A check-up on air rescue resources one month after Ballad Health consolidated services
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A check-up on air rescue resources one month after Ballad Health consolidated services


GOOD EVENING — I’M SARA DIAMOND — JOSH SMITH HAS THE NIGHT OFF.. OUR TOP STORY TONIGHT.. NEWS CHANNEL 11 IS CHECKING UP ON AIR RESCUE RESOURCES ONE MONTH AFTER BALLAD HEALTH BEGAN A NEW CONTRACT THAT CONSOLIDATED THESE SERVICES IN THE TRI-CITIES. THIS COMES AS BALLAD ALSO PREPARES TO REALIGN LEVEL ONE TRAUMA SERVICES AT JOHNSON CITY MEDICAL CENTER BEGINNING OCTOBER 1ST. THAT MEANS TRAUMA SERVICES WILL BE DOWNGRADED AT BRISTOL REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER AND KINGSPORT’S HOLSTON VALLEY MEDICAL CENTER. JACKIE DEFUSCO FOUND OUT HOW THE MERGER OF OUR REGION’S TWO HOSPITAL SYSTEMS IS NOW IMPACTING EMERGENCY MEDICAL FLIGHTS… SHE’S LIVE TONIGHT OUTSIDE JOHNSON CITY MEDICAL CENTER WITH MORE. SARA AS YOU SAID — IT’S BEEN ONE MONTH SINCE WINGS AIR RESCUE STARTED ITS NEW CONTRACT WITH BALLAD HEALTH. EARLIR TODAY — I TOOK A CLOSER LOOK AND GOT A BIRD’S EYED VIEW OF THE CHANGES THAT’S CAUSING TO EMERGENCY RESPONSE IN SULLIVAN COUNTY. WINGS AIR RESCUE IS NOW THE ONLY PRIVATE PROVIDER OF EMERGENCY MEDICAL FLIGHTS IN THE REGION. “IT WAS REALLY EASIER FOR US FROM A CONSOLIDATED TRAUMA STAND POINT TO HAVE ONE VENDOR TO WORK WITH TO COORDINATE CARE.” FOR YEARS–WINGS SHARED THE SERVICE AREA WITH P-H-I AIR MEDICAL. A MONTH INTO THEIR NEW CONTRACT WITH BALLAD HEALTH– “WE HAVE NOT EXPERIENCED YET THE NEED TO INCREASE NUMBERS OF HELICOPTERS OR INCREASE THE NUMBER OF STAFF BUT THAT’S SOMETHING THAT I LITERALLY LOOK AT EVERY DAY AND REVIEW EVERY MONTH WITH MY MANAGEMENT TEAM TO DETERMINE IF THERE ARE ANY GAPS IN COVERAGE.” WINGS HAS FOUR HELICOPTER BASES ACROSS THREE STATES… PLUS–THEY PARTNER WITH VIRGINIA STATE POLICE IN ABINGDON. A BASE NEAR BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY–PREVIOUSLY IN OPERATION YEAR ROUND–WILL NOW ONLY BE USED FOR SPECIAL EVENTS. “IT WAS IN A POPULATION DENSITY THAT IS WELL SERVED BY THREE VERY GOOD EMS SERVICES SO TYPICALLY HELICOPTERS ARE USED FOR LONGER DISTANCE TRANSPORTS THAN JUST IN A SINGLE COUNTY.” ROWE SAYS THE NEXT CLOSEST BASE IS JUST MINUTES AWAY BY AIR. “IF WE SEE THAT BASE NEEDS TO BE RE-OPENED THEN THAT CAN BE A DECISION THAT IS MADE AS WELL BECAUSE WE’LL CONTINUE TO MAINTAIN THAT SITE AND THAT HELIPAD.” FOR RURAL POPULATIONS–SO ME WORRY THAT POOR WEATHER WILL PREVENT TIMELY AIR TRANSPORTS. “WHEN IT’S RAINING SO HARD IT EFFECTS THE VISABILITY AND MAKES IT DIFFICULT FOR US TO REACH OUR PATIENTS.” THAT’S WHY MANY HAVE BEEN CRITICAL OF BALLAD’S PLAN TO DOWNGRADE TRAUMA SERVICES AT TWO SULLIVAN COUNTY HOSPITALS AND CONSOLIDATE LEVEL ONE SERVICES AT JOHNSON CITY MEDICAL CENTER. “MORE FLIGHTS WILL COME TO JOHNSON CITY MEDICAL CENTER THAN THERE HAVE IN THE PAST BUT THE OVERALL NUMBER OF FLIGHTS SHOULD NOT INCREASE.” NO MATTER THE DESTINATION–AIR RESCUE CAN BE COSTLY. ESPECIALLY IF YOUR INSURANCE DOESN’T COVER IT. WINGS AIR RESCUE OFFERS A YEARLY MEMBERSHIP FOR THIS REASON. “UNFORTUNATELY NONE OF US CAN PREDICT THAT TRAUMA AND THAT’S WHY WE ADVISE ANYONE TO LOOK AT YOUR INSURANCE PLAN AND CONSIDER GETTING A MEMBERSHIP. IT COVERS ANY OUT OF POCKET COST. IT EVEN COVERS IF YOUR INSURANCE DENIES THE CLAIM” I’M TOLD THAT MEMBERSHIP COSTS 85 DOLLARS A YEAR AND COVERS YOUR WHOLE HOUSE HOLD. THOSE INTERESTED CAN ALSO PAY SMALLER MONTHLY FEES. LIVE IN JOHNSON CITY, JACKIE DEFUSCO, NEWS CHANNEL 11. NEW AT ELEVEN.

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