Prisma Health and LifeNet South Carolina — an air medical company from Air Methods — have announced a new partnership to offer more coverage across South Carolina. The partnership will expand air transport availability through a new base at the Pickens County Airport with a new helicopter, according to a press release.
The base in Pickens County will allow better access to the northwest region and quick response times for emergency situations. On Wednesday, June 9, the new helicopter landed at Greenville Memorial Hospital. The helicopter has specialized medical equipment for advanced lifesaving treatment while en route to a hospital.
Dr. Aaron Dix, executive director for Prisma Health’s ambulance service, said the helicopter’s range is about 190 miles — the distance from Oconee County to Sumter. “We’re a large and busy service that provides a whole comprehensive approach to treatment and transport to the pre-hospital patient,” he said.
The coverage area includes over 300 clinicians. Dix said that last year the team transported 40,000 patients.
“This is just another addition to Prisma Health’s dedication to our community and providing just an extraordinarily compassionate, clinically evidence-based care to the patients that we serve,” Dix said.
According to LifeNet area manager Jason Bober, the helicopter will fly out of four bases: Greenville/Pickens, Orangeburg, Camden and Springfield, Georgia. “So, 24/7/365 each base will have one paramedic, one nurse and one flight pilot,” Bober said. Additionally, a mechanic will be on call around the clock.
Representatives from Air Methods explained that nurses, pilots and paramedics must have several years of experience to be hired.
“This partnership will ensure fast and efficient transport with some of the best clinicians and pilots in the industry,” said Jeff See, senior vice president of customer service at Air Methods. “South Carolinians in rural areas can now rest easier knowing they now have a quicker path to emergency medicine when they need it.”
Dr. Bill Gerard, Prisma Health EMS medical director in the Midlands, said the partnership has expanded what Prisma could do before. “By forming a partnership with Air Methods, we’re allowed to extend these critical care capabilities, education, the training and the expertise we have in the field to our rural areas and in our congested areas where there’s a time difficulty gaining access to critical care, trained personnel and procedures and interventions in a timely fashion.”