Valley Air Care – last flight

Valley Air Care – last flight

1-Nov-2011 Source:

The Rio Grande Valley’s longest-running helicopter ambulance flew its last flight yesterday, 31st October, thanks to Texas state budget cuts.

The South Texas Emergency Care Foundation has operated Valley AirCare since 1995, but operating their AS350B2 in recent years has been an increasing challenge as cost reimbursements continued a downward slide and fuel prices soared.  With 80 to 90% of its patients on federal- and state-subsidized insurance, the state legislators’ decision earlier this year to meet Texas’ budget shortfall by slashing Medicaid rates and altering EMS reimbursements means that operations are no longer viable. An average flight cost Valley AirCare $6,000 to $7,000, and typically 40 to 45% of those costs are recovered, said Rene Perez, the foundation’s director of patient transport services.

The void left by Valley Air Care has been filled by Air Evac Lifeteam, who opened a new base during October at  McAllen Medical Center (see story)

William P Johnson – US correspondent

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