Decision to establish Central Oregon air medical service follows months of research and dialogue with area EMS and healthcare providers.
Life Flight Network, a not-for-profit air medical transport service in the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West, announced today they will open a new helicopter base in Redmond, Oregon on February 22, 2012. “Our decision to open a base in Redmond follows substantial research and dialogue with area healthcare professionals to confirm bringing our air medical transport capabilities to the area will enhance patient care,” states Michael Griffiths, CEO of Life Flight Network. He continues, “When we took into account Central Oregon’s population growth has more than doubled since the area’s first and only helicopter was placed in service almost 30 years ago, the decision to make the investment in a Redmond base became clear.”
Life Flight Network provides air and ground critical care transportation for seriously ill or injured patients from the scene of an accident or from one hospital to another. Comments from area emergency medical service professionals supporting the benefit of having an air medical base in Redmond mirror those made by Tim McLaren, Fire Chief at Crooked River Ranch Fire & Rescue, “Having a Life Flight Network base as an additional resource in Redmond would allow my department to have greater flexibility and ease the challenge of requesting critical air medical transport. How can you argue against providing timely critical care which meets the needs of the service our residents have come to expect from us?” Jeremy Ast, Deputy Chief, Administration at Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District adds, “We cover a very large ambulance service area and our ability to utilize air medical transport resources can make the difference between life and death for a critically ill or injured patient.”
Traumatic injury patients have historically been the primary users of medical helicopters, but Life Flight Network is seeing an increased need to provide time-sensitive transport for patients suffering heart attacks and strokes as treatment options for these medical emergencies evolve. Given the growing need for safe and timely transport, the company strategically positions bases throughout the Northwest and Intermountain West to provide maximum coverage to the communities it serves. Holly Love, Director of Customer Service, clarifies, “When you factor in supporting coverage provided by Life Flight Network’s helicopter bases in Eugene, Aurora, Dallesport, Ontario, and La Grande, and our fixed-wing capabilities out of Dallesport, Hillsboro and Boise, it becomes clear how the new base in Redmond is perfectly positioned to serve as the hub of a robust air medical safety net for Central Oregon residents and visitors.”
Life Flight Network has provided air medical service for more than 33 years and has the largest membership program of any air medical service in the Pacific Northwest and Intermountain West. Membership covers air transport when a patient is emergently transported in the company’s aircraft. In addition, Life Flight Network’s memberships are honored by most regional air transport reciprocal partners, including the AirLink program.
The company plans to assign 14 employees to the Redmond base, including flight nurses, flight paramedics, pilots and mechanics. The payroll for these highly-skilled personnel, expected to exceed $1 million per year, will provide a positive economic benefit for the community. These crew members and the rotor-wing aircraft assigned to the base will be at the ready to handle air medical transport on a 24hour/7 day per week basis.
Life Flight Network is owned by a consortium of four of the nation’s most prestigious health systems. These owners include Legacy Health System, Providence Health System-Oregon, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and Oregon Health and Science University. The depth of experience and support provided by the owners helps to ensure the company remains at the leading edge of healthcare evolution and progress.
Life Flight Network offers the largest emergency air medical service in Idaho, Washington and Oregon. The company operates bases in Boise, Pocatello, Mountain Home, Sandpoint (opening March 1st), and Lewiston, Idaho; Ontario, Aurora, Hillsboro, La Grande and Eugene, Oregon; and Longview and Dallesport, Washington. Life Flight Network currently has a combined fleet of 11 medical helicopters, five fixed-wing aircraft and four ground ambulances.