Commissioners grant Air Evac team approval for countywide subscriptions

Making sure to not “step on any medical or emergency response toes,” the McCulloch County Commissioners met early Monday morning and granted the approval for Air Evac life team to contract subscriptions within the county. The program services Brady and surrounding areas, in addition to other rural areas across Texas, by offering life-saving helicopter transport in emergency situations. “We place our helicopters where the need is the greatest,” said John Gates, a representative with Air Evac who addressed the commissioners Monday morning. Gates explained that, in the event of an emergency medical situation, whenever a helicopter is deemed necessary, the cost to patients can range from $8,000 to $16,000 for transport. Air Evac’s subscription program allows anyone to purchase a one-year coverage plan at a minimal fee of $50 for an individual, $55 per couple or $60 per family of three or more. In the event that a subscriber needs services from Air Evac, the one- time coverage fee will be the only fee assessed by the company. Also available are three and five-year memberships. Organized in 1985, Air Evac is a member-based company subject to rules and regulations set forth by the Texas Department of State Health Services. As a requirement, Air Evac must obtain a letter from each county judge in its service area authorizing participation in the program. There are no fees assessed to participating counties; the annual request is solely to seek approval to offer the program to area residents. McCulloch County Judge Randy Young noted that he has previously spoken with hospital and ambulance personnel who assured him that approving Air Evac’s request would not present a problem. “We by no means are a competitor to ground response,” Gates added. “Ninety percent of our members renew each year. It’s pretty gratifying to see that type of renewal. It’s one of those things where you hate to have to use it, but it’s great when it can save your life.” In closing the issue, following approval of the item, Judge Young added, “The more service providers we have, the better.” To learn more about the subscription program offered through Air Evac, call 800-793-0010 or go to www.lifeteam.net. As the only remaining item up for action, the commissioners approved a contract with Brady Independent School District allowing for the lease of two voting machines to be used in the upcoming May election. Initially, the contract was expected to be between the city and county; however, since no election is needed for the city, the lease contract will be made between the county and school district. The city will still be required to conduct the election for the school district. Following the business portion of the meeting, the commissioners discussed the possibility of diverting traffic from the Brownwood highway over to the San Angelo highway through West White St. Judge Young told the commissioners that he feels this is “as good a chance” as the county/city will ever have in trying to get the Texas Department of Transportation to look at making that street an alternate route. According to Young, the city and county looked at the option years ago, but it never came to fruition because of the two-story home which once sat in the middle of the road where it intersects with Terry St. Today, with the home removed and two homes in the area damaged by fire, Judge Young feels that the time to seek assistance from TxDOT is now. An ongoing issue which could be avoided if West White was changed to an alternate route is the vehicle congestion which occurs when trains block the flow of traffic across the tracks. Also, Wendy Ellis, Community Development Director with the Brady/McCulloch County Chamber of Commerce, gave a personal invitation to the commissioners court to attend a countywide Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) economic development seminar Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. at the Ed Davenport Civic Center. Mrs. Ellis added that all taxing entities (city, county, hospital, area school districts) have been invited to attend what she and coordinators hope to be a very informative and productive meeting. In a request from County Treasurer Donna Robinett, the commissioners made a collection to donate to the VFW Post 3234 in memory of the county’s part- time Veteran’s Administration Officer, Les Tybo, who passed away last week. The meeting adjourned following the announcement that finding a replacement for Tybo would be placed on the next agenda for the commissioners’ court. Judge Young added that he would be contacting the VFW Post to request possible recommendations for a new veteran’s administration officer.

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