Emory Healthcare has signed an agreement with Rocky Mountain Helicopters
to assume medical oversight for three specially equipped A-star 350 helicopters
based in nearby Griffin, Jefferson and Cartersville.
Designed as airborne critical-care units with a cruising speed of 140
mph, the helicopters are on 24-hour standby to lift critically ill and
injured patients from a 150-mile radius around these communities to the
closest appropriate hospital.
While Rocky Mountain has offered medical transport services in these communities
over the last 18 years, most recently as LifeNet, the new agreement joins
the countrys oldest and most experienced provider of helicopter
medical transport services to the states largest and most comprehensive
healthcare system. This includes Emorys extensive emergency medicine
and related patient care, along with its training programs for health
In fact, Emory physicians and the medical staff of the newly named Emory
Flight helicopters also will be actively engaged in the continuing education
of health providers in North Georgia about the newest advances in emergency
Each of the helicopters is staffed by a pilot, nurse and paramedic and
linked through advanced-technology communications to physician specialists
in the receiving hospital or facility. The decision as to where the patient
will be transported (whether or not the closest appropriate facility is
part of Emory Healthcare) will be based on medical needs and the request
of the referring physician or EMS personnel.
Serving as medical director of the Emory Flight program will be Alexander
Isakov, an experienced flight physician and assistant professor in the
Department of Emergency Medicine. Isakov received his residency training
from University of Massachusetts Medical Center, then completed two years
advanced training at Boston EMS, which handles 911 responses for the city
of Boston. He was a flight physician with the University of Massachusetts
LifeFlight Program for five years and spent four years in the U.S. Navy
in operational medical support. He remains active in the Navy Reserve.
The beauty of the Emory Flight program is that, thanks to the highly
sophisticated crew and on-board technology, protocols are implemented
and care begins the moment the helicopter sets down in the place from
which the patient is being moved, Isakov said.
The nurse and paramedic who accompany patients are highly trained in critical
care, with additional training provided on an ongoing basis by the emergency
medicine department and other medical specialties within Emory Healthcare.
They also are in constant contact with physicians during transportation
of the patient.
Each of the A-Star helicopters is outfitted with technology for aggressive
monitoring, including pulse oximetry and invasive and noninvasive hemodynamic
monitors. This means physicians waiting on the ground have vital information
in hand when the patient arrives. Other technology enables intensive patient
care, including ventilators and airway management supplies.
Emory Flight is another step in Emory Healthcares efforts
to provide the broadest spectrum of care possible to our region of the
country, said John Fox, president of Emory Healthcare. We
believe this agreement is good for Georgia. These services enhance the
capabilities of local emergency medical service responders and health
care in the state, especially in situations where rapid access to definitive
care has been shown to improve health outcomes.
Rocky Mountain Helicopters is excited about the opportunity to augment
Emory Healthcares existing high-quality specialty services,
said registered nurse Gail Helmly, program director for Rocky Mountain
Helicopters. Emory Healthcares reputation in the community
for outstanding service brings increased capability to an already successful
air medical transport program.
Rocky Mountain Helicopters has been associated with the air medical industry
for more than 25 years. It was the provider of choice of the first aeromedical
transport program in the United States, located in Denver. The company
is the nations largest provider of both the traditional, hospital-based
aeromedical program and the stand-alone (or alternative) provider services
program. It currently operates aircraft at 59 locations throughout the
United States and Puerto Rico and employs more than 750 personnel nationwide,
including medical staff.