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Posted by: thepinetree on 06/10/2017 07:48 PM Updated by: thepinetree on 06/10/2017 07:48 PM
Expires: 01/01/2022 12:00 AM

Access to Emergency Air Ambulance Service at Risk

Sacramento, CA...Today, members of California’s network of emergency air medical providers are assessing how dramatically their ability to care for patients will be impacted if one of their primary sources of funding is not renewed by the California Legislature. The Emergency Medical Air Transportation Act (EMATA) was established in 2010 to specifically fund emergency air ambulance services by placing a $4 fee on moving violations. The EMATA program sunsets on December 31, 2017, unless renewed by the Legislature. Legislation introduced by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg) that would extend the sunset for this crucial fund is currently stalled in the Assembly.

The fee generates approximately $8 million for California’s emergency medical helicopter network, and allows the state to receive an additional $8 million in matching funds from the federal government. Without this funding, air medical bases are at risk of closure.

“We recognize that the fees being tacked on to traffic tickets have become excessive, but without a funding source, we risk making these services, that are often the difference between life and death, available to only the wealthy and privileged,” said Asm. Wood. “We must find a solution for this critical piece of our state’s infrastructure.”
A significant number of patients transported by emergency air medical services are only covered by California’s Medi-Cal program. The reimbursement rates from Medi-Cal were last adjusted more than 20 years ago. Should the EMATA program be allowed to expire, critical funding that minimizes the gap between Medi-Cal reimbursement and the actual cost of services will be cut by more than half, which could result in reduction of services and even force the closure of air medical bases.

Reduction or elimination of air medical services will disproportionately impact rural areas that do not have immediate access to trauma centers and children’s hospitals throughout the state – putting some of California’s most vulnerable residents at risk.

“In rural areas, emergency helicopters play a vital role in EMS and our ability to get the most critical patients to a hospital in time to save them. Traffic accidents, in places like the roads to Yosemite National Park, present a unique challenge to us, where we are a long way from a trauma center,” said Bill Caldera, EMT-P and chief operations officer, Tuolumne County Ambulance Service. “A $4 fee on moving violations seems like a small price to continue paying to ensure we do not lose access to these lifesaving services.”

Air ambulances also play a critical role in transferring patients from rural and community hospitals to receive trauma care or specialized treatment they may not have access to in their area.

“We strongly support the EMATA program as a way to fund air ambulance services. We have two good community hospitals in Imperial County, but when we have a critically ill or injured patient, we rely heavily on air ambulances to get them to larger hospitals in San Diego or Palm Springs,” said Chuck Peraza, Fire Chief, City of Brawley in Imperial County. “Because it’s like comparing the cost of a cup of coffee to the possibility of losing this lifesaving service, the legislature should act quickly to ensure this program remains intact."

Air medical services are an integral part of California’s emergency response infrastructure throughout the state.
“Access to emergency air transport can mean the difference between life and death for trauma patients, or someone suffering a stroke or cardiac event. For these medical conditions, a few minutes of time can make all the difference,” said Dr. Jim Hinsdale, M.D., San Jose trauma surgeon and former president of the California Medical Association. “Whether you are driving along the North Coast Highway, hiking the Sierras, ATV riding in the Mojave Desert, or simply caught behind gridlock traffic, having an emergency helicopter available can save valuable minutes, and maybe even your life.”

Several organizations support the extension of EMATA, including the California Children's Hospital Association, the California League of Cities, the California Fire Chiefs Association, the California Hospital Association, the Rural County Representatives of California, the California Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Save Our Air Medical Resources (SOAR), and others.

Proponents are asking the Legislature to extend the fee to protect this vital funding.


Comments - Make a comment
The comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for its content. We value free speech but remember this is a public forum and we hope that people would use common sense and decency. If you see an offensive comment please email us at
Ah #$%$^^&*
Posted on: 2017-06-10 20:23:06   By: Anonymous
Ah these brave folks are Angels Of Mercy and directly responsible for saving hundreds of lives in our region a year.

Come on Commiefornia do not shoot your Voter Base in the Foot because it will haunt you come election time.

[Reply ]

    No Subject
    Posted on: 2017-06-11 15:06:36   By: Anonymous

    [Reply ]

Of course!!
Posted on: 2017-06-10 20:31:12   By: Anonymous
Of course! Something that could be needed by ANYONE at ANY TIME - lets stall that - but when it comes to our bennies lets speed that up for sure!!

[Reply ]

    Re: Of course!!
    Posted on: 2017-06-10 21:06:24   By: Anonymous
    But we need that high speed rail down in Bakertucky.....

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2017-06-10 21:53:40   By: Anonymous
Please do all of us a favor, when the next election comes up, let's try something novel, vote out all of the libs, as they continue to screw everyone, coming up with crazy ideas, re: a train that no one will use, I hope you know, it is no longer considered a bullet train, you could nearly walk as fast as it is going to go! Why do people continue to vote for these loser's? One commie agenda after another!

[Reply ]

    Posted on: 2017-06-11 06:28:07   By: Anonymous
    I will never vote Democrat ever again after Oblunder. I would rather write in Ronald Reagan.

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2017-06-11 04:42:20   By: Anonymous
Plain and simple, it start with our Governor, he doesn't give a damn for hillbillies, just the water that originates from the high country and flows down to the chit holes. Those in between are no concern for him, we are small change in his pocket, just pennies, hardly worth anything and thrown in to a jar
Vote and keep them out.

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2017-06-11 09:44:27   By: Anonymous
And yet I suspect many of you are the same ones that didn't want to pay the fire tax/fee. We expect our services in the foothills but expect others will pay for them. Hits a little closer to home for you now, doesn't it?

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2017-06-11 10:15:56   By: Anonymous
But we have $25000 a month to have Eric Holder, the Mexico gun runner on retainer. And money to defend Illegal Aliens from Deportation... Congrats to all that keep voting these Lefties in..

[Reply ]

An Essential Service For Our Area
Posted on: 2017-06-11 10:51:33   By: Anonymous
I count on them to save my life and get me to the hospital when the heck hits the fan. Find another way to keep this necessary service going.

"One commie agenda after another!"
I am a life long democrat and take offense at your comment.
I am a 62 year Citizen of the United States of America.
5th generation Californian. Want to see my papers?
I am not a commie, maybe you are in disguise!

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2017-06-11 13:21:40   By: Anonymous
I like this, about time we start reducing govt.

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2017-06-11 15:07:19   By: Anonymous

[Reply ]

    No Subject
    Posted on: 2017-06-11 18:34:36   By: Anonymous

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2017-06-11 15:41:08   By: Anonymous
I can't resist, your 62 and a lifetime Democrat, and you despise being called a commie, time to register as an independent, either that or D in front of your name signifies DOPE! The Democrat party isn't the one that was around during JFK's time, where have you been? Your party celebrates lawlessness, ex: Berkeley, Portland, Seattle, support for all social things that harm society, ex: 92,000,000 more people on welfare, not to mention telling me I have to bake a cake for John and Roy's wedding, if I don't, they can go to Siera Hill's and buy some Hostess Cupcakes, there are so many things wrong with your party, that they will never win another presidency, so wake up Mr. 5th generation Califorrnian, you are being duped by a bunch of carnival worker's!

[Reply ]

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