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Weslaco base expands Air Methods' services in Texas
Air Methods' AirLift Texas Weslaco base will provide emergency air medical services 24/7/365 with its EC130 air ambulance helicopter.
The EC130 will provide emergency air medical services to the Rio Grande Valley communities.

US air medical service provider Air Methods has opened a new base in Weslaco, AirLift Texas, 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 transport for patients needing specialised care.

Because safety is a top priority, only daytime operations were performed for a couple of weeks after the opening to allow the crew to acclimatise to the region. During this period, pilots became familiar with the terrain while base operations officials ensured everything worked properly and met 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,” says senior strategic solutions executive Brandon Ryan. “While you only saw us during the day for those 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 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, paediatric 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,” says regional sales director Kelly Shepherd. “At a time when more than 85 million Americans live more than an hour's drive from Level I or II trauma centres, there is an increasing demand for air medical services to ensure that patients have access to necessary care centres.”

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 trauma clinicians and pilots with years of experience in the field, and skilled aviation mechanics at the base ensure the aircraft is always safe and mission ready.

AirLift Texas will also be stocked with whole blood to be administered in-flight during pre-hospital air medical transport for patients who are suffering significant blood loss and are at risk for haemorrhagic 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,” says 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 it serves. Its average out-of-pocket patient cost per flight is less than $265 and it has secured in-network agreements with Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare and more than 30 additional health insurance companies. In addition, its patient advocacy programme works with all patients, regardless of insurance, to ensure affordability.

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