The Sheriff’s Trauma Star program has had a successful year, with money collected in the past fiscal year exceeding the costs of the program by $200,000.
This number takes into consideration the money spent to fund both the Sheriff’s Office Aviation Unit and Monroe County Fire Rescue costs of operation.
“We are very happy to be able to tell taxpayers in Monroe County that Trauma Star is paying for itself and then some,” said Sheriff Rick Ramsay. “The excess money collected, over and above our costs, will be returned to the County to offset other costs of other government operations.”
The Trauma Star program is essential to a county that has no trauma center for people who need treatment for life threatening illnesses and injuries. Monroe County residents are flown on the trauma helicopter at no cost to them, over and above what their insurance pays for the flight.
In the fiscal year lasting from October of 2015 to September of 2016, Trauma Star flew 471 people to mainland trauma hospitals, 86 more than the previous year. The Monroe County program that is jointly run by the Sheriff’s Office, which houses, flies and maintains the aircraft and Monroe County Fire Rescue, which provides the medical personnel.
The helicopter currently being used is a 1982 Sikorsky S-76 which was purchased used in 2006; the county recently purchased a second newer Sikorsky helicopter which should be authorized to fly patients next week.
“We look forward to continuing our life saving service,” said Sheriff Ramsay. “is a wonderful bonus to be able to say that Trauma Star pays for itself and that we are able to return a significant amount of excess to the County’s coffers, benefiting the taxpayers of Monroe County in the process.”