Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Life Flight lands agreement with St. Luke's

Geisinger's Life Flight program will log in even more flight time beginning in mid-2018.

Geisinger and Lehigh County-based St. Luke’s University Health Network Wednesday announced an agreement for air medical collaboration. Under the agreement, Life Flight will provide air medical services for St. Luke’s, beginning on July 1.

"We'll be supplying them with this service," David Cutright, Geisinger's director of treasury operations said Wednesday following the Geisinger Authority meeting. "They're currently using another provider."

Cutright announced the agreement to authority members during the meeting, just after Geisinger had emailed announcements about the agreement to the media.

"This collaboration only impacts and replaces the current relationship between St. Luke’s and PennStar’s air medical transport," Geisinger spokeswoman Alysha Davis said. "Currently, PennStar does house a helicopter in Northampton County. The logistics regarding where the helicopter will be based have not been finalized. The helicopter is similar to those currently flown by Geisinger and will be larger than any helicopter currently serving the Lehigh Valley."

The service will feature a state-of-the-art, twin-engine EC145 helicopter manufactured from Airbus Helicopters. The aircraft is night vision goggle-certified and is more spacious, with room to carry two patients, the care team and specialized medical equipment, according to Geisinger.

"The EC145’s advanced avionics capabilities allow flight crews to conduct both instrument-only and single-pilot flights," the release stated.

St. Luke’s currently contracts with Penn Medicine, of Philadelphia, to provide air medical services through the PennSTAR program, that health system's critical care flight and ground transportation service.

Neither St. Luke's nor Geisinger responded to questions of why St. Luke's decided to switch to Geisinger's medical helicopter program and what the network will pay Geisinger for the service.

But officials of both health systems issued statements on the agreement.

“St. Luke’s is excited to be collaborating with Geisinger to provide excellent air transport and medical coverage for patients in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding counties,” said Joel Fagerstrom, St. Luke’s University Health Network’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.

“Our Life Flight program has a long history of providing the highest level of critical care emergent transport services to people in need, and we look forward to working in conjunction with St. Luke’s to ensure that patients have access to professional and timely air medical services,” said Thomas B. Weir, associate chief administrative officer, Geisinger Clinic.

According to Geisinger, its Life Flight helicopters have transported more than 60,000 patients over the past 36 years. The program that includes 100 team members utilizes seven helicopters out of five bases, at the medical center near Danville, outside Minersville in Schuylkill County, State College, at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in Pittston Township and at Williamsport Regional Airport. Approximately 65 percent of the program's flights are transports from one hospital to another, and 35 percent are from vehicle crashes and other incidents in Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania.

According to the release, St. Luke’s University Health Network is a regional, nonprofit network providing services at seven hospitals and more than 270 outpatient sites in Lehigh, Northampton, Carbon, Schuylkill, Bucks, Montgomery, Berks and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. In partnership with Temple University, St. Luke’s created the region’s first and only regional medical school campus. It also operates the nation’s oldest nursing school and 23 graduate medical educational programs.

Original article can be found here ➤

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