Life Flight Network closes Rexburg location after 5 years of service
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REXBURG — Life Flight Network’s air rescue base at the Rexburg-Madison County Airport closed Friday.
Life Flight Network Regional Vice President Michael Weimer says the closure is due to declining reimbursement rates. Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements have always been low, he says, but the most significant impact has been the decline in private insurance reimbursements over the last several years.
“We have been subject to declining reimbursements for some time, and it has impacted the base’s ability to continue operations in Rexburg,” Weimer tells EastIdahoNews.com.
Despite insurance challenges in the air medical transport industry, Weimer says the Rexburg airbase has had loyal customers. Since it opened in February 2015, more than 1,000 requests for service were sent to that location.
The majority of Life Flight patients were taken to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls because it is the closest receiving trauma center. Hospital spokeswoman Coleen Niemann says the closure of the Rexburg base will not have any significant impact.
“There will not be a gap in service for patients needing air transport in a critical situation,” says Niemann. “We anticipate seeing the same number of helicopter transports coming to our facility, just from a different provider.”
Air Idaho Rescue, another air medical provider, opened a helicopter base at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center earlier this month. It will be used primarily for neonatal intensive care unit transports. Other Air Idaho aircraft are based at Idaho Falls Regional Airport. A Soda Springs base opened in 2018, and other air transport bases are in Driggs, Salmon and West Yellowstone.
Weimer says the Life Flight plans to minimize any disruption to the community by partnering with other air medical transport providers.
“We extend our appreciation to the loyal EMS services and hospitals that have utilized us for the past five years,” he says.
To learn more about Life Flight Network, visit the website.