Updated Tue, Jul 8, 2014 9:52 am
With its first emergency room in more than a decade set to open this fall, Meigs County has now secured its first-ever medical helicopter base.
MedFlight 3, which is currently based in Wellston, will be relocating to the Rocksprings area of Meigs County near Pomeroy as part of the Meigs Medical Campus.
While the initial announcement from MedFlight came in June, the groundbreaking is likely to take place in early fall according to Meigs County Emergency Medical Services Director Robbie Jacks. Weather permitting, the move could be completed this winter.
The move will create a unique partnership between Meigs EMS and MedFlight with the two agencies to share a facility.
"The base will be located between the ER and the EOC (Emergency Operations Center). EMS and MedFlight will share a new building to be constructed at that site," said Jacks. The facility will house EMS on one side, while MedFlight will occupy the other side.
This will complete the move for Meigs County's emergency services from the location on Hiland Road behind the former Veterans Memorial Hospital to the Meigs Medical Campus in Rocksprings. The area includes Hopewell Health Center, the Robert E. Byer Emergency Operations Center and the emergency room which is set to open soon.
Jacks stated that Meigs County had been in talks with another provider, but those plans did not work out and MedFlight stepped in, wanting to locate in Meigs County.
The move of MedFlight 3 will also coincide with a "preferred provider agreement" recently signed between MedFlight and Holzer Health Systems who will operate the stand-alone emergency room facility in Meigs County.
"MedFlight recently made the decision to relocate MedFlight 3 from Wellston to Meigs County to improve access for all counties in southern Ohio," said MedFlight President/CEO Rod Crane by email. "Currently, there are too many helicopters close together in Southern Ohio; this has resulted in a decrease in flights for MedFlight 3."
Crane continued, "MedFlight depends on inter-hospital flights for the majority of our business volume. It is very difficult to maintain a full-time helicopter based only on the scene volume. MedFlight has a ratio of 75 percent inter-hospital flights and 25 percent scene flights. Therefore, we need to have an alignment with a major hospital system and regional prehospital providers." This lead to the agreement with Holzer Health Systems.
"Although MedFlight is relocating MedFlight 3, we must emphasize that we are not decreasing service to Jackson County. In the near future, we will have four full-time aircraft surrounding Jackson County," said Crane.
Crane concluded, "As a Patients-First organization it is our obligation to place medical transport solutions in the best locations possible. This initiative will help MedFlight to better serve the communities in southern Ohio overall."
Meigs County has long been medically underserved with the absence of an emergency room facility since the closure of Veterans Memorial Hospital near the turn of the century.
MedFlight was created in 1995 through a partnership between OhioHealth and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. The purpose of the consortium was to create a shared non-profit medical transportation system to serve patients, their caregivers, and those needing access to high quality critical care air and ground resources. In 1998 Akron General Medical Center joined and Kettering Health Network recently became an affiliate member in April 2014.
MedFlight currently operates bases in Lancaster, Marysville, Wellston (being relocated to Pomeroy), Coshocton, Galion, McConnelsville, Lucasville, New Philadelphia, and Jeffersonville. A base will be opening in the fall in Ross County.