Two non-profit air medical services, HealthNet Aeromedical Services and MedFlight of Ohio, dedicated a new Eurocopter AS-350-B2 air medical helicopter at Life Ambulance's helicopter base on Union Street Friday.
With this dedication, both MedFlight and HealthNet will jointly support the new helicopter base in partnership with Life Ambulance to supply emergency medical air transports to regional hospitals using the HealthNet 4/MedFlight 7 helicopter.
This new partnership makes the nation's first jointly sponsored air medical helicopter, the companies announced at the dedication.
“On behalf of the citizens of Portsmouth and Scioto County, I'd like to welcome HealthNet and MedFlight to Portsmouth. It's a service that we're glad to have around here,” said Portsmouth Mayor James Kalb.
The new helicopter completed its first flight on Oct. 14. Before that date, MedFlight and HealthNet had been repositioning existing helicopters to the Portsmouth area on a rotating basis since June.
“This is an exciting day for us,” said Clinton Burley, base manager of HealthNet's Huntington, W.Va, operation. “It's a culmination of a tremendous amount of work to bring air service to Scioto County, and the entire region.”
One of the key benefits of having this new helicopter, according to a statement released by HealthNet and MedFlight on Wednesday, is that it will provide rapid response to previously under- served counties - such as Scioto, Adams, Brown, and Highland counties in Ohio, as well as Lewis, Mason, and western Greenup counties in Kentucky.
A press release said that these counties have traditionally had to wait longer for emergency medical air services.
Located in the Portsmouth area, this new air medical service will be ideally placed to serve hospitals around the entire tri-state area, and of course, Southern Ohio Medical Center.
“Today marks the culmination of a lot of work and effort of all the parties here and future work of this wonderful crew,” said Claudia Burchett, chief nursing officer and vice president of SOMC. “On behalf of Southern Ohio Medical Center, we are delighted to be a part of this, and to help be a part of bringing this service to our community.”