American Samoan charter flight to take patients to Hawaii

Another medical charter flight from American Samoa to Hawaii is to take 111 patients needing treatment off island.

The medical charter, tentatively set for this Friday, is a one-way flight taking only patients and their escorts.

Patients who have been approved for medical referral will be on the flight.

Other seats will be prioritised for US federal employees who need to return to the US, as well as US residents stranded on island.

All eligible patients will be covered by the Medicaid program and others have to pay a cost share.

Medicaid Director Sandra King Young asked for the public’s understanding that this is deemed a one-way flight because the medical charter is transporting patients who are very sick, with co-morbidities and respiratory issues.

Referring to the threat of Covid-19, she said the territory cannot risk this medical charter, by bringing any asymptomatic passenger who may potentially contaminate the airplane that we need to transport sick patients on to the US.

“Medicaid’s responsibility is to ensure the safe transfer of our Medicaid patients to the US. Our office will issue more information as it becomes available.”

Flights from Hawaii to American Samoa were suspended in late March and this is only the second medical charter since that time. The first one was in July.

Meanwhile more than 500 local residents who have been stranded in Hawaii and the US mainland have not been able to return home.

More Stories