EMS World

AUG 2018

EMS World Magazine is the most authoritative source in the world for clinical and educational material designed to improve the delivery of prehospital emergency medical care.

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THE OPIOID CRISIS 30 AUGUST 2018 | EMSWORLD.com R ecent reports of exorbitant health- care bills for air medical transport services—often levied on individu- al families—have called into ques- tion the role of air transport in select clinical cases, as well as the motives of insurance companies and air ambulance providers. But while it's a system often criticized, fo r s o m e ad vo c ate s , h elico pter EMS (HEMS) fulfills a necessar y role that sim- ply cannot be filled by ground transport operations. According to the Association of Air Medical Ser vices (AAMS), due to the continuing closures of rural hospitals, 85 million Americans now live more than an hour from the closest Level I or Level II trauma center, requiring critically ill and injured patients to be transpor ted over much longer distances with ICU levels of care. This makes emergency air medical ser vice s the only acce s s to definitive health treatments, AAMS says. "Sustainability of HEMS is ver y person- al to me," says Kevin Hutton, MD, a vet- eran flight physician, past board member of the Air Medical Physician Association (AMPA), past secretar y of AAMS, and past chair of the MedEvac Foundation Inter- national, a Washington, D.C.-based non- profit that supports research, education, and outreach programs in the air medical transportation arena. Having practiced in centers as diverse as critical access hos- pitals and village clinics in the Bahamas, Hutton has a unique perspective on air ambulance utilization. "There are area s in our own countr y where a pickup truck and a well-meaning volunteer responder is still considered EMS, and ground capabilit y for critical care transpor ts simply isn't there," says Hutton. "You'll never be able to replicate what an air ser vice can of fer in these super-rural locations." His data shows that even urban systems rely on air ambu- lances due to traffic congestion, hospital overcapacity, specialist preference and the lack of appropriate ground transport. Hutton is CEO and founder of Golden Hour Data Systems, a San Diego, Calif.- based information system and revenue cycle management company that sup- p o r t s e m e r ge n c y m e d i c al tr a n s p o r t operations and financial management. "I've been keenly interested in data sharing since the early 1990s," says Hut- ton, adding that Golden Hour has a con- tractual data-sharing arrangement with customers that allows the company to aggregate data sets. Through the com- pany's af filiated Air Medical Research Institute, Hutton's team is busy looking at a wide range of diagnoses, patient demo- graphics, locations, and more to capture a picture of air emergency operations in the United States. By Jonathan Bassett Photo: Lauralee Veitch AIR MEDICAL SERVICES: WHAT DOES THE DATA SHOW? Transport records compiled by PCR services are forming a more complete picture of the value of air ambulances

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