Privatizing Medevac Helicopters Bad For Rural Maryland

A hearing was held last week on Senate Bill 649 which would privatize Maryland’s medevac services. Volunteer fire fighters and rural legislators such as Delegate Jeannie Haddaway-Riccio are opposing the bill for fear that it would have negative impacts on rural areas of the State. Under the current system, the Maryland State Police transport approximately 11,000 patients each year. About 5,000 of those patients are flown to trauma centers. Private air ambulance companies are used as a back up. Under the proposed system in Senate Bill 649, all of the transports would be privatized. “My primary concern is that private companies will focus on regions with a concentration of population because that is where they will make the most money,” Haddaway said. ”That will leave rural residents without access to emergency care and trauma care at a time when every second counts.” The bill is in the Senate Finance Committee pending a vote.