Air Methods to Take Over Medical Air Transports Base Out of McHenry As Flight for Life Ends Illinois Service April 6, 2020

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Tammy Chatman, public information officer (south region) for Flight for Life, reports that an agreement was been reached with Air Methods (AMC) to continue air medical services in northern Illinois at the McHenry Base at Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital.

Air Methods currently serves Illinois via operations known as LifeStar, LifeNet, Saints Flight, HSHS Rescue Flight, and ARCH Air Medical Service in several regions. Air Methods also serves many other regions in the United States.

The closest Air Methods region to northern Illinois is served in the region near Joliet, Illinois, where Air Methods operates LifeStar, the name from the initial Loyola University Medical Center program. In 2008, LifeStar moved from Loyola’s heliport to Joliet. The move improved service to rural areas southwest of Chicago. Initially, it was unknown whether the McHenry Base will take on the LifeStar name or use a new name. The transition does not call for Air Methods to serve southern Wisconsin.

Earlier this week Flight for Life announced that on April 6, 2020, Flight for Life will end operations at the McHenry, Illinois base. The transition at the McHenry base will begin in March. Flight for Life operations will continue at the Waukesha, Wisconsin base and will continue to serve southern Wisconsin; however, there is some concern regarding the greater distance from Waukesha compared to McHenry. Flight For Life also maintains a sixth floor rooftop helipad/hangar facility at Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus.

Flight for Life, based in McHenry and Waukesha, has served areas of southern Wisconsin, including Kenosha County and Racine County often from the McHenry Base. Flight for Life will continue to serve southern Wisconsin.

Flight for Life served northern Illinois since 1987 and is recognized for being crucial in saving the life of an Arlington Heights police officer that was involved in an extrication crash at Palatine Road and Windsor Drive on October 13, 2000. According to their official website, Flight for Life operated out of McHenry beginning May 1987, and in December 2001 developed a hangar facility at the hospital campus, which is now Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital — previously known as Centegra Hospital – McHenry (before 2018), and originally Northern Illinois Medical Center (constructed in 1984).

Flight for Life frequently has served Lake County and McHenry County, but for years emergency calls to serve northwest Cook County have been less frequent. Patients from emergency incidents (usually prolonged extrications) in northwest Cook County have often been transported by Flight for Life to Level 1 Trauma Center Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. Patients in Lake County and McHenry County emergency incidents are often transported to Level 1 Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville, but have also been transported to Lutheran General.

Flight for Life cited a decrease in demand and a change in the health care market with hospitals increasing their capabilities, which reduced the need to transfer patients to other facilities. Some health care provider systems have also committed to agreements with specific air medical providers.

Flight for Life helicopters have been labeled as ‘Operated by Air Methods’ at least since 2016.

Flight for Life Video Playlist

6 videos as of March 7, 2020

Videos showing Flight for Life service or demos in Elk Grove Village, Northbrook, Streamwood and Palatine.

See also …

Reuters | Air Methods agrees to be taken private in $2.5 billion deal

Air Methods Corporation, with headquarters in Greenwood Village, Colorado, is an American privately-owned helicopter operator with air medical as its primary business. The air medical division of Air Methods provides emergency medical services to 70,000-100,000 patients every year, serves 48 states and Haiti, and is the largest air medical transport provider in the United States. Air Methods was founded in 1980, and was a publicly-traded company from 1991 until 2017 when it was acquired in March 2017 by private equity firm American Securities LLC in a $2.5 billion deal, including debt.



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