We are excited to be collaborating with Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center, a New Jersey state designated Level II trauma center, to provide their emergency response aircraft with blood in flight.

Blood products save lives during a medical emergency – especially for patients in or at risk for hemorrhagic shock or faced with significant trauma.

“Frequently our caregivers are faced with the emergency transport of a critically injured trauma patient,” said Mark D. Sparta, FACHE, president, Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center. “Clinical research shows providing blood-products in the field improves outcomes for these patients. It is in the best interest of the community we serve to carry blood on board our emergency medical aircrafts. We are thrilled to be the first New Jersey hospital-based air medical program licensed to store and carry whole blood.”  

The most common incidents that cause significant blood loss include motor vehicle accidents, falls from significant heights, penetrating traumas, and pedestrians struck by a vehicle. Sadly, these incidents occur in all communities and require rapid access to critical care.

Trauma patients often arrive at the hospital critically injured. This program allows Hackensack’s highly-trained flight nurses and paramedics to get a jump on the patient’s care journey that would otherwise have only been available at the hospital. Every step that can be taken enroute to stabilize patients increases their likelihood for survival.

The air medical whole blood program is dedicated to the memory of Hackensack Meridian Hackensack University Medical Center EMS flight nurse Michael Howlin, a passionate advocate for the care of seriously ill and critically injured patients. Mike’s vision began in 2019 and reached this major milestone today.

Read more about the partnership here.

Thank you to the New York Legislature for putting patients first

(GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado, May 28, 2021) Air Methods, which serves New York State as LifeNet of New York, applauds Senator Hinchey, Assemblywoman Woerner, and the New York legislature for passing S. 4085/A.2561 earlier this week. This important legislation will allow air transport ambulance service providers to store and distribute blood at all their facilities and initiate and administer transfusions while providing air transport services.

“On behalf of all of our crewmembers serving the state of New York and the patients we will be called to treat, we thank the cosponsors and supporters of this bill for their months of dedicated leadership on this critical issue,” said JaeLynn Williams, CEO of Air Methods Corporation. “This law will save the lives of countless New Yorkers and we are grateful to the New York legislature for allowing us to provide this important care to our patients.”

Air medical crews in New York are currently prohibited from initiating a blood transfusion from blood stores at their base, because outdated state regulations required these services to operate as blood bank distribution centers. New York is the only state in the nation with a law like this on the books, which effectively prohibits air medical crews from providing blood transfusions despite providing the highest level of medical care in-transport as critical care services.

“Our crewmembers work in air medical to save lives, but their hands have been tied while providing care to patients in New York that needed blood transfusions while in transport,” said Air Methods Chief Nursing Officer Stephanie Queen, PhD. “Our patient transport data shows that over the last several years lives have been lost as a result of this outdated law in New York; passing S. 4085/A. 2561 was the right thing to do for New Yorkers.”

After two years of working with the New York Department of Health and the legislature, this regulatory correction was necessary to bring New York up to the standards of the rest of the nation. The issue has gained traction in 2021 when after a farming accident, a LifeNet of New York aircraft was dispatched but not available, so the patient had to be transported by Guthrie Air from Sayre, Pennsylvania. This neighboring state allows the transporting of blood and allows blood transfusions during flight. The patient lost both of his legs, but the blood transfusion was absolutely necessary to save his life after experiencing such high-acuity trauma. This was only possible because the care was provided by a Pennsylvania-based aircraft, not one from New York.

Because air ambulance services, like LifeNet, often partner with the American Red Cross in other states, they frequently have access to more blood products on-site than a small hospital. This new law will help air ambulances to not deplete the rural hospital blood supply at all and to actually improve it by donating unused blood products to local health systems to be used before they expire.

“New York patients in upstate and rural New York remain at a disadvantage until this law is implemented, but we are prepared to take action the moment we are allowed to provide this care. Including more than $100,000 of equipment at the ready at our ten New York bases with our clinicians trained and ready to comply with all of the regulatory and accreditation requirements,” said Queen. “We have also confirmed with our national blood supply partner, the American Red Cross, that we will be able to distribute human blood products at our New York bases starting mid-Summer if the law is implemented by then.” 

Air Methods and LifeNet of New York hope that Governor Andrew Cuomo will sign the bill into law quickly. The bill will go into effect immediately upon being signed, which means Air Methods can utilize the infrastructure they are building in New York state to provide blood transfusions in-flight as quickly as possible under the new law.

“We are counting the days until this is signed because we can’t bear to see any more trauma patients put at an increased medical risk unnecessarily in New York,” said Williams. “Thank you again to the New York legislators for all their support and we look forward to Governor Cuomo signing the bill to allow our incredible clinical teams to do what they do best – save lives.”

