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LifeMed Alaska Closes Wheelchair Van Operation


Wheelchair van.

PHOTO: Courtesy of LifeMed Alaska LLC

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — LifeMed Alaska closed its Wheelchair Van operation effective January 22, 2014 due to an unexpected change in the Municipality of Anchorage’s “Vehicle for Hire” regulations (AMC Title 11.10-11.40). LifeMed’s Wheelchair Van operation previously fell under the “Private Ambulance Services” regulations. The change now requires LifeMed to abide by the “Vehicle for Hire” regulations.

The “Vehicle for Hire” regulations include an annual fee per vehicle, periodic inspections at an automotive maintenance shop appointed by the Municipality, a surveillance recording system installed in each vehicle, and a chauffeur's license for each wheelchair van driver.

“We operated our wheelchair division as a charity for patients in Anchorage,” said LifeMed CEO Scott Kirby. “We are disappointed that this turn of events has resulted in this outcome,” he added.

For the past 16 years, LifeMed’s 13 wheelchair vans traveled the streets of Anchorage every day transporting patients to and from dialysis, chemotherapy, medical appointments, pharmacies, assisted living facilities and other medical facilities. With 13 employees dedicated to the Wheelchair Van operations, LifeMed performed over 17,000 round trip wheelchair van transports each year. Additionally, LifeMed’s patients were able to reserve their rides 30 days in advance.

“We care about our patients and have always provided a bed-to-bed service,” said Kirby. “Over the years, our patients have trusted our drivers to assist them with their personal belongings, sign their medications in and out, and escort them from their homes to their appointments safely and on-time.” Kirby added. “We are thankful we were given the opportunity to provide this valuable service to the community of Anchorage for 16 years.”

LifeMed is committed to assisting patients with current reservations in finding alternate transportation. Patients should contact their local taxi cab company for future transports to and from their medical appointments.

LifeMed will provide a severance package and resume writing training to each employee affected by this closure.

About LifeMed Alaska

LifeMed Alaska provides critical care air ambulance services throughout Alaska with full-scope transports for adult, pediatric, neonate and high-risk obstetric patients using a fleet of Learjets, turboprops, and helicopters. The company’s comprehensive medical transportation services include ALS ground ambulance operations in Anchorage. Its combination of air and ground ambulances staffed by highly-skilled medical professionals plays an integral role in Alaska’s emergency medical systems. LifeMed acquired TransCare Medical Services in July 2010 to form its Wheelchair Van operation at its Anchorage base transporting patients to and from hospitals, assisted living facilities, treatment facilities, medical facilities and private residences.

For more information, visit www.lifemedalaska.com.

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