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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 4, 2006

Medevac search must be a high priority

The state is more than fortunate that Hawai'i's Army National Guard has stepped in to fill the void to provide emergency medical helicopter service on O'ahu, at least in the interim.

Of course, that's no reason to let up on a prioritized, pro-active search for a permanent solution. The National Guard is just a stop-gap measure; its contract is for just three months, or until another provider can be secured.

That provider must be on board as quickly as possible, to ensure a seamless transition by July 1, which is when the National Guard expects to hand over the service to the new contractor.

Clearly, there's not much time.

Unfortunately, since the Army's 25th Infantry Division announced it would end service, there has been no deluge of applicants wanting to take over the service.

Still, Hawai'i's medevac service is crucial. The Army averaged up to 200 medical missions a year for the past 30 years. And in emergency care, where minutes can make a difference, our ability to medevac patients can potentially be a life or death issue. That's what makes this a worthy state priority. There should be no delay.