As rural hospitals are shutting down at an alarming rate in the United States of America, air ambulance transport has been viewed as the only alternative left. However, it now seems that they too are forced to shut some of their bases owing to cost constraints. The air ambulance transport industry as a whole has been under tremendous pressure owing to the ongoing tug-of-war between them and health insurance providers. The main point of contention has been the pricing of the air ambulance service. As a repercussion, four helicopter bases of the largest air ambulance company in the country have been shut down, all in rural Oklahoma.
The Reason Cited by Air Ambulance Transport Company
The company that is shutting down its bases is Air Methods which has about 300 bases and serves 48 states in the country. The air ambulance transport company stated that they have to shell out approximately 3 million US dollars every year to maintain each of these bases and it comes to a whopping 12 million US dollars. The company can no longer afford to do so. Air ambulances need to be on the ready 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and this is proving quite an expensive affair for the company.
What Happens Now?
The air ambulance transport company, in a statement, revealed that they will continue to provide services covering newborn transport in one of the bases but they would draw the line there. Each of these bases currently employs about 15 professionals. The organization would try to employ them in other locations or at least help them secure new jobs. Riverside, Keefeton, Seminole, and Chickasha bases are being shut down currently.
With air ambulances being the only resort for emergency medical rescue for rural America, the development seems quite worrisome and a solution must be found soon.