St. David's HealthCare February 08, 2017

Fixed-Wing Ambulance Aircraft Transport Allows Patients to be Transported Greater Distances, With Fewer Limitations

AUSTIN, Texas—St. David’s HealthCare today announced it is the first in the region to offer a hospital-affiliated fixed-wing ambulance aircraft service for the timely and seamless transfer of emergent and acute care patients. As part of this service, St. David’s HealthCare now has a dedicated fixed-wing ambulance aircraft available exclusively to its facilities.

“We are pleased to offer this service to our Central Texas patients and to people outside of this community who need a higher level of care than what is currently available in their regions,” David Huffstutler, president and chief executive officer of St. David’s HealthCare, said. “Fixed-wing ambulance air transports allow us to reach patients at greater distances—and at greater speeds. It also has fewer limitations, allowing us to better serve patients within the region and beyond.”

In addition to being able to travel to surrounding states for transports—as well as other areas of the world, with an alternative aircraft—with greater speed, the fixed-wing ambulance aircraft is not as limited by inclement weather conditions, including fog. The fixed-wing ambulance aircraft also provides a more comfortable ride for patients and medical staff—it experiences less turbulence; it does not require passengers to wear a helmet; and it makes less noise, eliminating the need for earphones and allowing medical staff to perform better patient assessments.

“Previously, we would have to stabilize patients, then drive them to another facility via ground ambulance or helicopter, which can take a considerable amount of time, depending on the distance, and often required refueling stops, causing a delay in care,” Brett Steffen, director of outreach and EMS relations for St. David’s HealthCare, said. “Because time is of the essence when treating an emergent medical condition, the less time you spend in transition from one hospital to the other, the better.”

This private, fixed-wing ambulance aircraft service features 24-hour communications staff; a critical care registered nurse and a paramedic on every flight, with flight physicians available upon request; and a dedicated, 24/7 maternal/neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) team. The fixed-wing ambulance aircraft service is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems.

St. David’s HealthCare

With more than 110 sites across Central Texas, St. David’s HealthCare includes seven of the area’s leading hospitals and is one of the largest health systems in Texas. The organization was recognized with a Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award—the nation’s highest presidential honor for performance excellence—in 2014. St. David’s HealthCare is the third-largest private employer in the Austin area, with more than 9,000 employees.

St. David’s HealthCare is a unique partnership between a hospital management company and two local non-profits—St. David’s Foundation and Georgetown Health Foundation. The proceeds from the operations of the hospitals fund the foundations, which, in turn, invest those dollars back into the community. Since the inception of St. David’s HealthCare in 1996, more than $315 million have been given back to the community to improve the health and healthcare of people in Central Texas.