Red Bay town leaders look into medical flight membership

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RED BAY, Ala. (WHNT) -  Leaders in Red Bay are looking into a service that could help save lives and save their residents some money.

They want to purchase a membership to help cover the costs of emergency medical flights.

The AirMedCare Network offers site plans to rural municipalities.

"The municipal site plan covers all of the residents in a municipality in the event they find themselves in need of air transportation," said Christopher Willis with AirMedCare. "If these residents are flown from that municipality Air Evac or Airmedcare network service provider, they will not owe a bill. Air Evac takes what their insurance pays and considers it payment in full."

That plan would be like purchasing a membership that covers all the people of Red Bay if they ever need an emergency medical flight.

"There's a possibility you'll never use it, explained Red Bay Mayor David Tiffin. "But, you know, if you ever need it, certainly you don't  have to take out a loan and mortgage the house."

The membership would cost the town about $18,000. If a resident of Red Bay requires a medical flight, they will be covered if the flight is out of Franklin County.

"If they want to get coverage outside of their Municipal Site Plan area the upgrade is $35, instead of regular household membership that is $65 a year per household. That upgrade covers 28 States and 232 plus helicopter bases across the nation," Willis explained.

Medical flights on average are about $28,000. Without a membership, generally you'll be paying out-of-pocket.

"It's very expensive, it's extremely expensive," Mayor Tiffin stressed. "The average worker could just not afford something like that."

Willis said selling AirMedCare memberships is a lifestyle, one he takes very seriously.

me12"With high bills we have to consider poor outcomes. What if a parent or child doesn't come home and a bill is generated and has to be paid on for years. Thats where it gets personal to me," he said.

Although town councilmen are in agreement they want to purchase the plan, Mayor Tiffin said they didn't budget for the service this year. However he feels the membership will be included in next year's budget.

"We at Air Evac understand how tough meeting the expectations of budgets can be in the towns we serve," Willis said. "It gives us a great honor to reach out to Red Bay with this and while not immediately, we look forward to covering the residents and bringing a sense of comfort to them all at the start of the new fiscal year."

Fayette, Hamilton, Hackleburg, Kennedy and Gordo have recently gotten the Municipal Site Plans and have been very pleased with the savings of their residents. Each plan differs in cost due to population. With the cost of one flight, it is a drop in the bucket to the savings everyone gets in the community.

The Shoals area currently has 38,000 combined memberships issued. Willis said the Shoals area is the largest producer of memberships in the nation.