Vanderbilt LifeFlight, a subsidiary of Air Methods, has been named the Air Medical Program of the Year by the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS). The award, sponsored by Airbus Helicopters, recognises an air medical programme that has demonstrated a superior level of patient care, management prowess and quality leadership through visionary and innovative approaches, customer service, safety consciousness, community service and commitment to the medical transport community.
“Our annual awards are a wonderful opportunity to highlight the leaders in our industry,” says Cameron Curtis, AAMS president and CEO. “After careful review of all the candidates for the Program of the Year, Vanderbilt LifeFlight rose to the top in best practices for crew safety and innovative patient care during its past 36 years of operation. We are thrilled to recognise the hard work and dedication of its entire team.”
In 2005, LifeFlight executive director Jeanne Yeatman received the AAMS Excellence in Transport Leadership Award and in 2003, former flight nurse Kevin High received the Crew Member of the Year award.
“Vanderbilt LifeFlight has been a world-class leader in the area of critical care transport since 1984 and has set the pace in providing innovative air medical transport services,” comments Yeatman, interim chief nursing officer at Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital and associate chief nursing officer, executive director of Vanderbilt LifeFlight. “On behalf of our more than 300 employees, I am honoured and humbled to accept the 2020 AAMS Program of the Year award. The award is a reflection of our commitment to our hard-working employees, their safety and patient care.”
Vanderbilt LifeFlight is operated by Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in partnership with Air Methods.
“Air Methods is proud of our strong relationship with such a respected partner as Vanderbilt Medical Center to provide emergency air medical services through Vanderbilt LifeFlight,” says JaeLynn Williams, CEO of Air Methods. “It is the combination of Vanderbilt's clinical expertise and Air Methods' aviation excellence that will allow the programme to continue to lead the air medical industry, and we look forward to many more years serving communities throughout the state of Tennessee.”
In 2019, LifeFlight made more than 4,000 outreach visits, travelled more than 52,000 miles returning some 3,500 spine boards and other equipment to EMS agencies and trained more than 3,900 providers with a variety of EMS related courses. LifeFlight has eight community-based helicopters in Gallatin, Tullahoma, Clarksville, Murfreesboro, Mount Pleasant, Henry County, Humboldt, and Cookeville. LifeFlight also operates a base at Nashville International airport and 14 ALS ground ambulances, critical care ambulances, and communications and event medicine divisions.
LifeFlight was the first civilian air medical entity to purchase the Airbus EC 145 with IFR capability in the United States, a significant investment in safety for the programme. LifeFlight was the first air medical programme in Tennessee to achieve CAMTS accreditation in 2006 and used this as a springboard to bolster safety training and just culture.
Since 1984 Vanderbilt LifeFlight, accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Trauma Systems (CAMTS), has flown more than 40,000 patients.