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About Air Methods
Air Methods is the leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 70,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the Company’s products division specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

Media Contacts:                                                                                                                 
Doug Flanders
VP Corporate Communications, Air Methods
[email protected]

Adam Beeson                                                                                                           
Amendola Communications for Air Methods                                                                                           
(847) 867-0048
[email protected]

2021 is in full swing and we wanted to remind everyone January is National Blood Donor Month. Due to seasonal illnesses during the winter months and inclement weather conditions, donations of blood and platelets decline and demand increases. The American Red Cross has a critical need for blood and is encouraging everyone to donate this month.

Carrying blood and plasma has been a top priority for Air Methods for years because it is often needed for patients with traumatic injuries. However, in some areas, it has not always been a feasible option to carry blood or plasma given that those resources are often limited. For that reason, Air Methods is a longtime partner of the American Red Cross, which supplies our aircraft with blood and plasma.

As a company, Air Methods is proactive and wants to provide all the equipment of an ICU on its aircraft so patients in emergent care situations are cared for throughout the flight to or between hospitals. In patients at risk for hemorrhagic shock, the administration of thawed plasma during prehospital air medical transport has proven safe and resulted in lower 30-day mortality and a lower median prothrombin-time ratio than standard-care resuscitation.

The addition of plasma in each transport is a critical milestone as it provides the crew with another tool to use with the patient in time-sensitive situations, such as after a car accident where a patient is severely bleeding.

Blood donation is safer than ever before and saves millions of people including cancer patients, organ recipients, and victims of accidents. Those who donate blood during the month of January are entered for a chance to win two tickets to the 2022 Super Bowl.

This op-ed is from five New York medical directors for LifeNet New York

New York currently does not allow air ambulances to carry and transfuse its own blood products. Recently, several medical directors from our LifeNet bases wrote an op-ed calling for the state legislature to change this law.

We write as the medical directors of LifeNet of New York to bring attention to a key medical issue for emergency patients in New York, impacting patients for decades without being corrected. Our service provides emergency critical care to patients across the state at a moment’s notice, an ICU-level care for the most critically ill and injured patients who require transport to tertiary or quaternary care facilities to treat their illness or injury. LifeNet of New York has been on the front lines of the COVID-19 health crisis, including transporting critical patients on ventilators from an overwhelmed facility in Queens to hospitals in upstate New York and out-of-state, an endeavor documented in multiple news reports.

While we are proud of the medical care provided by LifeNet of New York, we are writing today to ask the New York State Legislature to authorize our service to carry and transfuse our own blood products to our patients that need these therapies. Air Methods treats patients in 48 states across the U.S., and New York is currently the only state where regulations do not allow our clinical team to monitor, store, and transfuse blood products. We must be able to use every health resource we have to treat our patients, but the state of New York has tied one hand behind our back.

When we are dispatched to transport a patient who requires a blood transfusion, LifeNet of New York’s ­­­­nurses and paramedics cannot deliver that care. Instead, we must rely on the sending facility to have enough blood to transfuse the patient before transport, which is not often the case in the small rural hospitals to which we respond. Our service already has a national contract in place with the American Red Cross to carry two units of universal packed red blood cells on every helicopter and where available, plasma as well. This is more than some small rural hospitals in New York have in reserves at any given time, yet we are prohibited from using these resources in New York.

Moreover, when we transport trauma patients from the scene of injury, we do not have our own blood and plasma to transfuse to these patients as they are bleeding to death. The only medical treatment that the state of New York will currently allow our flight nurses and paramedics to keep readily available to patients in hemorrhagic shock is salt water, either normal saline or lactated Ringers. These fluids are no substitute for blood products because they do not stop bleeding or carry oxygen. Instead, these fluids dilute the bloodstream, worsening patient outcomes.

There is a tangible human cost to the outdated statutes in New York. Our flight nurses and paramedics chose their profession because they want to save lives, not watch patients bleed to death receiving salt water instead of blood products because their hands are tied by outdated state regulations. Across our state borders, LifeNet of New York’s sister air medical programs are able to store and provide blood products as a readily available resource. We at LifeNet of New York ask that our state government gives New Yorkers the same chance for survival that New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Connecticut authorize for their residents.

We would like to thank Senator Metzger for her leadership on this critical health issue for patients in New York, by sponsoring S. 8346. We ask the New York State Legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo to support this common sense issue now and update the outdated state statutes that unnecessarily put New Yorkers at a disadvantage.

