The western North Dakota region around Dickinson will soon be home to Sanford AirMed, an air ambulance service that provides medical transport for critically ill or injured patients. The move comes as Spirit Lifeline and its parent company, Texas-based Med-Trans, a national provider of air transport services, made the decision to close its office in Dickinson. Sanford AirMed expects to be open in Dickinson by late fall.
Sanford AirMed services in Dickinson will consist of a Sanford King Air B200 fixed wing aircraft and a highly trained team of flight paramedics, flight nurses, pilots and mechanics. The King Air’s average speed is 300 mph. It travels a range of 1,500 miles, is short-runway capable and carries two patients and two to five critical care attendants. Sanford currently serves the western and central North Dakota regions with a helicopter from its base in Bismarck; this will be an expansion of those services, with a new base in Dickinson.
“One year ago, Sanford delivered on its merger promise by expanding Sanford AirMed services to Bismarck. This is a continuation of Sanford’s commitment to serve people in our region by expanding air transport services in Dickinson and western North Dakota. It’s really a very positive move for the people of this region,” said Craig Lambrecht, M.D., Sanford Bismarck president.
“When Med-Trans announced they were leaving Dickinson, we knew it was important to find a way to serve this region. Air transportation is so vital in rural areas such as ours to deliver life-saving care quickly when needed,” said Brook Nelson, M.D., general surgeon, Sanford Health Dickinson Clinic.
Sanford will work with employees of Med-Trans to offer employment where career opportunities align. Med-Trans employees have a great reputation for quality and safety in the industry. A flight paramedic, flight nurse and pilot will be on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Sanford AirMed operates a fleet of four helicopters and four airplanes from bases in Bismarck and Fargo, N.D., Sioux Falls, S.D., and Bemidji, Minn.
Sanford AirMed service can be activated by hospitals and first responders, such as the local ambulance service, fire department or law enforcement. Sanford AirMed will transport patients to the facility of their choice or to the nearest appropriate medical facility. AirMed typically serves patients in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana. Sanford AirMed has over a 35-year history and has flown more than 60,000 patients. Sanford AirMed is the only CAMTS Accredited air medical program in North Dakota.
Sanford has long served the Dickinson region with a clinic making this is a logical expansion of services. In February 2014, the new Sanford Health Dickinson Clinic opened replacing the old clinic. Located along I-94, the new facility is more than six times the size of the former clinic location and can house more than 20 physicians, providing better patient access than ever before.