Letter: Some years ago, the Southern Alberta Medicair Society acted to provide SE Alberta with an emergency helicopter. Their first choice was STARS, but the cost of basing a STARS machine in Medicine Hat was prohibitive.
SAMS contracted a helicopter company to provide them with a machine configured as an ambulance. This machine was a far cry from the sophistication of the STARS air ambulance, but it was better than nothing. Because of Its shortcomings, Alberta Health considers HALO not an ambulance, but a rescue helicopter.
STARS, considered by some to be the finest helicopter air ambulance provider in the world, is putting into service new helicopters whose fuel capacity allows them to attend scene calls in the vicinity of Manyberries and transport their patients to the Level I trauma facilities in Calgary.
In 2012, HALO collected $667,000 in donations, $652,000 of which was paid to the helicopter company. Even when estimates of the helicopter companies expenses are grossly exaggerated, over $300,000 of the $652,000 is profit for the helicopter company. This makes the helicopter company very happy.
STARS operates their own helicopters and none of the money donated to them is drawn off as profit by private enterprise. Money donated to STARS stays with STARS.
The citizens of SE Alberta will soon be able to take advantage of the first rate service that STARS can offer and it is to STARS that these citizens should donate their money.
For an in depth comparison of STARS and HALO, visit http://www.cahepias.ca/stars.