County Council opposes removal of medivac

Submitted photo/MSP
One of the state’s six medivac choppers might be taken out of service, as part of budget cuts.

CAMBRIDGE — At their Aug. 4 meeting, Dorchester County Council members voted unanimously to fight the possible defunding of Maryland State Police Aviation’s Trooper 6 medivac helicopter.

The Maryland Board of Public Works, comprised on Treasurer Nancy Copp, Governor Larry Hogan and Mr. Franchot, met on July 22 and by a vote of 2-1 approved cuts of $413 million in the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, as part of an effort to deal with revenue shortfalls. Ms. Copp objected, saying she preferred to wait until the July 15 tax deadline to make a decision.

Gov. Hogan and Mr. Franchot voted for the cuts, though the governor said, “I can tell you I don’t like a single one of them.”

One cost-saving measure being considered is the elimination of one of the six Maryland State Police medivac units. Trooper 6 is located in Easton.

Eastern Shore patients with serious injuries or illnesses might be some distance from a hospital, especially if they need to be treated on at a western shore facility, such as Shock Trauma in Baltimore. The potential loss of a nearby medivac chopper has raised concerns that the sparsely populated Shore might lose out to wealthier and more politically influential areas west of the Bay.

“I would like to make a motion that we send a letter of opposition to the Board of Public Works against the proposed cutting of a Maryland State Police medivac helicopter, as well as closing one of the bases,” Council Member Lenny Pfeffer (District 4) said. “This could negatively impact the medical care given to the citizens of our county.”

The council’s opposition will be forwarded to Annapolis. No decision has been announced from the state capital on whether Trooper 6 will be cut.