Springfield organization aims to help Oregon vets cover ambulance costs

David Miller founded "VETMET," or Veteran Medical Emergency Transportation, on Veterans Day in 2018.

Posted: Jan 31, 2019 4:32 PM
Updated: Jan 31, 2019 6:07 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. -- A Vietnam War veteran from Springfield has an ambitious plan to make sure Oregon veterans never have to pay for emergency medical transportation ever again.

David Miller founded the organization "VETMET," or Veteran Medical Emergency Transportation, on Veterans Day in 2018. He hopes the organization can cover the costs of ambulance rides and other emergency medical transposition needs by partnering with companies like Life Flight Network and FireMed.

Miller said Veterans Affairs already covers ambulance fares but said it can be tough to get reimbursed and even approved.

"We want to eliminate all that," Miller said. "These veterans served their county and they deserve better treatment."

Miller's idea is to pay for the membership costs of Life Flight Network and FireMed for qualified veterans through private donations.

Jacob Dalstra of Life Flight Network said Miller just recently reached out to them.

"We're just beginning to start talks with his organization and ultimately what I think is people having a membership is a great thing," Dalstra said. "It provides peace of mind for individuals and their families. If they do have to be transported in an emergency, there is not going to be an out-of-pocket expense to them."

VETMET is still in its infancy, and Miller hopes to raise $300,000 to get it off the ground. With that money, he said they can serve 30,000 veterans in Oregon.

"We're estimating that we will increase that coverage to almost 300,000 veterans, which is every single veteran in the state of Oregon," Miller said.

Miller said they would even like to expand to neighboring states at some point. Rick Higgins, the state commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars, is praising the idea behind VETMET. He said many veterans rely on each other in case of emergencies and VETMET would ease their burden.

"We feel it's a great opportunity to help veterans in the state," Higgins said.

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