Saturday, April 02, 2016

New air ambulance owners come to Missoula, Montana


There's a change in the air for air ambulance services.

Oregon-based Life Flight Network is taking over Northwest MedStar -- the air ambulance service in Missoula.

The change took effect on Friday with company officials saying almost all of MedStar's employees have taken positions with Life Flight. The not-for profit Life Flight is owned jointly by Providence Health Services and other medical facilities in Idaho and Oregon. 

Life Flight is also promoting a program that would save patients money if they need to be air-lifted to a hospital. In exchange for a $60 annual fee, a family won't have to pay 'out of pocket' should they need the services of a helicopter or fix-wing medical flight.

"If we transport them for medically necessary emergent reasons, there's no out of pocket expense to it potentially alleviates some pretty significant money if we have to transport them," said Life Flight's Justin Dillingher.

Life Flight Network offers air and ground transport across the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West. The company says air-ambulance services are critical in Montana where many live more than an hour away from the nearest trauma center.

RELATED: Warning over independent air services in Montana issued

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