Saturday, September 10, 2016

Powers, Coos County, Oregon: Remote town strikes deal for emergency air ambulance service

POWERS — Residents of Powers won’t have to pay for being life-flighted to the hospital thanks to a motion approved by the Powers City Council.

Friday, city council members gathered at the Powers airport to present a check of $4,021 to cover the cost of its citizens for the next year— even those who don’t have insurance.

Typically, the cost to be flown by a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft staffed by paramedics in a medical emergency can get pretty pricey.

"If you don’t have insurance you’re going to pay a lot out-of-pocket," Jeff Martinez, a membership manager at the AirMedCare network, said. He said even those with insurance don’t get covered 100 percent for air ambulances.

Now, everyone in Powers is fully covered for flight costs under the membership. Martinez said people who move there in the next year also will get the benefit.

The city is the first town in Oregon to receive the membership according to Martinez.

"It’s becoming more of a norm in small town America," Martinez said. There are more than 2.4 million members according to the AirMedCare website. He said paying high costs for air ambulances can be detrimental to a town. He gave the example of a small business owner who could potentially go out of business because he’s unable to pay for the service.

"Other cities [in Oregon] are coming on board, they’re just figuring out how to do it financially," Martinez said.

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