Alberta pledges funding for HALO and HERO air ambulances

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.

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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.”

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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.”

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


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