Air ambulance collaboration needed more than ever

We must be stewards of our precious health care resources, including air ambulance programs.

The March 12 Beachcomber article, “Changes to AirCare may impact islanders,” reports on Airlift Northwest’s recent decision to terminate reciprocal membership agreements with other air ambulance programs. Airlift Northwest says these agreements aren’t needed and no longer serve their purpose. We couldn’t disagree more.

As your readers know, air ambulances are a critical lifeline for Vashon-Maury Island residents and others who live in rural areas, particularly in the face of COVID-19. The air ambulance community came together more than 20 years ago and established reciprocal agreements that allow us to provide this crucial protection to more people in the communities we serve. That’s why Life Flight Network is committed to reciprocal agreements and proud to have several in place with programs including Air St. Luke’s, Care Flight, Enloe Flight Care and Classic Air Medical.

Airlift Northwest’s sudden decision to stop covering members when transported by another air ambulance program like Life Flight Network apparently was based on a legal interpretation not shared by most of the industry and was made without any input or discussion.

The unprecedented COVID-19 crisis implores us all to work together to protect the health of our citizens, community, and world. We must be stewards of our precious health care resources, including air ambulance programs, and provide as much peace of mind as possible for those whom we serve.

We call on Airlift Northwest to reconsider their decision and begin honoring memberships of other air ambulances in service of the overall health of our region. In the meantime, we remain committed to jointly serving communities like Vashon Island and we encourage your readers to learn more about our membership program by visiting:

— Jacob Dalstra, regional vice president, LifeFlight

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

How the Big Lie Unleashed a Horrorshow

The first thing we must do is continue to stand in the bright light of the truth.

Former Congressional Staffer Asks: Where Do We Go From Here?

Last Wednesday, I am sure I wasn’t alone in feeling heartbreak.

School District Preparing For “Year of the Comeback”

It’s time to maximize our student’s academic achievement gains over the last half of the school year.

Savoring the Secrets and Science of Riparian Areas

You don’t have to be an ecologist to appreciate the vitality of a place like this.

Make Mental Health a Priority In Difficult Months Ahead

With many extremely vulnerable, some can find it hard to find relief.

Looking Toward 2021

With the legislature set to convene, it’s time to address the inequities 2020 highlighted with policy

Finding Community, Serenity in Puget Sound Waters

We are surrounded by water; it’s the DNA of island life and recreation.

Beware of the Power of False Beliefs

Here’s an idea: Let’s listen to public health experts, and get vaccinated.

New Lodge for Dogs Needs Volunteer Support

We can’t do this work alone and need community members to make the lodge a success.

Most Read