Saturday, April 11, 2009

Emergency Policy

Now that I'll be moving to Connecticut to further my medical education, I've tried to start paying attention to health policy in that state. An article in the New York Times today sated my weekly appetite for such information. The punchline is that in this difficult budget cycle, the governor of CT (M. Jodi Rell) has proposed cutting state support to the state's only emergency flight system. LifeStar is headquartered in Hartford, but as this map shows, conducts about 250 flights a year to the Yale-New Haven Hospital.

If the cuts are approved, there will be financial capacity for only about half of the flights now made. The governor's office cites that this program is run from a private hospital as a reason to be included in the cuts. The problem with this reasoning is that there is no other service in the state making this kind of transport. According to the article, legislators on an appropriations subcommittee recently recommended restoring the entire $1.4 million that was cut. Even so, I think it's reasonable to engage in discussions about the cost of emergency transport. It seems to me the $9000 per flight cost is worth saving a life.

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