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Alberta pledges funding for HALO and HERO air ambulances

Click to play video: 'Alberta announces long-term support for Medicine Hat-based HALO Air Ambulance' Alberta announces long-term support for Medicine Hat-based HALO Air Ambulance
WATCH: A major funding commitment from the province will keep a lifesaving helicopter ambulance program in southeastern Alberta in flight. Medicine Hat-based HALO will now be under contract with Alberta Health Services and receive guaranteed annual funding. Danica Ferris has the details. – Mar 31, 2022

The provincial government has announced millions in funding for air ambulances servicing southern and northern Alberta.

Medicine Hat-based Helicopter Air Lift Operation, or HALO, will be offered guaranteed funding from Alberta Health Services, moving the air ambulance from a fee-for-service model. HALO has been promised more than $1 million in annual funding.

Read more: HALO Air Ambulance smashes fundraising record, announces lottery with provincial review still looming

Helicopter Emergency Rescue Operation, or HERO, out of Fort McMurray will get nearly $2 million over five years under a new contract. According to a Thursday news release, that is double the current funding the province provides.

“We have listened to Albertans in the northeast and southeast of our province about the importance of experienced regional air ambulance operators,” Premier Jason Kenney said.

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“That’s why we are following through with record funding for HALO and HERO, to improve their emergency services for rural Albertans.”

Read more: Alberta government announces increase of STARS Air Ambulance funding

With the $15 million annual funding promised for STARS air ambulance last week, the province has now provided $18 million in guaranteed funding for Alberta air ambulance services.

“Helicopter air ambulance service, along with ground ambulances and fixed-wing air ambulance, are critical components of the EMS system in Alberta,” chief paramedic and senior provincial director, Alberta Health Services EMS Darren Sandbeck said.

“Providing stable, sustainable funding for helicopter air ambulance is one of the ways we are able to provide safe, reliable and timely service to rural and remote communities.”

Click to play video: 'HALO Air Ambulance receives multi-year funding commitment from Cypress County' HALO Air Ambulance receives multi-year funding commitment from Cypress County
HALO Air Ambulance receives multi-year funding commitment from Cypress County – Mar 24, 2021

The increased funding for all three comes from $64 million earmarked in the 2022 budget for emergency medical services.

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