Medevac Panel Recommendations

A panel of lawmakers is recommending Maryland’s medevac program should receive funding to comply with tighter federal regulations as applied to commercial programs and phase in the cost of an extra pilot. The panel also is recommending that the Maryland State Police pursue certification that requires two paramedics to fly on a helicopter. It is estimated that would cost about $2.3-million a year. Today, only one paramedic participates in a single medevac flight. The group was convened last month to review Maryland’s emergency medical services system as the General Assembly examines ways to improve the state’s medevac system after a recent fatal crash. Due to stricter self-imposed standards, the number of medevac flights has dropped in half since the crash.

Senator EJ Pipkin has introduced three bills that would split the fleet into medical and law enforcement, allow for private companies to bid for the medical, and force tougher new safety standards. Pipkin also wants a cabinet-level post for a Department of Emergency Medical Services. Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Terrence Sheridan says the way the choppers are used now is the most efficient way.