Air Evac Lifeteam closes Demopolis base

Published 3:23 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

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Officials from the Air Evac Lifeteam announced the closure of the company’s Demopolis base last Wednesday, August 9. The base officially ceased operations on August 2.

Director Chris Gibbs said in a Facebook post that the closure of the base was “not due to lack of support from the hospital, city, or county” but rather a poor healthcare system.

“The closure was due to the unfortunate broken healthcare system we have in the nation, especially the South,” said Gibbs. “Poor reimbursement from insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid, and indigent care are to blame. Unfortunately, our base located in the Blackbelt, serves some of the poorest counties in Alabama.”

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A former Air Evac employee, Dustin Watkins, also voiced his thoughts on the situation via a Facebook post.

“I can’t even put into words how I hurt for these people and the community. The culture at this base was phenomenal,” said Watkins. “I’m beyond blessed to have worked and gained some of the best friendships with my 106 peeps. I don’t know what the future holds for you guys, but I’m thinking about you all and wishing for the best!”

Air Evac merged with AMR ambulance service about 4 years ago and formed Global Medical Response (GMR). Air Evac has serviced Marengo County, the eight surrounding counties, and others outside of its marketed coverage area for just over 11 years.

Gibbs said that Air Evac 45 in Fayette, Al is the next closest base for anyone who holds an Air Evac membership. PHI from Meridian, Mississippi is the closest helicopter, but they are not part of the Air Evac company and not covered under the membership. MedTrans is a sister company located in Atmore and Foley.

Gibbs expressed his thanks to Whitfield Regional Hospital, the City of Demopolis, and all of its customers (patients, hospitals, EMS agencies, and membership customers).

“Thank you all again. Our whole team is saddened by this outcome for our community. We’ve cared for and have met some great people,” said Gibbs.