ENTERPRISE – There will soon be a change in the air ambulance provider for Wallowa County residents and Wallowa Memorial Hospital.

The new provider, which will also manage the ground/air transport membership program, will be Life Flight Networks (LFN). It will take over from the current manager, AirLink, effective June 1.

All members of the Wallowa County EMS FireMed ground membership and the current air ambulance program – for which residents pay a yearly fee – received a May 9 letter signed by Michael Griffiths, CEO of LFN, and Dave Harman, CEO/administrator of Wallowa County Health Care District (WCHCD), which outlines the change.

All current local FireMed members will receive renewal notices from LFN prior to their expiration date. Members with contracts that expire June 1 can expect to receive a renewal from LFN in a few weeks; their current membership will be extended to June 30.

The reason for the change in the air ambulance provider and program manager is that AirLink, formerly a nonprofit, has been purchased by a private owner and would no longer have reciprocal agreements with other air services in the region, according to Linda Childers, head of WCHCD human resources.

LFN is an Oregon-based, not-for-profit air medical service owned by a consortium of four “world-class” health institutions, according to the letter sent to local FireMed members. It has 13 bases in Oregon, Idaho and Washington, and has reciprocal agreements with numerous other air services in the region. Its closest bases are Lewiston, Idaho, and La Grande.

According to Tim Peck, head of EMS, the annual membership for ground ambulance is $50. Peck said that ground ambulance transportation charges for an emergency call range from $800 to $2,000, depending on needed services. The annual FireMed membership covers all after-insurance expenses.

For more information, contact the LFN membership office in Aurora, 800-982-9299, email or visit www.lifeflight.org.

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