ELKO — Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital and MedX AirOne announced an agreement Tuesday, which will aid in bringing medical transport and lowering the costs to patients in Elko and Northern Nevada.
“ELKO AIRONE will be based on the helipad at NNRH,” said a press release.
The hospital’s Chief Nursing Officer Alice Allen said the air service will provide a pilot and the hospital will supply the “transfer team,” including a registered nurse.
“They are the flight crew that takes care of the patient while they’re in flight,” she said.
Joel Hochhalter, president and managing member of MedX AirOne, said internal training will be provided for “the medical staff for critical care transport.”
“What that does for us is that really allows great continuity of care,” said Allen, discussing that when a patient receives emergency care by a nurse and potentially a paramedic, the same nurse could possibly take the individual to the transfer facility.
“Both NNRH and MedX AirOne take great pride in providing a unique model of emergent air medical transport that is truly patient centered. The MedX AirOne Membership program, made possible from private sources, will be extended to all permanent residents of Elko County,” stated the release, explaining the same program has been serving Pershing, Humboldt, and Lander counties since last year.
Allen said currently when a patient is transferred to Reno, Salt Lake City or occasionally Twin Falls, Idaho, the local emergency medical service is contacted and the individual is taken to the airport. Then, the patient is transferred to either a helicopter or fixed-wing aircraft.
This flight lands at the destination city’s airport and another ambulance delivers the patient to the hospital.
In essence, the upcoming model allows for the prompt transference of patients, where he or she will go directly from the local ER onto the helicopter, and be flown straight to the new hospital, Allen said.
Additionally, Hochhalter said community members permanently residing in Elko County will not receive a bill for utilizing this air transport. A permanent resident is described as an individual who places Elko County on his or her tax return, not a vacation home.
“The goal is to take care of the patient, and make sure we’re taking care of the community and not strapping people with bills that they can’t pay,” he said.
Once the service is implemented in Elko, help is available across Northern Nevada through MedX AirOne aircraft as the membership covers Lander, Humboldt and Pershing counties.
The aircraft is funded through the company not by the membership, the hospital or the county, said Hochhalter.
“I think the other positive is the subscription that the MedX AirOne has been able to negotiate with a private donor,” said Allen, meaning if the patient flies with the partnered company, MedX AirOne will bill the insurance company but there will not be any copay or out-of-pocket expense for the patient.
“We are ... making it kind of owned by the Elko community. That’s why we’re calling it ELKO AIRONE not the name of our company,” said Hochhalter, describing the “unique model” shows, “We’re out to support the community.”
It is hoped the service will come into effect around November, said Hochhalter. Although, there is not an exact date at this time.
“We want to be involved in the community and do everything that we can to show our total support to not only Elko but all of Northern Nevada,” he said.
Over 2015, MedX AirOne flew more than 300 patients from the area, and has an aircraft based at Humboldt General Hospital, said the release.
Questions about the MedX AirOne membership program can be answered on the company’s website.