CJ Systems Expands LifeFlight

 - October 4, 2007, 5:35 AM

CJ Systems Aviation Group is expanding its Baptist Hospital LifeFlight aeromedical program in Pensacola, Fla., with a second base at Mobile, Ala. Baptist Hospital and CJ Systems have taken over responsibility for air-transport services from an operation formerly managed by the University of South Alabama Medical Center. The new site will be renamed LifeFlight-Mobile and run as a partnership between Baptist Hospital and the critical-care transportation group division of CJ Systems.

CJ Systems is basing a BK 117 at LifeFlight-Mobile, operated by four pilots and one technician. Critical-care transportation group v-p Ed Marasco said a twin-engine helicopter with room for two patients will improve the facilities available in the area. “They’ll be able to do more specialty team transports, such as neonatal and pediatric.”

Marasco anticipates that LifeFlight-Mobile will provide the community with a strong healthcare resource that will also build links in southern Alabama, western Florida and Mississippi. The BK 117 has just had its interior refurbished and avionics upgraded, as well as a new paint job, at Heli-Dyne Systems.

Baptist LifeFlight program director Kevin Stanhope said the new arrangement arose from a desire to build a strong partnership with CJ Systems. “We wanted to tap into their expertise,” he said. “Medical programs function better when they partner with aviation professionals and share the decisions.”

LifeFlight-Mobile anticipates flying between 500 and 600 patient transports per year, picking up more than 100 flights from its sister program in Pensacola. The second aircraft will give Baptist Health Care a stronger regional AMS system, says Stanhope. “We’ll be able to back each other up and, if needed, send multiple resources to a single event,” he said. The two sites will be located about 60 miles apart, with LifeFlight-Mobile flying to a radius of about 120 miles, including service to offshore oil rigs and platforms previously not accessible by air ambulance.

Baptist LifeFlight is the America’s third-oldest hospital-based aeromedical program, and has consistently been ranked number one for customer satisfaction by Press Ganey Aeromedical Services.