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Hettinger County welcomes Valley Med Flight

MOTT -- Linda Lindemann, a volunteer with the Mott Ambulance Service, recalled an experience Wednesday when one person told her that if he ever had to be airlifted in a medical helicopter, just to let him die because he couldn't afford the bill.

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Jacob Narloch, a business development specialist for Valley Med Flight presented the Hettinger County commission and emergency workers, with information on the new service the county-wide membership will afford them and the community Wednesday in Mott. (Kalsey Stults/The Dickinson Press)

MOTT -- Linda Lindemann, a volunteer with the Mott Ambulance Service, recalled an experience Wednesday when one person told her that if he ever had to be airlifted in a medical helicopter, just to let him die because he couldn’t afford the bill.

“We’ve had instances before where … the bills are horrendous and the insurance companies won’t cover it,” she said.

Hettinger County residents Lindemann and her peers now serve no longer have to worry about big expenses in the case of such of an emergency.

Recently, the county purchased a membership with the Valley Med Flight medical helicopter service, which flies out of both Dickinson and Bismarck. Service began Jan. 15.

Care from Valley Med Flight, on an individual basis, can cost around $50 per household, if insured. If uninsured, the service can cost upward of thousands of dollars.

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Hettinger County purchased a membership that costs each resident of the county just over $5 a year, with that expense coming out of the county’s general fund.

“We’ve had a number of people need care in emergency situations, and the cost can kind of wipe you out,” Commissioner John Plaggemeyer said Wednesday following a county commission meeting where Valley Med Flight gave a presentation. “If you don’t have good insurance, you can be paying for that for a while.”

The county will have an option on its June ballot to set aside a fund from sales taxes to pay for emergency services, including Valley Med Flight.

Valley Med Flight will also provided specified training with the emergency care units in Hettinger County.

Lindemann already had training experience with Valley Med Flight and said she welcomes the opportunity to continue working with them.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “I think it’s something we need to have.”

Jacob Narloch, a business development specialist for Valley Med Flight, attended the meeting to discuss what the service does.

“One thing that Valley Med prides itself on is not sticking to just the big cities in North Dakota, or in general,” he said. “We like to feel like we are a part of the smaller communities and we are really glad to be a part of it too.”

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The county commission voted unanimously to bring the service to their residents at a previous meeting.

“We kind of all agreed to go with Valley Med,” Plaggemeyer said. “We’ll go with Valley Med for a year and see what kind of service we get. So we’ll see at the end of the year, but if it goes well we’ll probably stick with them.”

Lindemann said she welcomes the boisterous sounds of the helicopter's whirling blades if she’s out on a call.

“I tell you it’s the best sound when you hear those blades,” she said. “... It’s a good feeling, it’s a good sound.”

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