October 24, 2017

Chair’s Message

Friends and Colleagues,

Another year has slipped past us and our industry continues to make headlines. Some of those headlines are the kind we all love to read and tweet about, the amazing saves and odds defied, the great work and excellent care provided by our teams.  Joyful reunions and happy photo ops. Then there are the not so flattering headlines, the alarming rise in the cost of air medical transport, questions about billing practices and the value and necessity of air transport. Headlines that question our motivation and ethics. Tough questions. And finally, the very worst headlines, the horrible pictures that haunt our nightmares, the neatly folded flight suits and carefully placed helmets, the agony of the families of the victims, the gut wrenching sorrow that steals the air from our lungs and makes us beg God to keep all our colleagues safe every day and to not have today be our worst day. Those headlines motivate us to move the needle ever closer to that vision Zero, a challenge that is made ever more difficult by the financial constraints and stark realities of running a Helicopter Air Ambulance service. 

As these issues about cost, quality, safety and utility of air transport become ever more prominent in our national conversation, it is critically important that the voices and vision of our physician leadership are heard. By this statement, I include not only my fellow Medical Directors, but the EM physicians who utilize our transport services. As Helicopter Air Ambulance services, we can and should be held to the very highest standards of clinical care, because that is what we bring to the table, the ability to bring clinical skill and critical care interventions to the patient wherever they may be. Our peers and our patients have the right to expect consistency in HAA providers. To my fellow rural Emergency Medicine Physicians, I encourage you to hold us accountable and call us out when we fail provide that excellent care and to my fellow Medical Directors, I encourage you to keep fighting the good fight for your crews and patients despite all the challenges you face.

As I finish my time as Chair, I would like to thank my fellow officers and colleagues for their support. We all have many responsibilities and I appreciate all of your time and efforts. I would like to congratulate all the many entities involved in recrafting and finalizing the joint position statement on Medical Transport Advertising, Marketing and Brokering including the combined efforts of the American College of Emergency Physicians, the National Association of EMS Physicians®, the Air Medical Physician Association, the Association of Air Medical Services, and the National Association of State EMS Officials. In particular, my thanks to Dr. Stuhlmiller for his support and guidance and wish the best of luck to Dr. McGinnis as he begins his tenure and I assume the best seat in the house. I look forward to seeing everyone at the section meeting this year at ACEP 2017 our Air Medical Transport Section Meeting will be held Sunday, October 29 from 09:30 AM - 11:00 AM.

Slán abhaile.

Rose Haisler, DO, FACEP