Public Forum on Medical Evacuation
Refusal by Kaiser Permanente to pay for medical evacuations ordered by emergency room physicians here have led to a great deal of concern, anguish and fear, and so Dr. Loren Johnson, retired ER doctor, arranged a public informational meeting at the Mullis Center last Thursday evening.
Dr. Johnson could not be in attendance so in his absence Dr. Warren Appleton stepped in to run the meeting.
Dr. Michael Sullivan, the medical program director for all of the county’s emergency medical services, and Will Hamilton, representing Island Air med-evac service, made up a panel to answer questions, along with Chris Martin of Airlift Northwest by phone.
The message from all of them was: Don’t hesitate to call for help for fear of getting a big bill. Put your health first and do what a prudent person would – call for help and be confident that you will have help if you need to fight over the charges.
And they all added that if Kaiser refuses payment for your med-evac, you have 60 days to file an appeal – and don’t do it alone: Get help from either Island Air or Airlift Northwest, the one that flew your med-evac.
The refusals of payment started last September and are continuing, though at a lower pace than earlier: None in the last month, Dr. Sullivan said; one, Hamilton said.
By Louise Dustrude