April 30, 2020
The transport services of Bedford, MA-based Boston MedFlight have been in high demand throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, straining the budget of the nonprofit medevac provider so much that it has been difficult to secure the expensive personal protective equipment (PPE) required for all crewmembers.
Boston MedFlight, which specializes in transporting critical-care patients to hospitals throughout New England, utilizes a fleet of five Airbus H145 helicopters, a King Air 200B and eight ground ambulances. The vast majority of the more than 300 patients transported to date by the organization during the pandemic have been moved by ground ambulance.
“We depend on fundraising and insurance reimbursements to survive, and reimbursements are much higher for air transport than ground,” said Rick Kenin, chief operating officer for Boston MedFlight. “That has made balancing the books difficult.”
Fortunately, across the field from Boston MedFlight’s main hangar at Laurence G. Hanscom Field Airport, Massachusetts Business Aviation Association (MBAA) Board Member Mike Francis learned of the situation and was determined to help. He asked Russ Arena, MBAA’s executive director, for ideas on how to assist Boston MedFlight, and members of the association quickly rallied to donate $1,000 to the effort. Then Arena started working the phones.
“The chief pilot for a large Part 91 operator quickly agreed to donate $1,200 in Atlantic Awards points that we then converted into e-credit cards,” said Arena. “My employer, Boston Scientific, also agreed to donate their Signature Tailwins points, which gave us another $1,000 that the company then matched.”
With a total of $4,200 in hand, MBAA was able to cover the cost of 200 PPE kits for Boston MedFlight. Some of the funding also went toward decontaminating approximately 250 masks for reuse.
Meanwhile, Arena continues to reach out to companies and individuals seeking to help.
“I’m on a crusade to up the ante,” said Arena. “It doesn’t matter if your company or organization is large or small. MBAA challenges operators to meet or exceed our $1,000 donation to keep Boston MedFlight flying.”