Billings Clinic announced that it will establish a new helicopter air ambulance service in Bozeman. This is an expansion of its Billings-based fixed wing MedFlight Air Ambulance service and provides an extension of critical lifesaving transportation consistent with Billings Clinic’s mission.

“We’re basing our new helicopter service in Bozeman to save critical time – lifesaving, in some cases – for patients who need emergency medical transport to a higher level of care” said Scott Ellner, DO, Billings Clinic CEO. “By staging the helicopter in Bozeman, we will shorten transportation time to get patients in our region where they need to be for treatment.”

Billings Clinic’s new helicopter air ambulance service will offer patients a hospital-affiliated alternative at greater value to connect them to the resources and expertise of the largest health system in the region. Billings Clinic’s current MedFlight service includes two fixed-wing aircraft based in Billings, which can transport patients across Montana, Wyoming and throughout the region. The expanded helicopter service is a partnership with Metro Aviation, which will help to hire some staff such as pilots and mechanics, provide the helicopter, and maintain flight and aircraft management.

 “This will effectively be a mobile Emergency Department and critical care unit. We are staffing the air ambulance with highly trained medical staff who are Billings Clinic employees and experts in emergency medicine,” Dr. Ellner added. Clinical training for MedFlight staff is centered on intensive care and emergency and trauma skills practiced at Billings Clinic.

Nearly 20 people will make up the staff and crew of this service, including paramedics, nurses and pilots. It will be managed locally by Billings Clinic physicians and will have access to numerous specialists within the health system.

The Bozeman-based service will enable Billings Clinic to transport patients to a more highly skilled facility than is currently possible. With the ability to cover a roughly 150-mile radius around the Bozeman area without a refueling stop, it will be able to reach major medical facilities and critical access hospitals throughout southern and central Montana.


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