New air medical service coming to Rhinelander
Star Journal Report
Some five months after Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport announced it is discontinuing service in the Northwoods, a Minnesota-based air-medical transport company has announced it will open a base in Rhinelander.
Life Link III is scheduled to begin 24/7 operations at an air-medical base at the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport (RHI) in spring, 2021. This is the company’s tenth such base throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin and is expected to bring 16 new jobs to the region.
According to a press release, Life Link III has been in business for 35 years. Its helicopters and airplanes “serve as flying intensive care units and feature advanced clinical capabilities on-board each aircraft” including point-of-care lab testing and ultrasound, and mechanical CPR.
“Our new base in Rhinelander, Wisconsin will bring much-needed air medical resources to this region and surrounding communities,” said Lee McCammon, vice president of operations. “Currently the closest air medical resource for this area is almost 40 minutes away which can have a significant impact on injured or critically-ill patients needing to be transported to a higher level of care. Rhinelander is an ideal location for our new base as it allows us to serve both the needs of northern Wisconsin as well as support our Life Link III consortium members, which include Marshfield Clinic Health System and HSHS Sacred Heart/St. Joseph’s.”
Airport director Matthew Leitner said he is pleased Life Link III has chosen Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport for its new air medical base.
“I understand our airport’s operational capabilities were a determinative factor in Life Link III’s decision and wish to thank RHI’s operations crew for all they do to ensure we constantly achieve a high level of operability 24/7/365. Furthermore, I believe offering air medical services will go far in terms of furthering the quality of life for residents and visitors throughout our region, which is the primary function of our airport.”
Marshfield Clinic Health System CEO Dr. Susan Turney said the addition is welcome news and strengthens the health system’s “ability to meet the air transport needs of our critically ill patients across the region,” also offering patients and their families reassurance that their care needs will be taken care of in a timely fashion.
Ascension Wisconsin announced in July that “changing dynamics in the delivery of healthcare services in the region” showed the hospital’s air medical transportation needs would be “best met” with a single helicopter stationed at the Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee.
Life Link III transportation services are accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transportation Systems (CAMTS). Other Life Link III bases are located in Alexandria, Blaine, Brainerd, Duluth, Hibbing, Rush City and Willmar Minnesota, and Marshfield and Rice Lake in Wisconsin.