I went to a Glen Rose Town Council meeting earlier this week in which the idea was broached by the mayor, Pam Miller, about making memberships for Air Evac helicopter memberships mandatory for all Glen Rose citizens. (Video at that link) Apparently Air Evac had pitched this behind the scenes but no representatives were there to speak on their own. Darrell, code enforcement officer, mentioned that the problem with mandatory memberships (besides the obvious reasons) are that emergency response centers are going to send whichever service is available first and you cannot say I Want Thus and So service only. So you could end up being billed for a service you don't have.
That's what happened to someone in Kerr County.
Kerr County commissioners are alerting constituents that two air ambulance firms offer member discounts in the Hill Country, and helicopter service for non-members can be pricey.
Complicating the emergency responder calculus is the fact there's no guarantee which provider will be summoned in any given crisis.
For example, resident Heidi McCord said she insisted on being flown by Air Evac Lifeteam — with which she'd bought a membership as insurance — after she was in a car wreck Dec. 30.
“I really thought, ‘For once in my life, I'm covered for something,'” McCord recalled at Monday's commissioners meeting.
However, she said, paramedics didn't heed her demand and she's now saddled with a $16,000 bill from San Antonio AirLife.
Now, Kerr County did much the same thing as what the City of Glen Rose was proposing, except for county workers and sans the Mandatory
The issue landed before commissioners due to other constituent gripes, and because last fall they voted to allow county workers to take payroll deductions to become “members” of AirLife, making them eligible for deep discounts.
For $10 a year, a price offered entities generating 100 or more members, AirLife will fly members to a hospital for no additional out-of-pocket costs. More than 185 county workers signed up before commissioners realized a similar program was offered by Air Evac, and that the two firms don't honor each other's memberships.
A reader last night said that Air Evac was not asking that the city make the memberships mandatory. But if you listen to the video, as Miller is talking about it, that's how it was pitched. If Air Evac was saying something different, where were they? And where was their competition to pitch it as well?