Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

Continued Opposition to Good Helicopter EMS in Maryland

In the Maryland House of Delegates work group actions on SB 650 and SB 764, there seems to be the intent to keep MSP (Maryland State Police) Aviation in charge of HEMS (Helicopter EMS) in Maryland. This will bring MSP Aviation closer to the quality of private HEMS companies, but still with only one ALS (Advanced Life Support) provider. Apparently the deficiencies of MSP Aviation are so great that the legislature can only handle some of them at one time.

The recommendations, which were voted on yesterday afternoon and will be passed along to three House committees today, also call for state police to retrofit their helicopters with safety features, enhance flight standards to meet those of commercial medevac companies, add a second pilot to each flight and begin purchasing a new fleet of helicopters. In addition, the recommendations call for establishing a joint legislative oversight committee to continue the work group’s efforts.[1]

In spite of all of these improvements – improvements that would not be needed if MSP Aviation were up to the standards of private HEMS companies – MSP Aviation will still be far behind the private companies in what may be the most important quality indicator.

The work group recommended that the program seek accreditation from a national trade organization if money is available in the fiscal 2011 budget. That would require state police to add a second medical provider to medical flights, at a cost of about $2.26 million a year.[1]

Although they are supposed to deal with the most unstable patients in the state, MSP Aviation acts as if they are the Texas Rangers. One riot, one Ranger. Patient care does not work that way.

Maryland residents will have to wait to have MSP Aviation improved to the level of the rest of the country.

Maryland residents will have to wait to have MSP Aviation improved to the level of the rest of the world.

Until they do, MSP Aviation will continue to be an embarrassment to EMS.

“In the end, I think we validated that the system is good. It’s not broken,” said Del. John L. Bohanan Jr. (D-St. Mary’s), the group’s chairman.[1]

Brian Slack
Those opposed to the two bills show their support for the status quo at a rally at the state house.

It seems that what is important to the chairman of the Maryland House of Delegates work group is satisfying the protesters. He is even using their words. Is he a marionette? How much more broken would it have to be for him to stand up to the welfare queens?

MacGyver would be proud of what they have done with millions of dollars of duct tape. Of course, MacGyver only created temporary solutions. He only had a one hour episode, including commercials. The Maryland House of Delegates work group has the rest of their constituents’ lives.

The group has recommended further evaluating triage procedures to reduce the number of unnecessary flights. That effort is strongly supported by Del. Dan K. Morhaim (D-Baltimore County), an emergency room doctor and work group member who has questioned spending millions of dollars on new helicopters and other equipment while other health initiatives go unfunded.

“For a long time, we have been flying too many patients,” Morhaim said. “There are very simple protocol changes that can reduce that number.”[1]

At least someone seems to get it.

Why does it take a fatal crash to get the legislature to force MSP Aviation to improve?

Why does MSP Aviation always fight improvements?

This isn’t about MSP Aviation.

This is about the patients.

Would somebody please tell that to MSP Aviation.


^ 1 Legislative Panel Calls for Cuts in Copters, Bases
By Jenna Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 10, 2009; Page B04

There are several other articles on this:

Legislative panel endorses state police control of medevac fleet
Changes sought include new helicopters, higher certification levels
By Gadi Dechter
March 10, 2009
The Baltimore Sun

Panel endorses state police-run medevac
Astle pledges to keep pushing for changes
By Liam Farrell, Staff Writer
Published 03/10/09

Panel: Add Extra Pilot, Medic To Medevac Missions
Reporting Mary Bubala
Mar 10, 2009 7:33 am US/Eastern

Panel Suggests Tighter Certification For Medevacs
Posted: 6:37 pm EDT March 9, 2009
UpdatedD: 6:39 pm EDT March 9, 2009
WBAL Baltimore