Recently, we discussed the closure of air ambulance services in two bases in Arkansas. We highlighted how the trend, if it continues, will hamper the rural population without quick access to adequate healthcare. Here, we highlight another closure. This time around, Horry County was at the receiving end. The development took place in the first week of November. The most alarming thing about this is the fact that it was the county’s only air ambulance service. The local fire department was not very pleased with what was happening and was vocal about the need of a medical flight for the area.
Reasons Behind the Air Ambulance Service Closure
Although no official reason has been given by the medical flight company, one reason could be the concerted effort of insurance companies and lawmakers to bring down the price of their services. This coupled with bleak demand for the services might have pushed the air ambulance service to shut down. A prevailing opinion is also that – with the emergence of too many players in the industry – the market is being competed out. This means, the only way to cover the rising costs due to falling demand is to raise the prices and that’s something that the industry is currently struggling to do.
What is the Way Forward?
While we have reiterated more than once that the air ambulance industry needs better insurance reimbursements, the medical flight companies too must look at coming into insurance networks. On the other hand, smaller communities like Horry County must get together on this own volition and look to it that they have an air ambulance service, possibly through fundraising and establishment of local charitable institutions.
All said and done, it is worth noting that the air ambulance industry is currently in distress and closures are slowly becoming a norm.