Ministry Health Care announced today (on Monday, March 14) that its Ministry Spirit Medical Transportation Service (Spirit) will begin to operate a helicopter ambulance from a Ministry Saint Mary’s Hospital base in Rhinelander in June, 2011.
In 2010, Spirit was unable to respond to 190 requests for air transport services due to other transports being already in process or to the aircraft being out of service for maintenance. 61% of these requests originated in the Northwoods.
The placement of an additional helicopter in Rhinelander will increase the availability and the effective range of the service, and it will reduce the response time to Northwoods patients.
“Time is a critical factor in the outcome of treatment for trauma, heart attack, and stroke victims, “ said Dr. Heong P’ng, Medical Director of the Spirit Ministry Medical Transportation service. “Basing a helicopter in the Northwoods will dramatically reduce the time it takes to transport patients to the region’s trauma and specialty referral centers in Marshfield and Weston/Wausau.”
Northern Region CEO and President of Ministry Sacred Heart and Saint Mary’s Hospitals, Monica Hilt, noted that “this is evidence of Ministry’s continued commitment and willingness to invest in appropriate technology and resources that contribute to the cost-effective delivery of best-practice outcomes to our patients and the communities we serve.”
Ministry’s Spirit currently provides air and inter-facility ground ambulance transportation services to residents of central and northern Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan. The service’s existing EC 145 helicopter is dispatched from Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, while its ground ambulances operate from dispatch centers in Marshfield, Stevens Point, Weston, Woodruff, and Rhinelander. Its Weston base at Ministry Saint Clare’s Hospital also includes an advanced life support intercept service that supports the paramedic staffed ambulances of Weston and surrounding communities.
The Ministry Spirit aircraft are owned and operated by Air Methods, of Englewood, Colorado. Air Methods expects the Rhinelander-based AS350 helicopter to be in service by June 1, 2011. Flight nurses and other medical personnel are employed by Ministry Health Care.
The Spirit Medical Transportation Service works closely with first responders, emergency medical personnel and other medical professionals throughout the region to keep patients first. It is operated by Ministry Health Care, an integrated system of hospitals, clinics, and related services that are sponsored by the Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother. The system’s operations include 15 hospitals and 52 clinics that serve communities throughout central and northern Wisconsin, and southeastern Minnesota. Ministry’s mission as a Catholic health care system is to further the healing ministry of Jesus by continually improving the health and well-being of all people, especially the poor, in the communities it serves.