RRH plans for full-time air ambulance

RRH plans for full-time air ambulanceRIDGECREST REGIONAL HOSPITAL — Ridgecrest Regional Hospital has partnered with Air Methods, owner of Mercy Air, to develop a full-time air ambulance program for the city and surrounding areas.

Currently, Mercy Air bases an air ambulance at RRH for 8-12 hours each day. RRH has signed the extended contract and are preparing the way for a full-time service to commence by the end of October.

“As Ridgecrest Regional Hospital expands its role as a major provider of healthcare services in Eastern Kern County and the Highway 395 corridor, the need for a fast and reliable medical transportation system is becoming more apparent,” said Fred Hawkins, director of emergency services at RRH.

“We need to ensure that those patients requiring transfer to a higher level of care don’t wait.” He said it takes 30-40 minutes for an air ambulance to arrive to transfer patients to comprehensive medical centers outside the area.

“In such life-threatening situations, every minute is crucial, we cannot afford to wait.

The hospital is developing a master plan on how to best utilize existing and future landing pads — with a priority on moving the primary landing pad close to China Lake Boulevard and the new Emergency Department.

“Delivering a full-time air ambulance service to the area is a very exciting prospect for us,” said RRH CEO Jim Suver. “This extension of our partnership with Air Methods will ensure that we are continuing to provide the best possible service. Improving patient outcomes will always remain top of our agenda.”

A key aspect of this venture is the desire for Ridgecrest Regional Hospital to provide faster care in the U.S. Highway 395 corridor. The response of an air ambulance North to Inyo County and South along the U.S. Highway 395 corridor will significantly reduce response times and improve patient care.

Air Methods Advantage membership plans for individuals start at $40 per year, and family plans cost $75 annually for members with primary health insurance coverage.

Family memberships provide coverage to the member, spouse and dependents under age 26.

For more information about available coverage, visit www.airmethods.com/airmethodsadvantage/membership-plans.

Story First Published: 2018-09-21