Island Air Ambulance or Airlift NW?

Posted November 28, 2016 at 5:51 am by

An Island-Air Ambulance flight crew - Island Air photo

An Island-Air Ambu­lance flight crew — Island Air photo

Rec­om­men­da­tion: Sign up for both med-evac services

As island res­i­dents con­sid­er which of two med-evac ser­vices to pay for, the answer giv­en unan­i­mous­ly at last week’s pub­lic hos­pi­tal dis­trict board meet­ing was “Both.”

Com­mis­sion­er Michael Edwards likened it to wear­ing both sus­penders and a belt, say­ing “not to have the sup­port of both is folly.”

Dr. Michael Sul­li­van, the coun­ty med­ical pro­gram direc­tor, told the board he has many fac­tors to con­sid­er when deter­min­ing how to trans­port a patient in an emer­gency sit­u­a­tion, and adding in the ques­tion of which ser­vice they have paid for is just one more complication.

Airlift NW chopper - Tim Dustrude photo

Air­lift NW chop­per — Tim Dus­trude photo

Some­times Island Air’s fixed-wing plane is best, and in oth­er cir­cum­stances Air­lift North­west­’s heli­copter is prefer­able. It depends on weath­er, and where the patient is going, and sev­er­al oth­er fac­tors which can­not be predicted.

Air­lift North­west offers its ser­vices for $79 a year for a house­hold. Island Air which for­mer­ly did not charge res­i­dents of the hos­pi­tal dis­trict, will have to begin charg­ing on Jan­u­ary 1st. Its rate will be $55 a year for a house­hold but if paid before the end of 2016 it will be $39.

Both ser­vices are offered only to those cov­ered by pri­vate insur­ance or Medicare. Indi­vid­u­als on Med­ic­aid or unin­sured are not eli­gi­ble for either cov­er­age, but com­mis­sion­er Bar­bara Sharp point­ed out that both have char­i­ty care pro­grams “and they will work with you.”

And com­mis­sion­er Mon­i­ca Har­ring­ton sug­gest­ed that with the hol­i­days com­ing up “the best gift you can give your fam­i­ly is to be sure they’re cov­ered by both services.”

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the two ser­vices will attend the Decem­ber meet­ing of the board to answer ques­tions. For infor­ma­tion or to sign up, email them at:
mem­ber­ship [@] 
mem­ber­ship [@]

By Louise Dustrude

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Categories: Health & Wellness

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