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Sun, Dec 16, 2018

Air Methods Contributes To Brain Injury Association Of America

Donation Made On Behalf Of Former Patient Whitney Corby

Air medical service provider Air Methods has donated $10,000 to the Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) on behalf of Whitney Corby, an Air Methods patient who suffered a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and was inspired by her experience to become a neurology nurse. Air Methods and BIAA will conduct a ceremony to commemorate the event at 1:30 p.m. on December 12 in The Lincoln Room in the U.S. Capitol.

In 2013, Corby's car slid on black ice and struck a tree, an accident that led to several life-threatening conditions, including the TBI as well as a broken collarbone, fractured skull and bruised lungs. Air Methods provided her with critical care in the air and during the medical helicopter mission to the nearest Level 2 trauma center—a 15-minute flight from the site of her accident in Corning, New York. After six months of extensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, Corby resumed a normal life, and in 2017, she earned a nursing degree with an emphasis on neurology. Her full story can be seen here.

Because Corby has been a source of inspiration and strength to Air Methods, the company offered to donate $10,000 to the charity of her choice. She chose BIAA to support its mission to advance awareness, research, treatment and education and to improve the quality of life for all people affected by brain injury.

"I am thrilled to support BIAA, an organization that shares my commitment to creating better futures for people who sustain brain injuries, their family caregivers, and the professionals who treat them," Corby said. "As a TBI survivor, it is my hope that contributions like these can improve the quality of life for people affected by brain injuries."

In addition to honoring Corby at the event, Air Methods and BIAA also will speak about the need for Congress to address the Medicare shortfall for emergency air medical services as was outlined in the "Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act of 2017" (HR 3378 and S 2121). This legislation would help sustain access to medical care across the United States by modernizing the air medical Medicare reimbursement rate.

According to the National Rural Health Association, 22% of rural hospitals have closed since 1990. Starting in 2008, hospitals in rural settings have closed at a rate of one a month and hundreds more are on the brink of closure.

"Air medical services are a critical element of the healthcare delivery system since 85 million Americans live more than an hour from Level 1 or Level 2 trauma center if driven by ambulance," said Carter Johnson, spokesperson for Save Our Air Medical Resources (SOAR), a national campaign dedicated to preserving access to emergency air medical services for Americans across the country.

"Without air medical services, 1 in 4 people have no way to get to a trauma center in a timely manner," Johnson said. "This is literally a life and death issue, and making sure that these services are reimbursed properly to maintain their operations across the country should be a top concern in healthcare."

Steve Gorman, Air Methods' CEO, said that "Whitney's story is just one of many across the nation of amazing and inspirational people who survive and continue on with life after a traumatic, emergency situation."

"We must pass legislation that modernizes Medicare payments for these services so that companies can continue to operate and provide this life-saving service to others," Gorman said. "As we continue to see closures of hospitals across the nation, this access is of vital importance—but it must be compensated appropriately in order to be sustainable."

"Brain injuries happen to anyone, anytime, and anywhere," said Susan H. Connors, BIAA's president and chief executive officer. "Timely access to expert medical care is the gold standard for treatment after a brain injury, making the 'Ensuring Access to Air Ambulance Services Act of 2017' so important to ensuring geography does not prevent a life from being saved."

(Source: Air Methods news release)



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