Press Room

100th base opens in Rayville, LA


Air Evac Lifeteam, a rural provider of air ambulance services, is celebrating the opening of its 100th base and a new state in which to operate with the opening of a base in Rayville.
The base will be located at the 266 Highway 3048 in Rayville and is opening in cooperation with Richardson Medical Center. This is the company's first base in the state of Louisiana. The base will provide employment for 12 to 15 local employees and will serve communities within a 70-mile radius.

Air Evac Lifeteam, headquartered in West Plains, Mo., is the largest independently owned air ambulance service in the country. The company's business philosophy is based on the belief that air ambulances should be placed in areas of greatest need - rural communities that are often hours away from lifesaving trauma care.

"Studies show that those in rural communities are three times more likely to die from a critical illness or injury," explained Air Evac Lifeteam President Seth Myers, "than those who live in metropolitan areas. This is mainly due to the time it takes to reach medical care.

"The goal of Air Evac Lifeteam is to decrease that statistic by giving those living in rural American equal and quick access to quality health care. The opening of the Rayville, La., base is part of an ongoing commitment by this company and the health care community in this region to improve access to trauma and cardiac care for those living in the area.

"The people of the Rayville area are very fortunate to have access to quality health care services through the local hospital and the EMS providers," Myers said. "Our goal is to be an extension of that service by providing rapid transport for patients in critical medical emergencies. We commend the local officials for recognizing the benefits of this lifesaving resource and the benefit patients will receive," he said.

"I have been very impressed with what I've seen from Air Evac Lifeteam," stated Louisiana State Representative Charles "Bubba" Chaney. "I am looking forward to getting the service in the area because we're all after the same thing. We want the best results for our residents in trauma or critical illness situations.

"I've worked with Louisiana Emergency Response Network, so I am familiar with the Golden Hour and how important it is to get the patient to appropriate care after a heart attack, stroke or other major trauma event," Rep. Chaney explained."In my district there are six rural hospitals that will benefit from having the service in the area. Having the helicopter located in Rayville should cut the transportation time in half for most patients," he said.

"The infrastructure is already there at Richardson Medical Center also," he said. "They have the helipad, the ramp to allow access up to the emergency room for treatment and then it will allow them to move patients back to the helicopter if they need to send them further for medical treatment after stabilization. It really is a win-win for everyone involved. I am happy to welcome Air Evac Lifeteam to the north east Louisiana area."

Louisiana Senator Francis Thompson from Richland Parrish agreed. "We are very fortunate to have a group as impressive as Air Evac Lifeteam coming to our area. This will bring jobs and access to healthcare for all our residents," he explained. "We are lucky to have a location that is able to attract businesses such as Air Evac Lifeteam and we plan to make you proud to be part of our region. I have worked with the state trauma network as well and this service will better help us get trauma patients to the correct medical facility in a timely fashion," Thompson added. "I completely agree this is a win-win situation."

Air Evac Lifeteam crews, which include a registered nurse, paramedic and pilot are on call at each base 24 hours a day. They provide on-the-scene medical care, rapid transport to medical facilities and critical care inter-facility transfers. Each helicopter is equipment with state-of-the-art medical equipment and crewmembers are trained in advanced pre-hospital care so medical care can begin at the scene and continue en route to the hospital.

In addition to the medical training the crews have, each helicopter and crew is now equipped and trained with Night Vision Technology at all of its air ambulance bases. Air Evac Lifeteam is the largest air medical company to complete implementation of this technology.

Safety prompted the company-wide commitment to the goggles. With Air Evac Lifeteam crews spending approximately 30-40 percent of their flight time on evening flights, the company wanted an additional safety tool for helping to spot terrain, obstructions, or a suitable landing zone. The ANVIS-9 goggles raise normal nighttime vision of 20/20 to vision of 20/200.

Air Evac Lifeteam was also one of the first air ambulance services in the country to offer a membership program. Members pay an annual fee and, if they are flown by Air Evac Lifeteam, they have no out-of-pocket expense for the flight. Memberships are valid in all Air Evac Lifeteam service areas so members are covered while traveling through these areas.

Annual memberships are $50 for an individual, $55 for a couple and $60 for a household of three or more.

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