Actually, I don't know what color the helicopters are, but something stinky is going on with medevac services in SW Virginia.
Folks are suddenly being charged $20,000 to over $30,000 for being medevac'd. This started when the local hospital chain (details in the links below the kosicle) changed air ambulance providers.
Dan Casey of the Roanoke Times has been covering this story since late July.
The new provider, Med-Trans, did not have a provider agreement with any Virginia insurer when it began service in February 2012 and it still doesn't. I suspect Med-Trans can't get an agreement because the insurers don't want to fork over as much money as Med-Trans wants.
It's bad enough that the hospital chain chose (was allowed to choose) a provider without first making sure the provider had coverage with the insurers, but it gets worse when we find out about the ownership of Med-Trans.
They are owned by something called Air Medical Group Holdings (AMGH) that is owned by Bain Capital Partners. It seems that Bain has found a way to extort money from people when they are most desperate.
You almost have to salute this level of greed, cynicism, and ingenuity.
AMGH seems to be following the common path of a company owned by a private equity firm. They are being loaded with debt to provide a big pay check to the owners before the company is driven into bankruptcy.
The latest article by Casey states (via Moody) that AMGH sold $200 million of junk bonds "to fund a one-time dividend to shareholders".
It's pretty obvious AMGH is circling the drain.
I some questions for anyone in Kossackstan who knows about these things. Who buys these bonds? Are they hoping to get out before the company crashes or do they believe the company will survive?
Is there some other scam in play?