Kaiser Permanente Denials of Medical Air Transportation

By now, most Lopezians have heard or read about a number of denials from Kaiser Permanente associated with medical air transport by either Airlift Northwest or Island Air. The situation has impacted residents throughout the County and is part of what’s emerging as a national trend to more closely monitor the necessity of emergency air transport. As is the case with many issues related to the delivery of health care, we are very different here in San Juan County and emergency air transport is an essential component of  care delivery for islanders.

The LIHD Superintendent learned about this emerging situation soon after the start of the year and reached out to Kaiser to better understand what was happening. Over the past two months, Superintendent Presson has been working very closely with Lopez Island Fire & EMS Chief  Havner, Lopez Island County Council Member Jamie Stephens, the San Juan County EMS Medical Director, and various other leaders throughout the County. In addition, Superintendent Presson and Chief Havner have been working with the Board of Health to pursue a remedy, as the Board became very concerned with the implications on public health should this trend continue. There was a very informative discussion at the February 20th Board of Health meeting, which included representatives from both Airlift Northwest and Island Air. Click on the Board of Health meetings to access their videos.

At this time, the physician leadership from the County and Kaiser Permanente are scheduled to meet in the coming week. Their discussion will include a review of the cases in question as well as the processes in place that ensure every medical air transport in the County is at the direction of an emergency medical professional.

The LIHD continues to closely monitor the situation and will provide updates as they become available. For anyone who has experienced an air transport denial, both air operators have customer service representatives to assist you. Please contact either Airlift Northwest at 866-245-4373, or Island Air at 360-378-2376. In addition, Lopezians are encouraged to contact Lopez Fire & EMS for assistance.

2 thoughts on “Kaiser Permanente Denials of Medical Air Transportation

    1. apresson

      As you can imagine, there are a variety of factors in play and a process to be effective in dealing with an organization the size of Kaiser Permanente. That said, numerous leaders from the Lopez and SJ County have been working with Kaiser to expedite resolution. There is a meeting at the end of this week with the Medical Directors from both the County and Kaiser, and I expect to have more details to share early next week. I will continue to post updates here and will be attending and sharing information from the Board of Health meetings. This will also remain a topic of discussion at the LIHD Board meetings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s