The first fixed-wing, i.e. airplane, air medical ambulance in Kentucky, which was based at the Williamsburg-Whitley County Airport, has moved.
Joe Bradshaw, program director for Air Evac Lifeteam’s Williamsburg base and a member of the Williamsburg-Whitley County Airport Board, said the fixed-wing aircraft moved on Aug. 10.
Bradshaw said that the biggest contributing factor was The Affordable Care Act and changes to reimbursement rates for the service.
The actual airplane went to Texas while various contracts and other assets went to Cincinnati where Bradshaw noted that “new opportunities” have opened up.
While the company doesn’t officially have a fixed-wing base there, it does have a jet aircraft that operates at that location and uses some employees from the helicopter base to supplement the airplane operation.
Bradshaw said there were no job loses as a result of the transfer of the airplane.
The pilots are still employed elsewhere in the company and there were openings at the Williamsburg helicopter base that the medics and nurses transferred to.
Air Evac Lifeteam first opened a helicopter base at the Williamsburg-Whitley County Airport in 2008.
In July 2011, one of the company’s fixed-wing air medical ambulances became based in at the Williamsburg-
Whitley County Airport and was the first fixed-wing air ambulance base in Kentucky.
Currently there are rumors circulating that Air Evac is going to move its helicopter base to Baptist Health Hospital in Corbin.
“That is all a big rumor. There is nothing signed. To my knowledge, there are no contracts,” Bradshaw said.
Like any business, Air Evac is always looking for new and better business opportunities and has discussions with other businesses, he noted.
Bradshaw said that moving the location of a base is a decision, which would be made by people in a much higher position than himself.
Bradshaw added that he can’t say the location of the base would never move, but to his knowledge there is nothing happening.
Air Evac employees about 14 people at its Williamsburg base, including four nurses, four medics, four pilots, a mechanic, and one part-time employee.