The Hill: Preserving access to life-saving air medical services

By Mike Allen

In today’s America, 115 million people – one in three people – live in rural areas where getting urgent medical care for events like cardiac emergencies, stroke, and trauma is extremely difficult due to the fact that appropriate medical facilities are so far away. Since 1990, more than 22% of America’s hospitals have closed. According to the Center for Rural Affairs, rural hospitals have been closing at a rate of nearly one per month since 2010.

Getting timely, appropriate medical care is deadly serious. Trauma doctors refer to the first hour after a traumatic injury as the “Golden Hour” because during this critical window, the right kind of medical care can lead to vastly better outcomes with regard to saving lives and preserving quality of life. 85 million Americans who live more than one hour from a hospital with a Level 1 or Level 2 trauma center by ground transport can access these centers within the Golden Hour because of air medical services. For these Americans there is literally no way to get appropriate emergency care without air transport.