Soon, CoxHealth’s ability to serve patients by air will double: The health system is getting a second helicopter that will be serving patients in the Ozarks by May 2017.
“Our new helicopter will allow us to basically double the reach we currently have with Cox Air Care,” says Amanda Hedgpeth, vice president of Clinical Services at CoxHealth. “Right now, at times we have to decline flights because we’re already out on another one. This will allow us a much greater ability to accept flights when requested and help us serve even more patients.”
The helicopter is being purchased from MD Helicopters, a company based in Mesa, Az. The helicopter was formerly used by the Dutch police in the Netherlands, and is being completely rebuilt according to CoxHealth’s specifications. “They strip it down to the frame, and pull the engines, instruments and computer system,” says Hedgpeth. “When it’s finished, it will look exactly the same as our current helicopter.”
CoxHealth is currently training staff to work with the helicopter, which includes a flight nurse and paramedic. When the helicopter starts in the Ozarks, it begins a long tenure: While helicopters’ usage is measured in terms of hours, if well-maintained, they can go for 20 years.