Cham­ber Learns About Mercy Life Line Air Med­i­cal Ser­vices

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - AGRICULTURE/ BUSINESS - By Lynn Kut­ter

PRAIRIE GROVE — A rep­re­sen­ta­tive with Mercy Life Line Air Med­i­cal Ser­vices re­cently talked to mem­bers of Prairie Grove Cham­ber of Com­merce about the ben­e­fits of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the ser­vice’s mem­ber­ship pro­gram plan.

The air am­bu­lance pro­gram has been in ser­vice for 31 years but the mem­ber­ship plan is only about 1 1/2 years old, said Michael Cos­grove, mem­ber­ship mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ist and speaker for the Cham­ber’s Feb. 25 meet­ing.

Mercy Life Line Air Med­i­cal Ser­vice has five ad­vanced he­li­copters, with the clos­est one in Rogers. Oth­ers are lo­cated in Mis­souri. The air­craft has the abil­ity to fly in a broad spec­trum of weather con­di­tions and flies up to a speed of 150 mph, the fastest in the re­gion, ac­cord- ing to Cos­grove.

“Many times he­li­copters are grounded be­cause of cloudy con­di­tions,” he said. “Th­ese have in­stru­ments that are more closely as­so­ci­ated with fixed wing air­craft.” Cost to join the mem­ber­ship pro­gram is $59 per house­hold per year or $160 for three years. If a mem­ber uses the ser­vice, the pa­tient will not have any out-of-pocket costs for the air ser­vice. What­ever a per­son’s in­sur­ance pays for the ser­vice takes care of the bill, Cos­grove said.

The mem­ber­ship pro­gram also has a busi­ness dis­count rate when 10 or more em­ploy­ees from a busi­ness join the pro­gram. The busi­ness dis­count rate is $ 49 an­nu­ally per house­hold.

The av­er­age cost for a med­i­cal he­li­copter is $25,000-$ 35,000, typ­i­cally with in­sur­ance pay­ing 80 per­cent and the pa­tient 20 per­cent. Cos­grove said Mercy views it­self as a char­ity or­ga­ni­za­tion and bills 20-30 per­cent less than other air am­bu­lance ser­vices but the cost is still ex­pen­sive.

In an­swer­ing ques­tions, Mike ac­knowl­edged that if a per­son was a mem­ber of Mercy Life Line Air Ser­vice but an­other air am­bu­lance was called in for an emer­gency, Mercy Air would not pro­vide pay­ment. Cov­er­age is not trans­fer­able from one air ser­vice to an­other. In some cases, he said peo­ple join both ser­vices in an area to make sure their trans­porta­tion costs will be cov­ered.

Other at­tributes of the ser­vice, he said, are that Mercy al­lows par­ents to fly with their chil­dren, mem­bers do not have to have a Mercy in­sur­ance plan and do not have to be flown to a Mercy fa­cil­ity.

For more in­for­ma­tion on a mem­ber­ship, call 844-6372928 or go to mercy. net/ life­line.

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