AirLife Valdosta Bolsters South Georgia's Growing Health Care Sector
Tuesday, August 5th, 2014
Operating one A-Star single-engine helicopter out of the Valdosta Regional Airport, AirLife Valdosta provides critical care to patients requiring emergency medical attention. Since it began operations in May 2013, AirLife has been successful in transporting patients in their time of need to tertiary care facilities for critical healthcare access.
"Valdosta has always had excellent health care resources. We support those resources by bringing in more business," said Christopher Medders, clinical base supervisor for AirLife Valdosta.
"Air medical transport wasn't readily available in this area before so we are bringing cardiac and stroke patients, for example, to local hospitals that previously might have gone elsewhere."
The health care sector represents huge growth potential for Valdosta, according to a 2004 study commissioned by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. The most recent Quarterly Board Meeting of the Chamber on June 24 focused on growth prospects for jobs in healthcare and medical support services in South Georgia.
Serving South Georgia
AirLife Valdosta typically flies missions within a 90-mile radius of Valdosta. In addition to the pilot, two critical-care providers – a nurse and a paramedic – are on every mission.
"We are able to fly to Atlanta in an hour and a half compared to four hours transit time by ambulance," Medders said.
"And we have two care providers to work with the patient during transport. That's a big advantage."
AirLife Valdosta is part of Air Methods, an industry-leading air medical operator based in Denver, Colorado. Established in 1980, the company operates out of 300 bases in 48 states and has approximately 4,000 employees. The base in Valdosta has 14 employees.
Partnering with the Local Community
According to Medders, AirLife Valdosta is building a strong working partnership with others in the health care industry in the region.
"We hold numerous CPR classes for the public and every month at our base we hold a class on a critical-care topic that is open to other RNs and EMTs in the community," Medders said. "We typically get anywhere from 30 to 50 people per class."
AirLife Valdosta also supports local schools and technical colleges by providing speakers and participating in various show-and-tell events.
More information on Air Methods is available at www.airmethods.com. For more information on AirLife Valdosta, contact the base at Valdosta Regional Airport at 229-253-9922.