Why LifeNet’s Proposal Must Be Addressed
Guest Editorial by Mike Allen……..
It affects every resident of the Keys and everyone who visits. It has a direct impact on your personal safety, your family’s safety, and it could even affect the region’s tourism industry. It is the situation that has left the Keys’ air ambulance services in limbo.
As you may have heard or read, the Monroe County Board of County Commissioners recently voted to purchase an additional helicopter for Trauma Star, the county-run emergency air ambulance service. Trauma Star is one of two air ambulance services currently serving the Keys; LifeNet is the other.
Our company operates LifeNet in Key West, and we submitted a proposal to the County Administrator to address heartfelt concerns from Keys residents about the cost of air ambulance services – costs that were not covered by patients’ insurance. Our solution: a proposal that calls for the County to pay a relatively modest offset (less than a third of the cost of the helicopter it plans to purchase for Trauma Star). In fact, it will only cost 44 cents, per resident, per month.
However, to date, the solution we’re proposing has not been formally considered or voted on by the Board of County Commissioners.
If the County were to accept our solution, then LifeNet could continue to operate in the Keys as a backup to Trauma Star, and we would no longer need to collect out-of-pocket costs from Monroe County residents. Considering the life-or-death nature of the services we provide, shouldn’t we have a chance to stand up before the Commissioners, formally present our proposal, and have it put to a vote?
Time Magazine named Key West one of the 10 most dangerous places to vacation, based on its lack of trauma services. And it’s true that both Trauma Star and LifeNet helicopters are often in flight at the same time.
With this proposal, LifeNet can continue to fly, and the Keys will be perceived as a safer place to visit.
We believe two air ambulance services are better than one, and more than five-hundred Keys residents demonstrated their agreement, sending in cards and emails. If you also agree that the Keys deserves access to two emergency air ambulance providers, see how your voice can be heard. Visit LifeNetKeyWest.com.
Mike Allen is a former EMS pilot and the president of Air Methods, LifeNet’s parent company.