Pilot shortage leads to Med-Flight service hour cuts in Va.

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia State Police has temporarily reduced the operating hours for its Med-Flight helicopter service in central and southwest Virginia due to a shortage of pilots.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that state police said until more pilots can be hired and trained, the service has been reduced from 24-hour coverage to 16 hours per day. The changes went into effect on Sunday.

In the meantime, private, for-hire air ambulance services such as those offered by VCU Health Systems and HCA Hospitals will fill the gap in the Richmond area.

Med-Flight is free of charge, but the private services bill patients for the transport.

In most cases, the fee is covered by a patient’s health care insurance.

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