New air ambulance added in the region

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – HealthNet Aeromedical Services and WVU Medicine have added a new helicopter to serve the emergency medical needs of people across the state.

WVU President Gordon Gee, President and CEO of WVU Medicine Albert Wright, HealthNet Aeromedical Services President and CEO Clinton Burley and Dr. Chris Goode, chair of the WVU School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine cut the ribbon to officially add the aircraft to the fleet.

President and CEO of HealthNet Aeromedical Services, Milton Burley said the upgraded aircraft will be an important addition to their fleet.

“It’s an Airbus EC145e model. The investment of WVU Medicine in this aircraft exceeds $7.4 million ,” Burley said,” It is a huge investment in a very important life saving tool.”

HealthNet Aeromedical Services operates nine bases in the state, one in Kentucky in order to provide timely service.

Dr. Chris Goode, chair of the WVU School of Medicine Department of Emergency Medicine said the partnership they have allows them cover the entire state effectively.

“Whether you’re at Snowshoe riding a mountain bike, whether you’re in Dolly Sods taking a hike or whether you’re just driving down one of the interstates we know between this network and partnership with EMS agencies and partnership with HealthNet that we can get you the care you need, when you need it,” Dr. Goode said.

According to Burley, the new helicopter was specially selected because of it’s ability to handle the wide variety of weather conditions and terrain pilots face on a daily basis.

“We invest in these large twin-engine helicopters that are instrument flight rated to fly in and above the clouds,” Burley said,” So, when someone needs access to care from rural areas we can get the right asset and the medical crew right there to where they are.”

WVU Medicine President and CEO Albert Wright said taking care of the patient is the mission, but the flight crew has to be able to navigate to the scene and safely land.

“We want to give that flight crew and pilots the ultimate safety and capability in whatever weather conditions you have to come through,” Wright said.

HealthNet Aeromedical Services is celebrating 35 years of transporting patients in emergency situations this year. President and CEO Clinton Burley said the concept has evolved over they years and has proven to save lives and improve health outcomes.

“The combination of an expert medical crew and the speed of a helicopter combined to save lives is important in flat lands, but it’s doubly important in a state with the terrain we have here.”

The new aircraft joins HealthNet Aeromedical Services’ current Airbus-exclusive fleet, consisting of two additional EC-145s, five EC-135s, and three EC-130s.