Mercy Flight maintains fees far below industry standard
After reading the article in The News regarding the high cost of air ambulance services, I was compelled to remind the people of Western New York of the service that has operated in this area for more than 30 years, which stands in stark contrast to the operation described in the New York Times article.
Beginning operations in 1981, Mercy Flight of Western New York has flown over 23,000 patient missions for members of our community. From humble beginnings, we have grown to an organization with three bases, five helicopters and over 150 local employees. We are a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization, and are proud to note that 87 cents of every dollar we earn or receive in donations is spent directly on operational expenses.
As a 501(c)(3) entity, Mercy Flight does not pay dividends or make distributions to shareholders, and is able to maintain service fees that are well below the industry average. Capital surpluses are used to upgrade our program resources to maintain our ability to meet the emergency medical needs of our community.
Underinsured patients who are facing financial hardship are encouraged to file an application for charity care. Our evaluation of the application often results in a substantial reduction in the amount owed, the cost of which is borne entirely by Mercy Flight. In short, we are a community-based organization that seeks to aid the people of Western New York not only in times of medical duress, but financial hardship as well.
Scott P. Wooton, CPA
Vice President, Finance