Tulare County approves second emergency air ambulance provider

Tulare County Board of Supervisors approves an agreement with REACH Air Medical Services that will allow for the operation of a REACH emergency air ambulance in the county

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Serena Bettis
Published June 14, 2023  • 
6:00 pm

VISALIA – Tulare County now has an increased capacity for air ambulance services after the board of supervisors approved an agreement with a new provider. 

After a brief public hearing during the Tulare County Board of Supervisors regular meeting Tuesday, June 13, the board unanimously approved a recommendation from the Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) to issue an air ambulance provider license to REACH Air Medical Services.

“Through this agreement, (REACH) will be responsible for furnishing air medical transport services inclusive of critical care by providing emergency medical services to persons in need within Tulare County,” HHSA public health branch director Karen Elliott said at the hearing.

REACH will be one of two air ambulance services in the county that provide emergency medical care to those in need. Elliott said they will provide service on a non-exclusive basis and be based out of the Porterville Municipal Airport. The current agreement will be valid through March 31, 2025.

“We’re very much looking forward to being part of this community,” Daniel Iniguez, regional manager for REACH said. “Our pilots, our paramedics, our nurses, most of them are from this county, have worked in this county and are really excited to just be a part of a new county for our family.”

Because the county’s other emergency air service, SkyLife, is based in Visalia, commentators at the hearing emphasized that REACH’s location farther south will help to expand services and benefit residents in that area.

“I think it’s very important that we have medical transport services throughout this county and I appreciate REACH for your interest and dedication to the south part of Tulare County,” Supervisor Pete Vander Poel said. “This is just a great thing, especially in a geographically large community like the one we represent.” 

Before public comment, Iniguez said this agreement is an increase in emergency services during a challenging time for health care sectors.

“It’s never a bad thing to have high-quality additional emergency services, and we greatly look forward to serving this county and the outlying areas, being a part of the emergency services here, helping the hospitals, helping the fire departments, helping the other air providers in our area and to just be a part of this community for a long time,” Iniguez said.

Serena Bettis
General Assignment Reporter