New Jersey

Virtua Ends EMS Helicopter Partnership with New Jersey State Police

Virtua has decided to end its partnership with the New Jersey State Police to take trauma victims to hospitals by helicopter.

The Press of Atlantic City reports Virtua made the decision as it faces competition from private operators.

The SouthSTAR air-ambulance service had a virtual monopoly in southern New Jersey. But when the state Health Department started licensing other air-ambulance services in 2006, Virtua began to see a significant decline in monthly flights with SouthStar.

Statistics show Virtua had 75 flights per month in 2006 but that number dropped to 20 per month last year.

Virtua says the decline made the program unsustainable.

But the state police say the announcement was unexpected.

Virtua said the change won't have any medical impact on patients who need to be flown in for care because South Jersey is still serviced by all the competing air-ambulance services.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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