Air Methods, the medical air services provider, announced this week that it will no longer maintain its base in Floyd County, which was based at Redmond Regional Medical Center.
The aircraft added that it will continue to cover the service area, but out of bases in Jasper and Kennesaw
The company said that the move comes after a through review and analysis of its operations. The cost for around the clock readiness averages nearly $3 million per year for each base. They added that reimbursement for services has not kept up with costs. Medicare, which covers air medical services in emergency cases only, established the current air medical service payment rates in 2002 based on an estimated 1998 cost pool. Today, the average Medicare per-transport reimbursement covers approximately half of the cost per transport, according to the AAMS study.
In Georgia, nearly 70% of our transports are Medicaid, Medicare, and self-pay/uninsured, which combined reimburses less than 30% of overall costs. Again, we don’t self-dispatch nor have any idea of insurance status until after we deliver our patient and finish our mission. Medicaid in Georgia pays $3,000 per patient transport, with Medicare covering just over $5,000, and self-pay/uninsured normal out of pocket is roughly $239.
Reports added that that Floyd Medical Center, which once used the services, pulled from using them once they placed their helicopter at Redmond. It was also reported that Floyd was once one of Air Methods top users. Coosa Valley News has placed a call to Floyd Medical Center for comment.
Air Methods said that they will work with employees on opportunities for other positions within the company or their next career steps.
The move now leaves patients who need air transport a longer wait time before they can be serviced medically.
PREVIOUS August 29 2018
Members of the community and Rome Floyd Chamber of Commerce joined Redmond Regional on Thursday, August 23 for a ribbon cutting celebration of the hospital’s new helipad. In addition to the new construction, Redmond also announced an agreement with AirLife Georgia to base a full-time helicopter and flight crew at the hospital.
Redmond’s decision to build the new helipad was inspired by the desire to further enhance emergency services. One of the most visible changes was the expansion of the landing zone; designed to accommodate multiple members of emergency and trauma teams. The new helipad is located outside the ambulance entrance to the emergency room, thus allowing trauma and emergency teams to treat critically ill patients even quicker than before. The creation of the helipad and agreement with AirLife Georgia is another example of Redmond’s continued commitment to the citizens of Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama.
“We are very pleased to announce the addition of our AirLife 15 air medical base,” said Marcus Lindsey, regional business development manager at Air Methods. “The new location offers enhanced access to care via our flying intensive care unit for the residents and visitors of Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama. This base is located at Redmond Regional Medical Center to centrally-position our team for timely response throughout the service area. We are excited to partner with them, as well as all area hospitals and first responder agencies in service to our neighbors.”
Redmond and AirLife Georgia have been working together for several months to finalize the details required to support the 24/7 needs of a helicopter on campus. In order to accommodate a full-time helicopter, Redmond installed electrical inputs and recess lighting into the groundwork of the helipad. In addition to the $350 thousand construction, living quarters were built out just below the emergency room to accommodate the on-call pilots.
“Redmond is proud to partner with AirLife Georgia and make the investment to support their aircraft and crew,” said Chief Executive Officer at Redmond, John Quinlivan. “We know many citizens will survive their medical emergencies because this helicopter is now based at Redmond. We feel very good about that.”
Throughout the evening of August 23, guests had the chance to meet the flight team and tour their on-campus quarters at Redmond. The pilots also gave guests an up-close look of the helicopter, allowing them to experience firsthand the impact AirLife Georgia will have on the community.