Roosevelt Medical Center Joins Stat Air Ambulance Service Co-Op
When time is of the essence, STAT Air is ready to fly patients to the hospitals where they can receive the advance care they need.
Roosevelt Medical Center will now be part of the team assisting emergency medical patients from the air, following the RMC Governing Board's recent approval of joining the Northeast Montana STAT Air Ambulance Cooperative.
The group, currently made up of hospitals in Wolf Point, Poplar, Glasgow and Malta, recently opened the cooperative up to other facilities in Northeast Montana which already they fly patients to larger facilities. To date, Circle and Baker have also joined the cooperative and several others are considering it.
This collaboration will help ensure Stat Air, a non-profit, is able to continue offering services to the area as other for-profit and national air services try to make a footprint in the area. This venture will also provide staff at RMC with additional educational needs, disaster and emergency response assistance and the potential for upgraded equipment within RMC's facility.
"We have already worked together for a number of years to ensure patients in critical conditions had transportation to larger facilities with specialists, advanced diagnostic equipment and the ability to perform more intense treatments and procedures. This agreement solidifies that partnership and will help ensure that patients have access to quality, critical healthcare," said Audrey Stromberg, Administrator for RMC.
The flight program is responsible for caring for patients being transported by air, in an intensive care environment, from one facility to another. "Our mission is to provide high quality, cost effective, medical care with well-trained physicians, staff and pilots to make sound medical and aviation decisions," said Clay Berger, program director.
This frequently involves stabilizing a patient in the referring facility, which may have limited resources and personnel. Flight crews from Stat Air are trained in all aspects of risk of transporting patients in the air environment. "We are equipped with the same equipment, medications and skills you would expect to find in larger emergency rooms and intensive care units. We pride ourselves in calling ourselves a mobile ER and ICU," Berger stated.
Air ambulance patients are often people who are in severe cardiac or pulmonary crises or have suffered a multi-system trauma, severe burns or spinal cord injury.
When RMC uses STAT Air, as opposed to other regional for-profit flight air ambulances, it also has the potential to save the patient money because STAT Air is able to accept a discounted rate from insurance companies.
Patients also receive expedited service to their hospital destination with flights originating from Glasgow. It's a 30-minute flight to Culbertson. When other air services are used, it can take over an hour and up to an hour-and-a-half if Billings' air services are used. Also, if STAT Air flights are busy servicing other patients, they also assume the responsibly of locating another flight carrier to pick up the patient.
As a member, RMC will have representation on their board of trustees and have an equal vote in decision making. Audrey Stromberg, Administrator, and one governing board member will attend a monthly meeting as part of the cooperative agreement. This gives the members an opportunity to address regional and local issues that may be affecting the hospitals.
STAT Air is presently in the process of building an aircraft and office complex at the Glasgow Airport.
"We have been offering this opportunity to area hospitals to continue to invest in making and insuring STAT Air continues to be the excellent flight program it has become and to offer our rural communities air transport at a reasonable cost," Berger said.
STAT Air formed in 2006 as a non-profit organization. In its early years, the service operated about 300 flights a year. Throughout FY 2016, they project they will serve some 575 flight patients.
The flight crew typically consists of a pilot, flight nurse and EMT. On non-typical flights, more medical staff members may be needed. Generally, if a fourth crew member is not required, that seat is reserved for a family member.
The services utilize two Pilatus PC12 pressurized twin-engine, medically configured aircraft.