Life Flight Network celebrates 40 years, offers discounted membership
SPOKANE, Wash. — You’ve probably seen their helicopters fly over your house, or land on the roof of Sacred Heart Medical Center.
Life Flight Network, the largest not-for-profit air medical transport service in the United States, is celebrating 40 years of service to communities across Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana.
“Most people don’t know anything about Life Flight until they need it,” said Dominic Pomponio, regional director and flight nurse with more than 10 years experience. “You come to work and you don’t know what your day is going to be like. You don’t know where you’re going to be flying every time, or the patients you’re going to be taking care of.”
Pomponio said the company handles about 10,000 transports each year. 550 employees at 25 stations throughout the Northwest operate 24/7. Life Flight Network’s core mission is to provide ICU-level critical care transportation to ill or injured patients in a safe, and expeditious manner – but that comes at a high cost.
Multi-million dollar helicopters and planes require maintenance, and onboard medical equipment can run six-figures. That, on top of salary costs for pilots, flight nurses, and administrators.
“It’s not uncommon to have a $20,000-$30,000 bill for a flight,” Pomponio said.
Even if you have insurance, out of pocket costs can total thousands of dollars. But there’s good news – Life Flight offers memberships, and during its 40th year anniversary, new members can sign up for $40 annual memberships. The special runs through Labor Day – it is not available in Montana due to state regulations.
Members incur no out-of-pocket expense if flown for medically necessary emergent conditions by Life Flight Network or one of their reciprocal partners. Membership covers the primary membership holder, their spouse or domestic partner, and dependents claimed on their income tax return. Elderly and disabled family members living in the same household can also be covered. Memberships are typically $65.
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