City to subsidize emergency transportation program
Citizens can buy air-ground membership w. AirMedCare
By John Mullen
The City of Gulf Shores is going to spend about $163,000 in a public-private partnership to provide an air and ground emergency transportation membership program for residents starting in 2020.
Residents would be able to pay $45 a year – $35 for those 60 and older – in a membership with AirMedCare company. (Info: 800- 793-0010).
They would then receive no bills for transport in an emergency situation as long as one of the company’s aircraft or ambulances respond to your home or accident scene. MedStar is part of the company and covers the entire county with the exception of Orange Beach which has its own ambulance service.
AirMedCare operates two aircraft in the county and is the primary provider for emergency air service. Two other services owned by Air Methods have helicopters based in Semmes and Pensacola and back up AirMedCare if both of their helicopters are in service.
With passage of the resolution through an amendment to the 2020 budget the service will be available to residents on Oct. 1.
“They are the exclusive ground ambulance provider in Baldwin County, who also operates two medical helicopters,” according to a city report.
“Together we have found a solution that we feel will greatly benefit the citizens of Gulf Shores who live within the corporate limits. Residents would be covered under an AirMedCare Network membership when transported by Medstar Air Care 1 and Medstar Emergency Medical services Global Medical Response.”
It’s not insurance but a membership AirMedCare’s Wes McAden said. And the coverage is good for a Gulf Shores member anywhere in the county. It covers everyone living at the address where the membership is signed up for.
“The city was looking for a solution in terms of how to help with the high cost of air ambulance service and that kind of rolled over into the cost associated with ground ambulance service as well,” McAden told the council at a Sept. 16 work session. “The air side of it we’ve done numerous times. The ground component is something that relatively new in terms of combining it with the air membership.”
McAden said two companies AirMedCare is a subsidiary of are Air Medical Group Holdings which is the largest air medical network in the world and American Medical Response is the largest ground ambulance provider in the United States.
Mayor Robert Craft said the plan is another way of giving Gulf Shores citizens advanced health care. The city is now working with South Baldwin Regional Medical Hospital to build a freestanding emergency room in Gulf Shores near the airport.
“This is an advantage for living in the City of Gulf Shores,” Craft said. “We’ve made some significant strides for families with kids that live in Gulf Shores and opportunities that didn’t exist previously. As our folks tend to grow more families and create a more family-friendly place to live this is a way to layer on that for families in the city limits that do not have kids.”
During the meeting, the council also:
• OK’d changes in the city code concerning micro-breweries and brewpubs to align with changes in Alabama regulating the businesses. The definition is changed to manufacturer of liquor, beer and/or wine. It removes the requirement for brewpubs to be located in a historic district or in an economically distressed area. Lastly, it removes the size of equipment and production limitations.
• Amended city code to make it illegal for seaplanes to land on Little Lagoon.
• Passed a resolution allowing Sky Warriors Flight Training to provide flight instruction for the Navy Initial Flight School Program currently provided by others. The city will receive 2 percent of the gross revenues or a minimum of $100 per month. The contract starts Oct. 1.
• Set the court dates for the Municipal Court of Gulf Shores for 2020.
• OK’d the assembly permit on Oct. 1 for the Gulf Shores Police Department’s annual National Night Out at Pelican Place.
• OK’d the assembly permit for the 48th Annual National Shrimp Festival.