Aeromed has relocated its emergency medical helicopter from LaBelle to Fort Myers as of 10 a.m. today to provide coverage in Lee County while MEDSTAR is out of service.
Lee County Emergency Medical Services temporarily suspended its MEDSTAR flight operations on Tuesday, August 21 to begin reconfiguration toward national accreditation standards. MEDSTAR is expected to resume operations in the next 6 to 9 months.
The helicopter is not used as a primary response for 911 calls. It is a secondary response if the ambulance crew deems it necessary for patient care/transport. LCEMS responded to 80,876 total calls in 2011. Of these calls, 525 were helicopter responses, or less than 1 percent of the total call volume.
The MEDSTAR operation was suspended as a result of the termination of the director of flight operations and the pilots. The MEDSTAR management/staff was not the proper mix needed to achieve the national standard for critical care transports. As the rebuild begins, all service delivery models will be researched, including a public-private partnership.
During this interim, an additional ambulance has been placed into service to provide coverage to the busy U.S. 41 corridor. The staffing was made possible because the 12 MEDSTAR paramedics have been reassigned to ambulances.
Critical care interfacility transfers by MEDSTAR ground ambulance will be temporarily covered either with the Aeromed helicopter or mutual aid support from Ambitrans Ambulance service.
Data from 2011 indicates an average of one critical care interfacility transfer every 3 to 4 days.
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