Letter to the Editor: Options to expensive air ambulance trips overtown

 

Historically Island residents and visitors have been fortunate to have available when needed, reputable services for evacuation of patients to tertiary care facilities.

The rates MercyAir charges Catalina residents and visitors are typical of those found in other communities in California.

The air ambulance companies provide a very high risk service that must operate in adverse weather conditions. They are staffed with expensive flight and medical crews who are on duty 24/7 and who are always undergoing additional training.

Historically Island residents and visitors have been fortunate to have available when needed, reputable services for evacuation of patients to tertiary care facilities.

The rates MercyAir charges Catalina residents and visitors are typical of those found in other communities in California.

The air ambulance companies provide a very high risk service that must operate in adverse weather conditions. They are staffed with expensive flight and medical crews who are on duty 24/7 and who are always undergoing additional training.

They operate sophisticated airships that cost a lot to operate, maintain and insure.

I would encourage members of the community who have not already done so to learn about some important and available supplemental air transport insurance options they may want to choose from.

Catalina Island Medical Center has worked with several companies including MASA and OMNI Advantage (MercyAir) for them to offer some of the special programs such as we have today for our Island residents.

With one of the programs a family can purchase a membership for as little as $39 per year, which covers the cost of any air transport with no balance billed to the patient after insurance pays.

While Catalina Island Medical Center is not in the insurance business, we have promoted awareness of the availability of these programs to our community with exhibits at each year’s Health Fair; info on our website; posts on our Facebook page; frequent and recent newspaper articles; online resources such as the Chamber of Commerce Thursday updates; eCatalina articles and announcements at televised City Council meetings.

Brochures and additional contact information about the air ambulance insurance options are available at the Catalina Island Medical Center or at the Chamber of Commerce Office on the pier.

Bryan Ballard, CEO

Catalina Island

Medical Center

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