I am a surgeon in rural Wyoming who uses his aircraft to extend general surgery specialty care, EMS medical direction and trauma consultative services throughout Wyoming and Montana. This is especially important to those in underserved rural and frontier areas, allowing for improved access to medical care that would not be available without the use of an aircraft.
Aviation has played a critical role in my practice and continues to be an essential tool for providing health care to rural and frontier populations.
The truth is, across our country air transportation is a key part of medical care access and delivery. Each year, about one in every thousand people in the U.S. needs air medical services.
In the past few decades, more advanced specialized medical facilities and trauma centers have located in large urban centers. As a result, aircraft are more important than ever to ensure people in rural areas have access to life-saving treatments.
Also, law enforcement, firefighters, search-and-rescue, disaster relief workers and countless non-profits use general aviation to serve the greater good.
And small-business owners and farmers rely on general aviation to increase efficiency in their day-to-day lives.
Despite its benefits, most people don’t understand the importance of this form of transportation. For example, the president has included a $100 per flight user fee tax in his budget. While it may make for good talking points on K Street, the truth is that these types of policies would impact small businesses and farms the most because they have the least ability to absorb more taxes.
Fortunately, our leaders seem to understand the importance of general aviation. Gov. Matt Mead has proclaimed June as “General Aviation Appreciation Month.”
In addition, U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., is a member of the General Aviation Caucus, which works to educate members of Congress about the importance of general aviation.
This is a great step in the right direction. Hopefully we can all educate other leaders around the country about the significance of this form of transportation to Wyoming and nationwide.