Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider in the U.S., is thrilled to announce the opening of AirLift Texas, a new base in Weslaco, Texas, on June 1st to provide emergency air medical services to the city and surrounding Rio Grande Valley communities. Opening the base will result in quicker response times for emergent and trauma situations and provide interfacility transports for patients needing specialized care.
Because safety is a top priority, the base will open on June 1st with a couple of weeks of daytime operations only to allow the crew to acclimate to the region. During this period, pilots will become familiar with the terrain while base operations officials ensure everything works properly and meets Air Methods’ high standards for safety.
“Safety is our top priority, and we will always choose safety for everyone on board the aircraft over any business benefit.” said Brandon Ryan, Senior Strategic Solutions Executive from Air Methods. “While you’ll only see us during the day for these first two weeks, rest assured that we are taking the safety-first approach to build the foundation that will allow us to serve this community for many years to come.”
The AirLift Texas Weslaco base is located at the Mid Valley Airport at 1909 Joe Stephens Ave., and will ultimately provide emergency air medical services 24/7/365 to the region, responding to emergency medical calls for trauma events such as heart attacks and strokes, pediatric emergencies, and other incidents, as well as critical interfacility transports.
“We established this base due to the growing need for an air medical base in the Rio Grande Valley to better serve the entire region,” said Kelly Shepherd, Regional Sales Director of Air Methods. “At a time when more than 85 million Americans live more than an hour’s drive from Level I or II trauma centers, there is an increasing demand for air medical services to ensure that patients have access to necessary care centers.”
To combat these challenges, the team from AirLift Texas is actively establishing operating relationships with care providers throughout the region, including Weslaco Fire Department EMS, MedCare EMS, South Texas Emergency Care, Willacy County EMS, Brownsville EMS, Valley Baptist Health System, and McAllen Medical Center, which is part of the South Texas Health System.
The AirLift Texas air ambulance helicopter is an EC130 airframe staffed with industry-leading trauma clinicians and pilots with years of experience in the field and skilled aviation mechanics at the base who ensure the aircraft is always safe and mission ready.
AirLift Texas will also be stocked with whole blood to be administered in-flight during prehospital air medical transport for patients who are suffering significant blood loss and are at risk for hemorrhagic shock, which causes the body’s organs to fail and can lead to death.
“Having access to blood in-flight is such a valuable resource in our community,” said Shepherd. “With this tool, patients have the potential for better outcomes, particularly when AirLift Texas is serving individuals in rural areas who rely on air transport to quickly get them to the emergency care they need. Administration of blood, combined with rapid air transport, can truly help critically ill or injured patients who otherwise might not survive.”
Air Methods is committed to providing air medical services to all members of the communities we serve. Their average out-of-pocket patient cost per flight is less than $265 and they have secured in-network agreements with Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, and more than 30 additional health insurance companies. In addition, their patient advocacy program works with all patients, regardless of insurance, to ensure affordability.