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Math question — when is 2.5 miles by road farther than 310 miles by plane?

16 November 2007

Answer: when you live on the border.

Kat Smutz, the very good (but grossly underpaid) reporter of all work for the (Presidio Texas) International/El Internacional — a newspaper unfortunately not available on the Internet, yet — reports on the front page of their 15 November 2007 issue:

Air ambulance service may be in Presidio’s future

Clay Dixon, regional drector of Air Ambulance State, proposed a plan to the Presidio City Council before a packed house at their regular meeting last Thursday.

Dixon, along with company owner Denny O’Hara, laid out a plan that would provide the community with a service that has long been discussed, but never implemented.

Air Ambulance State, based in Amarillo, provides emergency air services to communities all along the border. The service works in conjunction with local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to more quickly transport patients, who meet medical necessity, to the nearest medical facility.

Its that last phrase — “nearest medical facility” that grabbed my attention. Life out here in far-west Texas can be pretty tough, and it may be a long, long way to the “nearest medical facility”, but Big Bend Regional Medical Center in Alpine (90 miles by road — bout an hour by air) is NOT the nearest medical facility. From Alpine, patients are regularly taken by heliocopter to Midland-Odesssa. (about 170 miles… a total of 260 miles) or El Paso (220 miles… making the total trip 310 miles).

To Hospital Intergal de Ojinaga at Calle Cuautemoc and 6a is 2.5 miles by road (The Rio Grande/Bravo is 1885 miles long, not wide) — but… “Medicaid pays a much higher amount for air transport cases” than it does for transporting people by ambulance, and we wouldn’t want some pregnant lady to throw an “anchor baby” on the Mexican taxpayers now, would we?

Wonder why health care costs are going up? Look at jet fuel… and if you’re wondering why we rural people have such crappy health care, look at Homeland Stupidity.

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