Green: Emergency rules still needed to tackle fallout from air ambulance crash
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Gov. Josh Green extended an air ambulance emergency proclamation for 10 days due to the continued fallout from a medical air transport plane crash earlier this month.
Hawaii Life Flight, the state’s only private air ambulance operator, placed its fleet of seven turboprop aircraft on safety stand down after one of its flights with a crew of three went missing off Maui 12 days ago.
“We are gradually making the transition back to full service,” Gren said.
“But we did have to use the emergency rules so that we could cover the whole state.”
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Since Dec. 16, the state has deployed two helicopters and one of its planes while the U.S. Coast Guard is using one of its C-130 aircraft to fill the gap.
Hawaii Life Flight also brought in two of its jets from the mainland during the emergency period, which lasts until Jan. 6.
Green said 52 neighbor island patients have been transported to Oahu hospitals during the emergency period.
“I extended it 10 days today mostly because the personnel that are on the jets that Hawaii Life Flight brought in needed to have credentialing,” Green said.
“These are, of course, people in good standing. These are nurses and medics and pilots. But they’re operating some of our machinery so they’re able to operate here.”
Over the long term, Green said the state will look at expanding air ambulance services and will work with the healthcare industry to beef up medical services on the neighbor islands.
“We’re going to build out a lot more dialysis, so people don’t have to be transferred for dialysis. We’re going to build out a lot more mental health care behavioral health care ... because you want to do as few transfers as you can,” he said.
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