February 24, 2014

Ambulance Inc. shakes up flight services

Disagreement with Air Methods leads to new policy


Ambulance Inc. of Laurel County has made PHI Air Medical their first call for air service. The county’s ambulance service notified the 9-1-1 board of their decision during a brief meeting Wednesday morning.

Prior to this new agreement, Ambulance Inc. primarily used Air Methods, also based in the London-Corbin Airport. According to Susan Carpenter, senior vice president of Ambulance Inc., the decision comes in the wake of a disagreement with Air Methods.

“We’ve always had a policy about calling the closest available air transport.”

Ambulance Inc. alleged Air Methods would often call teams within their own company who were too far away to be effective in an emergency, instead of calling the closest team, regardless of the company.

“You can’t do that. It delays patient care,” she said.

The new agreement with PHI has been in the works for about a month.

“We’ve put it into writing this past week” Carpenter said.  “It’s going to save dispatch a lot of time, time (that is) precious to people who need emergency care. Time is the most important thing in an emergency.”

Per the written agreement, PHI Air Medical in the London-Corbin Airport will be their go-to transport when a flight crew needs to be sent to an accident or emergency. If PHI has no vehicles available, PHI will then contact crews, even those outside their company, who are the closest to the scene of the accident.

Companies who are based at the London-Corbin Airport will be contacted first; those in Somerset and Monticello, the furthest away, will be called last.

The order of the call list is as follows:

PHI, London

Air Methods, London

Air Evac, Manchester

Air Evac, Williamsburg

Air Methods, Somerset

PHI, Monticello

9-1-1 Board Chairman Larry Vanhook confirmed the board was informed of the new protocol but did not feel there was any need for board action.

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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
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