Regional West Medical Center's Air Link air ambulance service in Nebraska has taken delivery of new Bell 407GXi helicopter.
Introduced in 2018, the Bell 407GXi is the fourth generation and newest version of the widely-used helicopter. The new 407GXi enhances customer value through improved safety, reliability and lower direct maintenance costs.
Under FAA Part 135, Air Link flies a Bell 407GXi helicopter maintained and operated by Med-Trans, Corp., and a Pilatus PC-12 aircraft maintained and operated by Guardian Flight.
“As the only Level II Trauma Center in Nebraska, west of Kearney, the Air Link programme is vital to providing the region's emergency trauma care,” says John Mentgen, president and CEO of Regional West Health Services. “This is an exciting day as we continue to offer the latest in technology to our crew and patients throughout the region.”
“The Bell 407GXi helicopter offers an enhanced avionics suite featuring high-definition LCD screens paired with advanced processing equipment to provide a hyperspectral imaging system (HSI), mapping technology and synthetic vision, which provides necessary information to increase the situational awareness, while easing the workload of pilots,” says Peter Meyer, MD, Air Link medical director and a Regional West Physicians Clinic emergency medicine physician.
The helicopter also features a Rolls Royce M250-C47E/4 engine with a dual Channel Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) system, providing four redundancy levels for increased safety and reliability. The flight deck further incorporates a traffic information system (TIS), a helicopter terrain avoidance warning system (HTAWS), tail rotor camera displays, a moving map, XM satellite weather and Garmin helicopter synthetic vision technology (HSVT), all while reducing exhaust emissions due to efficiencies in the new engine.
Air Link has again been awarded a full three-year accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS). The commission is a nationally recognised organisation that ensures medical transport programmes meet US standards for safety, education and training.
As of July 2022, Air Link is one of four CAMTS-accredited medical transport programmes in Nebraska and has been accredited since 2001. Across the USA, 164 programmes have earned CAMTS accreditation.
“The Air Link programme prides itself on meeting or exceeding CAMTS standards and continues to maintain this very important accreditation,” says John Mentgen, president and CEO Regional West Health Services. “The CAMTS survey is vigorous and reviews numerous areas in which a certain standard must be met to receive accreditation.”
Patient care and safety are Air Link's top priorities The team holds monthly safety meetings that include pilots, mechanics, flight crew, Air Link management, the medical director and the Transfer Center. In addition to flight critiques, meetings include educational topics that pertain to safety, such as the use of night vision goggles and going through case scenarios.
“The recertification process was thorough,” adds Peter Meyer, MD, Air Link medical director and a Regional West Physicians Clinic emergency medicine physician. “In preparing for CAMTS recertification, it gives our programme an opportunity to step back and look at our processes and service as a whole.”
Air Link became an integral part of Regional West's Trauma Services program in November of 1995. Air Link is staffed by highly trained pilots, flight nurses and flight paramedics who provide monitoring, critical care intervention and advanced life support procedures to critically ill or injured adult and paediatric patients. The programme operates throughout a five-state region comprising Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Kansas and Colorado.
Regional West Health Services in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, is the parent company of Regional West Medical Center, a 188-bed regional referral centre and the only Level II Trauma Center in Nebraska west of Kearney. As the region's only tertiary referral medical centre, Regional West offers care that spans more than 32 medical specialties provided by over 28 physician clinics. With nearly 300 in-network providers and approximately 2,000 staff members, Regional West provides comprehensive and innovative health care services for the people of western Nebraska and the neighbouring states of Colorado, South Dakota and Wyoming.