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Dr. David FE Stuhlmiller, MD FACEP FAEMS CMTE
Physician Advisor and Medical Director
LifeNet of New York
(973) 879-9053
[email protected]

Dr. Stephen Hassett MD FACEP
Associate Professor Emergency Medicine
Albany Medical Center
Physician Medical Director
LifeNet of New York
[email protected]

Dr. Beth Linkenheil, DO FACEP
Chief of Emergency Medicine
Director of Emergency Medical Services
Guthrie Health System
Physician Medical Director
LifeNet of New York
[email protected]

Dr. Luke Duncan, MD
Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine
Associate Professor of Surgical Critical Care
Albany Medical Center
Physician Medical Director
LifeNet of New York
[email protected]

Dr. Maja Lundborg-Gray, MD, FAAEM, FACEP
Physician Medical Director
LifeNet of New York
Fort Drum, Potsdam, Seneca Falls, Watertown bases

Nationwide partnership fills gaps for lifesaving blood and plasma needed for traumatic injury response and other air medical missions

(GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado, November 6, 2019) – Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider, announced today that the American Red Cross will supply blood and plasma for all its aircraft currently unaffiliated with a regional blood center or health system. The partnership affects 98 Air Methods bases nationwide.

Carrying blood and plasma has been a top priority for Air Methods for years as it is often needed for patients with traumatic injuries other disease processes resulting in hemorrhage. However, in some areas, access to blood and plasma was not a feasible option given the limited resources within the remote areas air medical access is most needed. This partnership with the American Red Cross ensures that all Air Methods aircraft will have the lifesaving biomaterials ready when needed.

The importance of having blood and plasma available during air medical missions can be a significant contributing factor in patient outcomes. For example, in patients at risk for hemorrhagic shock due to blood loss, the administration of thawed plasma during prehospital air medical transport was safe and resulted in lower 30-day mortality and faster blood clotting than standard-care resuscitation, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study.

“The addition of blood and plasma on each transport is a critical milestone as it provides our crews with another tool to use with the patient in time-sensitive situations, such as after a car accident where a patient is severely bleeding,” said Tina Giangrasso, senior vice president of Clinical Services at Air Methods. “Air Methods is proactive and wants to provide all of the equipment that an ICU has on our aircraft so that patients in emergent care situations receive optimal care throughout the flight to the hospital or between hospitals.”

Safety- and Outcomes-Focused Culture
The addition of blood and plasma on all flights is another way Air Methods continues to enhance the safety of missions and improve patient outcomes. This patient-centered culture is reflected in its clinical standards and training. For example, Air Methods’ registered nurses or paramedic-level trained clinicians must have practiced at least three years in a critical care or high-volume EMS setting. Clinicians must also obtain 100 hours of continuing education every year following Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) standards. In addition, every Air Methods mission is placed within Air Methods extensive continuous quality improvement process to identify best practices along with possible training or education opportunities. 

Another example of this dedication to safety is Air Methods’ $100-million, 10-year investment in flight simulators, announced in 2017, to ensure that the company’s 1,300 pilots are prepared for the most challenging safety scenarios. Pilots also fly the world’s largest civilian fleet of helicopters, fully-equipped with safety features such as night vision goggles (NVGs), XM satellite weather and tracking systems, GPS and helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems. Combined, Air Methods’ clinicians and pilots comprise the most-highly trained, skilled and properly equipped crews in the air medical service industry.

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About Air Methods
Air Methods is the leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 70,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the Company’s products division specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. 

About the American Red Cross
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.

Media Contacts:
Megan Smith
Amendola Communications for Air Methods
(404) 408-3379
[email protected]

Research notes timely prehospital blood and plasma transfusion results in better patient outcomes

(GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado, October 23, 2019) – Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider, announced today that its ARCH Air Medical base in Granite City, along with many other ARCH and Air Methods helicopter programs, now carry blood and plasma on every mission. Celebrating 40 years as the St. Louis region’s original air medical service, this new capability continues ARCH’s decades of focus on excellence in patient care, seen in deployment of these lifesaving products.

Air Methods has continuously strived to increase the quantity of aircraft nationwide that carry blood or plasma onboard given advantages for patients affected by traumatic injuries or other conditions that require transfusions

Carrying blood and plasma during air medical missions can be a significant contributing factor in optimal patient outcomes. For instance, patients suffering significant blood loss are at risk for hemorrhagic shock which causes the body’s organs to fail and can lead to death. 

According to a New England Journal of Medicine study, the administration of thawed plasma during prehospital air medical transport to patients at risk for hemorrhagic shock was deemed safe by medical researchers and resulted in lower 30-day mortality and faster blood clotting than standard-care resuscitation.

“Flying with blood and plasma onboard our aircraft is the equivalent of carrying a better chance of survival,” said Paul M. Ross, Jr., ARCH Air Medical regional account executive. “The ability to provide patients with potentially better outcomes is another great milestone for our team, particularly for individuals in rural areas facing long ground transport following a traumatic situation. Administration of blood combined with rapid air transport can truly help these patients who otherwise may not survive.”

