditions/Problems Addressed

  • Critical medical emergencies
  • Severe trauma
  • Complex surgical cases needing higher-level care

Goals/Expected Outcomes

  • Provide continuous, advanced medical care during transport
  • Safely transfer patients to specialized medical facilities for further treatment


Symptoms/Conditions That Warrant SCT

  • Severe respiratory distress
  • Acute cardiac events
  • Major trauma requiring specialized surgical intervention
  • Complex medical conditions needing specialized treatment not available at the current facility

Patient Criteria

  • Critically ill or injured
  • Requiring advanced life support measures during transport


Pre-procedure Instructions

  • Ensure all medical records and imaging are ready for transfer
  • Stabilize patient as much as possible before transport
  • Consent forms signed by patient or guardian, if possible

Diagnostic Tests or Assessments Required

  • Vital signs monitoring
  • Imaging scans (e.g., X-ray, CT, MRI)

Procedure Description

Step-by-Step Explanation

  1. Patient stabilization and initial assessment.
  2. Transfer to a specialized transport vehicle (ambulance, helicopter, etc.).
  3. Continuous monitoring and advanced care (e.g., mechanical ventilation, IV medications) provided during transport.
  4. Arrival and admission to the receiving facility with a transfer of care.


  • Advanced life support (ALS) ambulance or medical helicopter
  • Medical devices like ventilators, infusion pumps, and defibrillators
  • Portable diagnostic equipment

Anesthesia/Sedation Details

  • Sedation and analgesia as prescribed by the attending physician


  • Typically ranges from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the distance and complexity of care required.


  • Conducted in specialized emergency medical service vehicles, such as ambulances or medical helicopters, equipped for critical care.


  • Paramedics
  • Critical care nurses
  • Physicians with expertise in emergency medicine or intensive care

Risks and Complications

Common Risks

  • Stress due to patient movement
  • Equipment malfunction
  • Worsening of the patient's condition during transport

Rare Risks

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Respiratory failure

Complication Management

  • Protocols for emergency intervention (e.g., CPR, advanced airway management)


  • Access to specialized medical care not available at the originating facility
  • Continuous monitoring and advanced supportive care
  • Increased chances of a favorable outcome due to timely and specialized intervention


Post-procedure Care

  • Continued care at the receiving facility specializing in the patient's condition

Expected Recovery Time

  • Varies depending on the underlying medical condition and treatment


  • Specific to the medical problem being treated, including scheduled follow-up appointments and specialized medical care plans


Other Treatment Options

  • Local treatment with possible telemedicine support
  • Postponing transfer until the patient is more stable

Pros and Cons

  • Pros of SCT: Immediate access to higher-level care; continuous advanced support during transit.
  • Cons of SCT: Cost, risks associated with transfer

Patient Experience

During the Procedure

  • The patient may feel movement and vibrations depending on the transport mode.
  • Regular assessments and interventions will be done by the medical team.

After the Procedure

  • Continued focus on the patient’s critical needs
  • Pain management and comfort measures will be provided during and after transit as needed

Medical Policies and Guidelines for Specialty care transport (sct)

Related policies from health plans

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