CARLISLE — For most residents of Union County it could cost as much as $35,000 to be airlifted to an area trauma center by the Regional One helicopter, but that’s not the case for residents of the Town of Carlisle who can now get the service for free.
On Thursday, April 13, Regional One landed on a field adjacent to the Carlisle Town Hall. It was not there to airlift someone to medical treatment, but to take part in the Town of Carlisle’s Community Membership Day. The event was an opportunity for residents of the town to learn more about Regional One and about the company that owns it, Regional Air Med Care and the services it provides. It was also an opportunity for residents to receive information on how they could upgrade the coverage they have recently received through an agreement the town entered into with the company.
“They sent their representative out to talk to us,” Mayor Mary Ferguson-Glenn said about the origins of the agreement between Carlisle and Air Med Care. “She told us about the program and how beneficial it would be to the citizens. So after talking with council we decided that we (the town) would pay for the service.”
Ferguson-Glenn said the agreement between Carlisle and Air Med Care “covers any citizen within the town limits of Carlisle. It covers their transportation by air to the nearest trauma facility which in this area is Spartanburg Regional.”
The agreement with Air Med Care costs the town $1,400 a year, an amount that is not even one-tenth of what it can cost an individual to be transported by Regional One out of the county.
“It can normally cost $25,000 to $35,000,” Ferguson-Glenn said.
Given the potential cost of air medevac, Ferguson-Glenn said the cost of the agreement to the town is well worth it to provide such a benefit to the residents of Carlisle.
“We felt this is something we can do for the citizens,” Ferguson-Glenn said. “We thought it was a reasonable cost for that service.”
This was the backdrop for Community Awareness Day which included a visit by Regional One whose crew — Pilot Jim Biddle, Flight Nurse Heather Auton, and Flight Paramedic Chad Kellum — met with residents and talked with them about the helicopter, its equipment, and what they are trained to do in transporting a patient by air. Also present was Marilyn Ingle, Membership Sales Manager for the Air Med Care Network, who was there to provide residents with more information about the service being provided them through the town’s agreement with her company and how they could upgrade it at minimal cost to themselves.
Ingle said that while the Town of Carlisle has purchased coverage for its residents for air medevac by Regional One from Union County at no cost for the residents, the upgrade offered by Air Med Care would given them access to transport by all of the company’s 262 types of aircraft in 33 states at no out of pocket cost for just $35 a year per household or family.
For more information about Air Med Care and the services it provides contact Marilyn Ingle at 864-415-1899.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.