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Ground ambulances operated by St. Vincent Help Flight assist in addressing a shortage



Billings, Montana – County officials had been considering providing ambulance service to Yellowstone County’s rural areas for years as the need for assistance increased.

Thus, a solution to the ambulance shortfall was created when St Vincent Healthcare added two land ambulances to its Help Flight fleet.

Tom Matthews, director of Help Flight’s ambulance operations, stated, “It seems like the need just keeps growing.”

When you think of St. Vincent’s famous Help Flight, you might typically picture a medical helicopter. However, the service has now grown to include two Help Flight ambulances that are used for ground transportation and provide the same critical care.

Nathan Allen is a paramedic for Help Flight ground. “We can take just about anything from an ICU,” Allen claimed.

After starting operations in the spring, Yellowstone County commissioners contacted Help Flight Ground to address a developing issue with ambulance shortages.

“Patients have been waiting for 45 minutes to an hour or having to come in private vehicle because there’s nothing available to them,” said Matthews.

In Wyoming and Montana, the ambulances offer inter-facility transportation. In order to fill that urgent demand when resources are limited, the team started serving the area’s rural communities in April.

Heather Stamey, senior director of emergency and critical care at St. Vincent, said, “We analyzed our opportunity there and realized that it’s a way we can help our community.

According to Matthews, the crew makes seven to ten journeys on average each day.

Every month, we successfully transport 100 patients, he claimed.

He claims that it is a more affordable choice because taking a plane would have cost more than three times as much for a patient in rural Montana who may have only had access to a helicopter.

Only a small number of hospitals in Montana and the surrounding area use and manage ambulances for patient care, and St. Vincent is now joining them.

According to officials, this is the reason the company has a history of serving the Billings region for 125 years.

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