Role of General Aviation Airports in Medical Service Delivery to Rural Kansas Communities
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Role of General Aviation Airports in Medical Service Delivery to Rural Kansas Communities

Filetype[PDF-141.72 KB]

  • English

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    • NTL Classification:
      NTL-AVIATION-AVIATION;NTL-AVIATION-Airports and Facilities;NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Economics and Finance;NTL-AVIATION-Aviation Planning and Policy;NTL-ECONOMICS AND FINANCE-Economic Impacts;NTL-ECONOMICS AND FINANCE-Funding;NTL-REFERENCES AND DIRECTORIES-Statistics;
    • Abstract:
      The role and significance of airports in the delivery of health care in rural Kansas has never been investigated. Accordingly the objectives of this research are as follows: Objective 1 - Compile an inventory of the physical characteristics of Kansas general aviation airports. Objective 2 - Conduct a survey of air ambulance firms regarding the airport facilities that are required for safe air ambulance service and compare their requirements to actual conditions at value of air ambulance services provided to rural Kansas patients. Objective 3 -Conduct surveys of Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of rural Kansas hospitals as well as "flying doctors" to determine the types and values of medical services provided at rural Kansas hospitals that are made possible by airports and aviation. Research discovered that 40 to 55 percent of 142 Kansas airports do not satisfy one or more of the airport safety requirements of air ambulance companies. Despite these conditions, medical service provided by air ambulance companies has been increasing in Kansas. The number of Kansas patients transported by fixed-wing aircraft rose from 1,372 in 1997 to 1,632 in 1998. Total revenue for fixed-wing air ambulance service was $5.7 million in 1998. One of the most significant findings of this study is that airports allow rural Kansas patients to have access to virtually every medical specialty and procedure. The sample doctors provided 45 medical services in 22 different medical specialties to patients at rural Kansas hospitals. According to the survey of Kansas hospitals CEOs, the annual economic benefit of the medical services provided by "flying doctors" is estimated to be $7.9 million. The annual economic benefit of the hospital services and personnel associated with the medical services provided by the "flying doctors" is estimated to be $7.2 million. Thus the total economic benefit facilitated by airports and aviation is $15.1 million ($7.9 million + $7.2 million). These benefits are distributed to rural communities throughout Kansas, as a total of 62 Kansas airports were used by at least one doctor to provide medical care to rural Kansas patients. Airports also permit transfer of rural Kansas patients requiring emergency or highly specialized medical care. Of the patients transferred from Kansas community hospitals, 70 percent were transferred to a major hospital because they needed emergency medical care. The timesaving provided by aircraft is essential to the emergency medical care of these patients. It is certain that the $20.8 million of medical benefits of Kansas general aviation airports exceed the cost of these airports. Thus government programs that address the problem of airport deterioration are an efficient use of resources.
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