New Alliance Broadens Access to Air Medical Transport Services in Virginia

10.27.2021

VCU Health System, Bon Secours, Mary Washington Healthcare and Riverside Health System join forces to create shorter response times and greater alignment for air ambulance services in the Commonwealth.
VCU Health System, Bon Secours, Mary Washington Healthcare and Riverside Health System today announced an air medical transport alliance that will increase access and shorten response times for patient transfers requiring critical care air support. Supported by Med-Trans Corporation, the alliance will add a new air base in Hanover, expanding access to life-saving air transport services northeast of Richmond.

“When a patient is critically ill or injured, seconds count,” said Art Kellermann, M.D., senior vice president for health sciences at VCU and CEO of VCU Health System. “So does skill, dedication and teamwork. This new alliance proves that when community-based health systems come together to serve all Virginians, good things happen. It will save lives.”

This month marks the 20-year anniversary of VCU LifeEvac’s first flight and expands the base locations from two to three. The fleet will offer accident scene responses and critical care air transport service 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

VCU Health will continue providing expert medical oversight and clinical staff for the LifeEvac fleet, putting the resources and expertise of its nationally-renowned Level I Trauma Center and Neonatal Intensive Care staff in the air. Med-Trans will own and maintain the helicopters and provide highly-skilled pilots to fly them.

The base locations are as follows:

• Hanover Airport (new location)
• Bon Secours Southside Medical Center in Petersburg (will relocate from Dinwiddie County Airport later this year)
• Middle Peninsula Airport in West Point (existing location)

“This expansion strongly positions our institutional alliance for the future and demonstrates the successful coordinating capacity and collaboration among these four health systems,” said Faraaz Yousuf, president, Bon Secours Richmond. “Bon Secours is proud to be a part of this alliance, which will benefit both our local Richmond community and the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

The alliance’s helicopter fleet operates as a community resource, transporting patients to the most appropriate hospital in the region based strictly on their clinical needs. Alliance partners will meet quarterly to review performance metrics and implement changes to best serve patients everywhere.

“We offer a service we sincerely hope you will never need,” said Eileen Dohmann, senior vice president and chief nursing officer, Mary Washington Healthcare. “However, if your life ever depends on receiving the highest level of care possible during transfers, this alliance ensures you receive seamless continuity of that extraordinary care.”

Adding a third air medical transport base in Hanover will significantly decrease flight response times. A trip to the Kings Dominion area from the Dinwiddie County Airport base currently takes 22 minutes. Once the Hanover base is fully operational, the response time will drop to less than 10 minutes.

The LifeEvac helicopter fleet will be branded to match three of the partner organizations. VCU Health System, Bon Secours and Riverside Health System will each have a LifeEvac helicopter representing its brand under the LifeEvac umbrella to reinforce the message that this is a multi-system alliance.

“We are incredibly proud to operate as part of this alliance,” said Mike Dacey, M.D., president and chief operating officer for Riverside Health System. “We are committed to providing world-class service and care alongside other health systems that share our values.”

Med-Trans Corporation, part of the Global Medical Response (GMR) family of companies, is succeeding Air Methods Corporation as medical transport provider for VCU Health System. Med-Trans is a leading national medical transport provider with more than 100 base locations in 26 states.
“Med-Trans is proud to partner with these three outstanding hospitals to provide rapid, safe transport to patients in need of a higher level of emergency health care,” said Kim Montgomery, chief operating officer for Med-Trans Corp. “Our expert pilots and aviation maintenance professionals provide the highest level of safety for flight crews and patients.”

“We are grateful for our long-term partnership with Air Methods Corporation, which began in 2001,” said Bert Bogue, Critical Care Transport Network administrator at VCU Health. “Thousands of patients from across the Commonwealth and beyond have benefited from extraordinary flight service and in-transit critical care over nearly two decades. Our new partnership with Med-Trans positions us to further expand our geographical footprint to help even more people in need across the region.”