Central Oregon’s largest hospital says it’s getting out of the air ambulance business. St. Charles Medical Center says it will close down its Airlink program June 15th. But others are waiting in the wings hoping to scoop that business up.
St. Charles Redmond and Pioneer Memorial Hospital CEO, Bob Gomes says the Airlink program has been around for more than a quarter century.
In that time, it’s shuttled the critically ill and injured into Bend from as far away as Idaho. But Gomes says over the last few years industry changes and along with the increasing capabilities of paramedics on the ground have made the economics untenable.
“The bottom line for this program for St. Charles is we’re going to lose $1.5 million this year. And that’s really what is the big driving factor. There’s got to be a better way to do this.”
Gomes thinks the answer is to leave the flying to aviation companies. The hospital is selling its aircraft to Louisiana-based Metro Aviation.
That company, along with Texas-based MedTrans will form a new venture under the old name of Airlink. A second company, Life Flight Network opened in Redmond this February.