UVM Health Network, Dartmouth-Hitchcock enter air transport agreement

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UVM Health Network, Dartmouth-Hitchcock enter air transport agreement

Wed, 12/20/2017 - 4:16pm -- tim

Two DHART choppers fly over the West Lebanon, NH, hospital. D-H photo.

Vermont Business Magazine Hospitalized patients who need lifesaving care available only at another hospital in the region will benefit from a new collaboration between the University of Vermont Health Network and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health. As part of an ongoing commitment to provide access to high-quality care for patients through stronger connections between the region’s hospitals, UVM Health Network has signed a contract to staff a helicopter provided by the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART)’s air ambulance program. Dartmouth-Hitchcock will oversee the program, leveraging its over two decades of experience operating a premier air ambulance program in northern New England. This is the latest step in the development by UVM Health Network of a comprehensive Regional Transport System (RTS), and will allow medical experts to better respond when minutes matter.

“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, DO, medical officer for the UVM Health Network’s Regional Transport System. “When a patient needs services that cannot be delivered where they are hospitalized, physicians will be able to arrange for critical care transportation to get them to a hospital with highly trained and expert teams who can provide the necessary care.”

“For patients suffering from trauma, heart attack or stroke, and who require a higher level of care, time is vital,” said Kent Hall, MD, chief medical officer at the University of Vermont Health Network’s Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital in Plattsburgh, New York.

Currently, hospitals in the region rely mainly on ground ambulance service for critical care transportation between facilities, which can mean hundreds of miles of travel and a prolonged time to lifesaving care. For example, patients experiencing a heart attack or stroke can sometimes receive clot-busting drugs at a rural hospital, but time is of the essence for those who need more advanced procedures within a limited window of time for the best outcomes.

“This approach is exciting because it values partnership over ownership,” said Eileen Whalen, MHA, RN, president and chief operating officer at the UVM Medical Center. “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.”

“We’re pleased to be able to collaborate with our colleagues at the UVM Health Network in expanding this important Regional Transport and Transfer System,” said Kyle Madigan, RN, MSN, CMTE, DHART Director. “Dartmouth-Hitchcock has provided air and ground ambulance services through DHART for more than 20 years, and we’re proud of our reputation for excellence in service. We look forward to providing an expanded reach of air medical services to the patients of Vermont and Northern New York.”

It is anticipated that the helicopter service will be operational as part of the Regional Transport System in July 2018.

“Regional collaborations such as this are increasingly important in rural areas like Vermont and Northern New York,” noted Joanne M. Conroy, MD, Dartmouth-Hitchcock CEO and president. “Working with DHART, The University of Vermont Health Network’s regional transport capabilities will improve the ability to get acutely ill patients timely, appropriate care in a tertiary care center and be a significant step in improving the health of the region. We’re delighted to be able to partner in this effort.”

The University of Vermont Health Network is an integrated system serving the residents of Vermont and northern New York.

The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Advanced Response Team (DHART) is based in Lebanon, NH, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, New Hampshire's only American College of Surgeons-verified Level 1 Trauma Center. The DHART team, consisting of medical personnel from Dartmouth-Hitchcock and aviation personnel employed by Metro Aviation, Inc. provides both ground and air medical transportation services to the medical communities of Northern New England. The DHART team also responds to public safety agency requests for evacuation of trauma patients from scenes of accident and injury, and will transport to the closest Trauma Center in the region's five states. Operating 24 hours a day and seven days a week, the DHART team transports adult, pediatric and neonatal patients to any appropriate medical facility in New England.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) is a nonprofit academic health system serving communities in northern New England.

Source: UVM Medical Center 12.20.2017