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New air base in Idaho Falls will provide quicker response times in emergency situations, officials say

Idaho Falls

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After installing an air base in Soda Springs, Air Idaho Rescue met us at the tarmac for a ride | June 2018,

The following is a news release from Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

IDAHO FALLS — Air Idaho Rescue, an air program of Air Methods, the leading air medical service provider, announced a partnership with Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center to open its newest base at EIRMC in Idaho Falls.

The base will provide air medical services to Bonneville, Bingham, Jefferson, Butte, Madison, Caribou, Bannock, and Fremont counties, as well as the surrounding areas, and will result in quicker response times for emergent and trauma situations. This new base will also support NICU patients in cooperation with EIRMC’s NICU transport team, resulting in much faster response times to patients in need.

Officials from EIRMC, a Level II Trauma Center, recognized the growing need for an air medical service to serve the area (particularly babies in need), more rapidly and determined the need for the new base. 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. EIRMC offers the state’s only Burn Center; the region’s only Level I Intensive Care Unit, Level III Neonatal Intensive Care, and Pediatric Intensive Care units; and the region’s only Joint Commission Certified “Primary Stroke Center” and Behavioral Health Center. 

“Having access to air medical services is incredibly important to our community, and is a key initiative for our organization,” said David Hoffenberg, Chief Operating Officer of Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center in Idaho Falls. “As the largest medical facility in the region and the region’s healthcare hub, we serve many rural areas that require air medical services to address emergencies and save lives. Serving Southeast Idaho, western Wyoming, Yellowstone National Park and parts of Montana, our partnership with Air Idaho Rescue is an integral element to the care we provide to both residents and tourists.”

RELATED | After installing an air base in Soda Springs, Air Idaho Rescue met us at the tarmac for a ride

EIRMC provides the highest level of NICU care in the region as the only Level III NICU in Eastern Idaho, Western Wyoming, and Southwestern Montana. Supported daily by Neonatologists, Neonatal Nurse Practitioners, and specialty trained nursing and respiratory therapy staff, the EIRMC NICU is capable of taking babies as low as 22-weeks gestational age. The EIRMC NICU is also supported by a dedicated NICU transport team, staffed with Air Idaho’s team as well as EIRMC’s NICU Nurses and Respiratory Therapists. 

Air Idaho Rescue provides essential and lifesaving services throughout the state of Idaho and surrounding communities. During missions, highly trained medical teams care for patients with lifesaving interventions, from providing trauma care after an accident to administering clot-busting medications that must be given shortly after a major stroke to significantly improve outcomes. The clinical support and speed of missions are critical to giving patients the best possible outcomes.

Air Idaho Rescue provides air medical services 24/7/365 to the surrounding area. The base will be staffed by more than 16 crew members, including pilots, flight nurses, flight paramedics, and mechanics, and it will operate an A-Star 350, the same type of helicopter that landed on Mount Everest. Its location will ensure patients have quick access to the full medical services available after initial transport.

“In emergency situations that we are called to, minutes can be the differences between life and death,” said Air Methods area manager Mike Jenkins. “We are excited to partner with EIRMC to service Southeastern Idaho and the surrounding areas to ensure emergency medical care is accessible to everyone in these communities. We would also like to thank Caribou Memorial Hospital for their valued partnership and look forward to continued service to the residents of Caribou County and the surrounding areas.”

Air Methods will move its Air Idaho Rescue Air 5 A Star aircraft from Soda Springs, Idaho to Idaho Falls. Air Methods will continue to cover the Caribou County service area with this and other Air Idaho Rescue air medical rotor-wing and fixed-wing aircraft.

The new base is expected to open mid-January or sooner, weather permitting.