Will New Ownership of Transport Choppers Affect Your Health Care?

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - For years, the 20 crew members that make up both Medical Center Hospital's CareStar emergency medical helicopters have served 17 counties in West Texas and New Mexico.

Since 2003, MCH has partnered with Med-Trans Corporation to sponsor the choppers.

Now MCH is pulling their part of the sponsorship, giving it all to Med-Trans.

"The emergency helicopter service in the Permian Basin has become a lot more competitive, so we felt that it was better to, rather than us continuing to jointly operate CareStar, just to let them operate it solely," Medical Center Hospital CEO, Bill Webster, said.

The world of air medical transport is changing.

Back in 2003, CareStar was the first medical transport program in the region, then they added another chopper in Fort Stockton in 2008.

But the increased cost of managing the choppers is too much for the hospital.

Plus, MCH wanted to give the crew members a better focus by having them operate under one owner.

"They're in that business," Webster said. "They're experts at it."

Officials also said no harm will come to the care that the choppers give.

They claim that more singular focus will propel the choppers to even better care.

"It'll continue to be a great service to the area," Webster said.

The change to the choppers becomes effective June 1st, 2012.

When that happens, the names of the choppers will be changed from CareStar to Aero Care.