Life-Saving Air Ambulance Transport Covered for Humboldt County Residents

Humboldt General Hospital trustees have once again covered the cost of emergency air ambulance transport to a higher level of care.

Earlier this year, the hospital contributed $18,000 to continue county-wide coverage for all permanent residents in Humboldt County via HGH AirOne.

Trustees began covering the cost of transport by the local helicopter in October 2015; since that time hundreds of patients have been flown to a higher level of care at no cost to them or their family members.

According to HGH Board Chairman JoAnn Casalez, the money is a small price to pay for residents’ peace of mind.

“When our residents have a medical emergency, the last thing they need is to worry about the cost of air ambulance transport,” she said. “This benefit is something our board is very pleased to offer to local residents.”

What’s more, the coverage extends to any helicopter owned and operated by MedX AirOne in Pershing, Lander, Eureka, Elko or White Pine counties.

Casalez said MedX AirOne works with each patient's medical insurance provider to secure payment for its air medical services, and waives any remaining balance, including co-pays or deductibles; patients with no insurance are still covered under the program.

She added that residents can expect to receive an outreach letter detailing the MedX AirOne coverage soon, along with a membership card.

“However, our community members don’t need to show that card to access these benefits,” she said. “The card will simply act as a reminder that our hospital provides air ambulance service as a community benefit.”

The addition of HGH AirOne to the HGH EMS Rescue fleet has served to complete the circle of pre-hospital care in Humboldt County.

It routinely takes between 2.5 and 3 hours to exit a critically injured or ill patient from Winnemucca to Washoe County by ground. Now, the average flight time to Reno is 50 minutes.

“It really is a privilege to bring that standard of healthcare service to Humboldt County,” said Casalez. “We have heard over and over from our medical team how those saved minutes really do save lives.”