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Air ambulance service to change in western Montana

Published On: Dec 30 2013 09:25:56 PM MST   Updated On: Dec 30 2013 09:26:59 PM MST
Air ambulance service to change in western Montana

Big changes are coming for air ambulance service in western Montana. Providence St.Patrick Hospital has decided to switch from Life Flight to Northwest MedStar.

Community Medical Center and St. Patrick Hospital used to run their own air ambulance services, but in August 2012 Community Medical dropped Care Flight and the two hospitals agreed to share Life Flight.

Now NBC Montana has learned both hospitals have agreed to switch from Life Flight to a new air ambulance provider. St. Patrick Hospital made the announcement in a news release Monday.

In place of Life Flight, air ambulance services will come from Northwest MedStar, a nonprofit corporation based in Spokane, Washington.

According to St. Patrick Hospital, the decision to switch comes from an effort to improve operational efficiency.

Before making the change the hospital consulted their cross-town partner in critical care transport, Community Medical Center, and now both facilities will use Northwest MedStar.
Northwest MedStar directors tell us all critical care transportation services will remain intact during the transition.  At the same time they're trying to transition Life Flight crews so they can keep their jobs.  

"We're just really honored to be selected to provide critical care transport services in Montana,” said Marketing Communications Director Nicole Stewart.  “Our desire is that all current staff applies for the new positions and we really understand that the process is aimed at maintaining 100 percent of the staff."

Northwest MedStar will assume operation of air ambulance services in Missoula in April 2014.