Kansas gets regional air ambulance in hospital partnership
By Brett Riggs
The Garden City Telegram
GARDEN CITY, Kan. — A Newton-based critical care ambulance service has partnered with St. Catherine Hospital to provide ground and air medical transport services for critically ill and injured patients in southwest Kansas.
As of Monday, LifeTeam is now providing a fixed-wing airplane and ground ambulance to transport patients to facilities outside the region that can provide tertiary care, such as a trauma center, cardiac cath lab or a facility that features a stroke team.
The plane, an all-weather, pressurized Beechcraft King Air C90 turboprop, will be based at Garden City Regional Airport. Its crew will be housed nearby and will be on “ready alert” 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to a press release from LifeTeam. The ground ambulance also will be stationed at the airport, where it will be used to transport patients from the hospital to the airport.
“From its inception, LifeTeam was designed to serve as a healthcare provider, utilizing air and ground vehicles in its practice of transport medicine,” Dr. Martin Sellberg, medical director and CEO of LifeTeam, said in a press release announcing the partnership. “This patient focus is present in every aspect of safely transporting patients to specialty care, and we look forward to bringing our resources to the region.”
LifeTeam also plans to station a 206 Longranger helicopter at St. Catherine Hospital, starting in early 2015.
“We are excited about our new relationship with LifeTeam,” ScottTaylor, president and CEO of St. Catherine, said in the press release. “They bring western Kansas a total solution: ground, fixed-wing and rotor-wing medical transport.”
It will not be the first time St. Catherine has had a helicopter stationed at the hospital. There is a helipad adjacent to the emergency room entrance on the northeast corner of the hospital campus that allows for landings and takeoffs.
Under a previous partnership with EagleMed, a Eurocopter A-StarAS350-B2 transported critically ill and injured patients to and from St.Catherine. But EagleMed discontinued the hospital-based helicopter crew in October 2013, citing a low volume of patient transports as the reason.
After the departure of the helicopter, EagleMed continued to provide emergency air service with its fixed-wing plane out of Garden City Regional Airport. Local EMS would transport patients to the airport, and EagleMed’s plane would transport them to another facility.
According to the press release announcing the new partnership, Life Team’s focus is to work with EMS agencies and hospitals throughout the area to “enhance and expedite patient care in rural communities when needed.”
“Our flight service is a very different model from most of the flight services across the country,” said Missi Knott, chief operating officer for LifeTeam. “The owners of our company are both emergency medicine physicians and pilots, which give them a unique understanding of every aspect of the mission. We see ourselves first and foremost as a medical service, secondly as an aviation service. We do whatever we can to help the patient and to put the patient first.”
In addition to the patient transport services, LifeTeam also offers a membership program that provides prepaid protection against the cost of a LifeTeam air transport, which may exceed insurance or medical benefits. For members, the company waives all out-of-pocket costs for the transport. Patients with current memberships from other providers also would be covered.
For more information about the membership program, contact Courtney Bachrodt at (316) 281-8718, or visit www.lifeteam.us/membership.php.
LifeTeam also operates emergency transport aircraft from Dodge City ,Emporia, Hutchinson and Liberal, as well as McCook and Grand Island, Neb. The company also provides ground transport in Wichita and Newton.