LA GRANGE, Texas (KXAN) — Just before Memorial Day weekend, a Central Texas air evacuation base, used to get people to the hospital faster, is closing down for good.

The Air Evac Lifeteam in La Grange has been serving patients within a 150-mile radius for 25 years.

Its seemingly abrupt closure is blamed on not enough people using the team’s services and decreasing reimbursement. That’s according to the Fayette County Office of Emergency Management.

Air Evac Lifeteam working with La Grange first responders. (Photo by: Joshua Vandever).

Fayette County EMS director Joshua Vandever said the operation has been struggling for some time.

“We have lost another healthcare resource that was valuable to our community,” Vandever said. “In this day and age, it is getting harder and harder to be a healthcare provider. Reimbursement from insurance has not kept up with the rapid rise in costs for equipment and personnel. Our industry is having a harder time recruiting doctors, nurses, EMS professionals and all other sorts of healthcare technicians than ever before.”

According to Vandever, the base closure will affect AirMedcare network members in a handful of areas throughout Central Texas like Austin, Bastrop, Brazos, Colorado, Fayette, Gonzales, Lavaca, Lee, Victoria, Washington and Wharton counties.

The network will be making prorated refunds, according to Air Evac, the transport provider.

“Low utilization of the service and decreasing reimbursement were significant factors in the decision to close the La Grange base,” a statement from Air Evac said in part.

Vandever said he hopes this won’t have a largely negative impact. However, he said it’s something to be mindful of going into a holiday weekend, especially as there are a lot of tourists passing through the area.

“For us, all that’s going change is…we’ll probably be doing a lot more meeting up and at midpoints like landing zones closer to Austin or in Smithville,” Vandever said. “We do a lot of stuff there where we’ll meet at the airport, or we’ll meet at the hospital in Smithville. But as far as their response time, the Fayette County ambulance is still going to get to our community in the same time it took us to get there yesterday, and I would say the same for all of our neighboring counties as well.”