Living in sparsely populated areas has its appeal, but what happens in an emergency when you need medical care but are miles and miles away from a hospital or treatment facility?
In western Colorado and eastern Utah, CareFlight of the Rockies, an air medical transport company, can make the difference between life and death. Critically injured or sick patients are flown to treatment facilities at a faster rate than in a car or ambulance.
Or if needed, patients can be transported from small hospitals to higher-level hospitals within a 250- to 300-mile radius of Grand Junction, Rifle and Montrose.
St. Mary’s Medical Center is the managing partner of CareFlight and the hospital employs every member of the medical crew. St. Mary’s uses existing contracts with payers, which historically has allowed them to keep costs down for patients.
Pilots, nurses, paramedics and more
The air medical transport company employs FAA-certified pilots with mountain terrain flying experience and accredited flight nurses, paramedics, neonatal nurse practitioners and respiratory therapists experienced in air medical transport and treatment.
“We fly about 1,700 patients a year,” said Kelly Thompson, RN, Chief of Operations.
With three launch locations and seven medical partners, CareFlight is well positioned to swiftly respond to calls throughout western Colorado and eastern Utah, often working with search and rescue teams to help ensure the best possible outcomes.
“We rescue sick and injured people in remote areas that would normally take hours for a ground crew to reach,” Thompson said. “We’re able to get to them quickly.”
“We’re really the only emergency facility within 65 miles of Telluride,” explained Bill Hall, MD, an emergency physician with Telluride Regional Medical Center, a CareFlight member. “Given our remote location, air transport is critical for us, especially for our sickest patients.”