MARCH 11, 2010

From this ChairÖ

By Cloann McNall

   Iíve been reminded again this past week that those of us who reside in the rural area would be wise to be insured by Northwest MedStar, a critical care flight transport service.

   Two years ago without any warning whatsoever I was airlifted from Lewiston to Deaconess Medical Center in Spokane for treatment of a serious heart condition, I didnít know existed.

That one way trip by air cost $12,000.

   This past week my granddaughter Ashley Howland, 25, of Lewiston was airlifted from Lewiston to Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane where her twin sons came into this world by way of an emergency C-section. The babies were nine weeks premature.

   No one in the family expected this turn of events as Ashley is young and healthy. We are waiting now to see what the costs are for her air ambulance transport.

   Shortly after my release from Deaconess 21 months ago I called Northwest MedStar and subscribed to their insurance plan.

   Cost of Northwest MedStar insurance is reasonable. It is $59 for a household for one year or $150 for three years. I will be notified in 2011 it is time to renew my MedStar Insurance. And I will definitely take care of this premium.

   I had never anticipated the surprise illness that landed me in Spokane Cardiology ward at Deaconess Hospital two years ago. I had exercised all my life, watched my diet, stayed slender, slept eight hours a night, and avoided cigarettes and alcohol and always had plenty of energy.

   At Deaconess I was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy which in my case was most likely genetic. It just took years to catch up with me. The heart meds and implanted cardiac device have served me well the past two years. So the plane ride was worth it.

   We never know when a life threatening illness will strike or a life threatening accident occur and drastic measures are required to keep us alive. Those of us in the rural area need to be prepared for emergency measures.

   For this reason I encourage all those reading this column who live in the rural area to contact Northwest MedStar at or call 1 (866) 478-0566 to learn of their membership services.