On Nov. 9, Lander County Commission received an update from AirMed Network, the sole provider of air medical services in the county. AirMed representatives showed a new helicopter the company recently acquired.
Chris Baird, of Air Med, provided an update on what the medical transport company is currently doing for county residents.
He said the company has recently taken delivery of a brand new H25 helicopter.
“We expect the aircraft to give a greater increase in performance and reliability from our previous aircraft,” Baird said, “We are roughly 30 minutes from Elko, and Battle Mountain is about halfway between Winnemucca and Elko.”
He said Austin has a slightly different situation. While it is accessible by rotary aircraft, the best medical transport asset is probably a fixed-wing aircraft.
The Association of Air Medical Services (AMS) estimates that there are nearly 400,000 rotor wing transports annually in the United States, with an additional 150,000 patients flown by fixed-wing aircraft each year.
Commissioner Patsy Waits wondered how many of those transports had come from Lander County.
“I think this is our second year with AirMed and I for one would like to see how many of our residents are taking advantage of this,” Waits said.
Baird didn't answer directly, but said he would provide a quarterly update if the commission would like.
“We need to do a better job across the board to educate residents in the county,” Baird said, adding that he is open to working with Delicia Priest at Battle Mountain General Hospital and with Austin to do a better job of getting the word out about the service.
Lander County's agreement with AirMed Network makes it possible for residents, who can prove they are from Lander County, to use the air medical transport service with no out-of-pocket costs. In addition, AirMed said a new program called the Fly-U-Home program would cover residents admitted to a hospital more than 150 miles away from their home.
AirMed Network providers have over 260 bases with helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft across 32 states. Each aircraft is on standby to provide medical services 24 hours a day in all 48 contiguous states.