Helicopters, Communication System Fuels Double Digit Increase In Emergency Medical Spending
Updated: Monday, February 17 2014, 10:10 PM EST
Spending on the state's emergency medical system is estimated to jump 17% in the coming fiscal year in part due rising costs of rolling out the state's new medevac helicopters.
A budget analysis released by the state's office of legislative reference estimates funding for a variety of emergency services, including shock trauma and the medevac system, will increase by $11 million in 2015.
The analysis cites the mounting costs of a new emergency communications system and the added expense of operating two fleets of helicopters simultaneously as the primary drivers of the increase.
The report notes the medevac system ran a $2.7 million deficit to keep older helicopters aloft during the transition to new choppers. Budget analysts also requested an audit of the mission reports filed by the Maryland State Police Aviation command, citing discrepancies in the number of flights reported.
The report also warns that despite several increases in the state's motor registration fees the rising costs of increased pilot staffing to fly the state's new AW-139 helicopters and construction of training centers will force the fee to rise again.