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Allegheny Health Network’s LifeFlight Air-Medical Transport Service Establishes Fifth Base at Clarion Hospital

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New Location is LifeFlight’s First in Northwest Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH and CLARION, Pa - Allegheny Health Network’s LifeFlight, one of the nation’s preeminent air-medical transport programs, is partnering with Clarion Hospital to provide enhanced emergency care services to the Clarion region.

LifeFlight has opened its fifth medical helicopter base at Clarion Hospital, joining LifeFlight bases at Canonsburg Hospital, Indiana Regional Medical Center, Butler Airport and Rostraver Airport. An EC-145 helicopter will be stationed at the Clarion base, providing emergency transportation to critically ill and injured patients who need immediate specialized care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

LifeFlight will work closely with hospitals and EMS agencies throughout the region to rapidly transport patients directly from the scene to Clarion Hospital and, when needed, to the breadth of specialized services at Allegheny Health Network or to another hospital of the patient’s choice.

LifeFlight was the first service of its kind in the eastern United States, and has served western Pennsylvania and surrounding states for nearly 40 years. A new aircraft being placed into service in late May will bear the tail number N978LF, representing the day LifeFlight was established, Sept. 19, 1978. To date, LifeFlight has completed more than 70,000 missions.

“The great success of LifeFlight reflects the exceptional skills, compassion and commitment of its flight nurses, pilots, paramedics, mechanics, communications specialists and support personnel,” said Matthew Poremba, DO,  LifeFlight medical director and an emergency medicine physician at Allegheny Health Network (AHN).  “In its nearly 40 years of existence, LifeFlight has set the standard for excellence in the field of critical care trauma medicine, helping thousands of people receive life-saving care.”

“We are excited to collaborate with Clarion Hospital to provide the people of this community with outstanding emergency care services,” Dr. Poremba said.

“Experienced, exceptional prehospital medical support is critical to a community’s health and emergency preparedness,” said Byron Quinton, CEO, Clarion Hospital. “We are pleased to welcome the skilled and dedicated LifeFlight team to the Clarion community.”

In addition to the LifeFlight-Clarion Hospital partnership, AHN Emergency Medicine Management is now providing physician staffing for the Clarion Hospital Emergency Department, which treats approximately 18,000 patients annually. Under the direction of Michael J. Hoh, D.O., FACOEP, the Emergency Department has nine general treatment rooms and two trauma rooms, and is supported by 24-hour coverage from the hospital’s lab, radiology and surgical facilities.

AHN Emergency Medicine Management partners with US Acute Care Solutions, a national leader in emergency medicine with over 3,000 clinicians, more than 160 sites in 21 states and nearly 6 million patients served annually. 

“Clarion Hospital is committed to providing high quality care to our patients by continually evaluating our internal process and making the necessary changes to improve outcomes and overall patient satisfaction.” said Quinton. 

The evolution of hospital based air-medical transport programs in the late 1970’s is credited with significantly improving a critically injured patient’s chance of survival. Helicopters provide access to  specialty life-saving interventions for those suffering from trauma, heart attacks, strokes, and other critical illnesses.  Such access can be profoundly important to the outcomes of patients in rural areas, where specialty care is often limited.   

LifeFlight transports patients from within a 130-mile radius of its primary bases, a service that reaches a population of more than 4 million people throughout western Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland. In addition to transporting injured patients from the scenes of accidents, LifeFlight also performs hospital-to-hospital transports of critically ill patients, such as those with acute cardiac failure, and infants who require neonatal intensive care.

“Our dedicated, experienced team holds additional certification for prehospital care and has been trained to manage complex cases and to perform emergent procedures generally reserved for physicians,” said Jim Palafoutas, LifeFlight director of operations. “LifeFlight has enabled AHN to fulfill our mission by expediting the delivery of specialty care to patients in even the most remote communities.”