Leading in Emergency Medical Care and Safety
Adding blood and plasma to ARCH helicopters and the rest of the Air Methods’ non-hospital fleet is only one of several ways the air medical provider continues to enhance safety and empower improved patient outcomes. For example, Air Methods’ patient-centered culture is represented by our dedication to technical standards and training, which leads the air medical industry. Air Methods’ registered nurses or paramedic-level trained clinicians are required to have practiced at least three years in an emergency care or intensive care setting. Clinicians must additionally obtain 100 hours of continuing education every year following Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) standards. Also, every Air Methods mission is reviewed, in part, to identify training or education opportunities. Approximately 30 cases each month undergo an in-depth quality review by clinical quality, education, compliance and risk teams to assure patient safety and best practices for continued success.

Air Methods is investing $100 million over 10 years to ensure that the company’s 1,300 pilots are prepared for the most challenging safety scenarios. Pilots fly the world’s largest civilian fleet of helicopters, which are custom designed and supplied to include clot-busting medications for stroke, monitoring devices, intra-aortic balloon pump in addition to the drug lines, transfer vents and other equipment to ensure a safe and effective transfer to hospital. Helicopters are also fully-equipped with safety features such as night vision goggles (NVGs), XM satellite weather and tracking systems, GPS and helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems. 

With blood and plasma on every needed mission, ARCH 1 and the rest of the Air Methods’ aircraft are truly serving as intensive care units in the sky.

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About Air Methods
Air Methods is the leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 70,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the Company’s products division specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. 

Media Contact:
Megan Smith
Amendola Communications, for Air Methods
(404) 408-3379
[email protected]

Research shows prompt prehospital blood and plasma transfusion results in better patient outcomes

(GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colorado, October 3, 2019) – Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider, announced today that its ARCH Air Medical base (ARCH 3) will carry blood and plasma on its missions to support improved outcomes for patients involved in traumatic injuries or other conditions that require transfusions.

Air Methods has continuously worked to increase the number of aircraft nationwide that carry blood or plasma onboard. This includes ARCH 3 where carrying blood and plasma on its flights was not feasible until now due to supply limitations and the smaller population served in its Southern Illinois service region.

Carrying blood and plasma during air medical missions can be a significant contributing factor in optimal patient outcomes. For example, patients suffering significant blood loss are at risk for hemorrhagic shock which causes the body’s organs to fail and can lead to death. The administration of thawed plasma during prehospital air medical transport to patients at risk for hemorrhagic shock was deemed safe by medical researchers and resulted in lower 30-day mortality and faster blood clotting than standard-care resuscitation, according to a New England Journal of Medicine study.

“Carrying blood and plasma on our missions to better care for our patient community was always a goal of ARCH 3, but this precious commodity was unfortunately unavailable to us,” said ARCH 3 Manager Kristin Ezell. “By partnering with the American Red Cross to ensure a consistent flow of blood and plasma has afforded us this opportunity to deliver higher-quality, evidence-based emergency medical care on our missions and it is a privilege we do not take lightly. We are honored to be able to deliver critical blood transfusions when needed and are enormously grateful to the American Red Cross for helping us protect the communities we serve.”

Leading in Emergency Medical Care and Safety
Adding blood and plasma to ARCH 3’s Bell 407 helicopter and the rest of the Air Methods’ non-hospital fleet is only one of several ways the air medical provider continues to enhance safety and enable improved patient outcomes. For example, our patient-centered culture is Air Methods’ dedication to technical standards and training, which leads the air medical industry. Air Methods’ registered nurses or paramedic-level trained clinicians are required to have practiced at least three years in an emergency care or intensive care setting. Clinicians must also obtain 100 hours of continuing education every year following Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) standards. In addition, every Air Methods mission is reviewed, in part, to identify training or education opportunities. Approximately 30 cases each month receive an in-depth quality review by clinical quality, education, compliance and risk teams to ensure patient safety and best practices for continued success.

Air Methods is also investing $100 million over 10 years to ensure that the company’s 1,300 pilots are prepared for the most challenging safety scenarios. Pilots fly the world’s largest civilian fleet of helicopters, which are custom designed and supplied to include clot-busting medications for stroke, intra-aortic balloon pump in addition to the drug lines, monitoring devices, transfer vents and other equipment to ensure a safe and effective transfer to hospital. Helicopters are also fully-equipped with safety features such as night vision goggles (NVGs), XM satellite weather and tracking systems, GPS and helicopter terrain awareness and warning systems.

Now with blood and plasma on every needed mission, ARCH 3 and the rest of the Air Methods’ aircraft are truly serving as intensive care units in the sky.

###

About Air Methods
Air Methods is the leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 70,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the Company’s products division specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft. 

Media Contact:
Megan Smith
Amendola Communications for Air Methods
(404) 408-3379
[email protected]