BURLINGTON, Vt. — The largest health care providers in Vermont and New Hampshire are working together to provide more helicopter ambulance services to patients in Vermont and upstate New York.
Officials with the University of Vermont Health Network and Dartmouth Hitchcock Health recently signed a deal that will see Dartmouth provide an air ambulance and air crew that will be based in the Burlington area. UVM will provide the medical professionals who will serve on the helicopter.
“Our service area covers 40,000 square miles, so it’s vital that we have consistently available transportation for patients who need the right care quickly,” said Ryan Clouser, medical officer for the UVM Health Network’s Regional Transport System.
The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team helicopter has flown patients across the region for decades and Dartmouth will oversee the UVM helicopter ambulance.
Some patients in the UVM network already are moved by helicopter, but it’s not consistent. Currently, hospitals in the region rely mainly on ground ambulance service for critical care transportation between facilities. The Burlington-based helicopter will not be used to pick up patients at the scene of accidents, only transfer patients between hospitals.
“All of our region’s hospitals believe that our number one responsibility is to the patients and families we serve, and we are working together to create the best system to meet their needs,” UVM Medical Center President Eileen Whalen said.
UVM’s service area reaches from the New York communities of Massena and Canton in the west to Newport in northeastern Vermont. The air ambulance service is expected to begin operation in July.