It's 2009 Now-Whatever Happened to the FBI Investigation into Air-Evac Helicopters?


It's 2009 Now-Whatever Happened to the FBI Investigation into Air-Evac Helicopters?

25 January 2009 at 1:44:02 PM

From a writing here in 2007.  Here's from Whistleblower Law Blog.

Air Evac Lifeteam has grown their business by focusing on servicing communities in rural areas. They sell minimal annual subscriptions under $100. When the subscriber needs emergency medical attention, they call Air Evac instead of 911.  This is economical compared to the cost of an ambulance ride.  How does Air Evac make their money?  They bill the private insurance company, Medicare or Medicaid for anywhere between $5000 - $10,000 for the helicopter ride to the hospital.  I know this is a premium, service, but this price seems expensive for the service. 

Time will tell if the FBI investigation will uncover a Qui Tam claim for Medicare or Medicaid or even false billing evidence against Air Evac Lifeteam. 

Anybody know what is going on with this case?

As a side note, in case you were wondering, here's the upshots into investigations about Air-Evac crashes.

From Nov 2008

But in the past 12 months, Air Evac has had two major disasters.

In August, an Air Evac helicopter crashed Indiana killing three people and last December another Air Evac crash in Alabama also claimed three lives.

In the past 10 years, Air Evac has had a total of four fatal accidents and another 11 accidents in which the crew and passengers survived.

It's a record that is more than worrisome to Congressman Jason Altmire.

"They have a record that is certainly at the low end of the industry.  They have in almost every case of the accidents that they've had, they've been avoidable, and that what's most troubling," he said.

January 16, 2009-Pilot error cited in Air Evac Crash in Colber County, AL (Here's the link to the NTSB press release)

The transportation safety board report, released Thursday, lists a loss of tail-rotor effectiveness as contributing to the accident that occurred near Cherokee. The report comes on the heels of a yearlong investigation.

The three aboard the helicopter - pilot Michael Baker, paramedic Allan Bragwell and flight nurse Tiffany Miles - were killed when the helicopter plunged into a wooded area and exploded.

From January 2008-Flagstaff crash

As a side note, read this article about this goofy Southern Arizona firechief who saw nothing wrong with both WORKING for one helicopter company and then only CALLING THEM TO go to a crash!

In Southeastern Arizona, three companies offer air ambulance services: LifeNet, Air Evac, and Arizona Lifeline.

They've agreed on a process to make sure the closest helicopter responds to an accident.

Local emergency responders contact dispatch center Tucson MEDS, who then sends the closest helicopter company to the accident.

But in a December 5th crash near Whetstone, that protocol was not followed.

Tucson Meds Dispatch: "Did you put in the original request for the helicopters?

Local Dispatch: "No I did not, it was Whetstone command."

Instead of alerting Tucson MEDS dispatch, Whetstone Fire Chief Peter Bidon directly called Arizona Lifeline... an air ambulance company he works for.

It sent two helicopters, each about 50 miles away from the scene.

More regulation is likely for the helo industry.

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1 - hweitzsacker   30 Jun 2010 @ 10:36:20 PM 

Air Evac does NOT have members call us rather than 911! First responders are VITAL to flights seeing how flights CANNOT happen without the referral of a medical professional. Get your facts straight before you post information. 

2 - salon   1 Jul 2010 @ 12:17:25 AM 

Your beef is with Whistleblower Law, which was quoted. If they are incorrect, let them know.

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