Board of County Commissioners of Walton County, Florida, have announced a partnership with Air Methods to provide air medical services in the area.
Air Methods will supply the helicopter, which is expected to enter regular service by late March 2023. The aircraft will mainly be used in northern Walton County, but can also serve other residents in the area, as well as respond to incidents in neighbouring counties.
Air Methods will also provide the initial pilots and flight nurses for the service. Costs are expected to be split between the company and the local government – however, contract specifics are still subject to negotiations.
Education programs for external trainees
Air Methods also opened its clinician education program, known as Ascend, to pre-hospital, emergency and critical care clinicians. The program includes both in-person and online educational courses, with ‘advanced manikin-based simulation and virtual reality training through SimX’. The move is intended to provide opportunities for healthcare professionals to acquire new qualifications and improve patient standards of care.
“Healthcare organizations, especially those serving rural populations, face unprecedented challenges from staffing shortages, scarce hospital resources, and the need to equip clinicians with the clinical autonomy required to maintain and improve emergent patient outcomes,” said JaeLynn Williams, CEO of Air Methods. “Ascend helps alleviate clinician burnout and improve retention, while reducing the organization’s onboarding and training costs, by providing advanced quality education that is accessible, innovative and reliable.”
Air Methods says its Ascend curriculum meets the requirements of the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN), Commission on Accreditation for Pre-Hospital Continuing Education (CAPCE) and International Board of Specialty Certifications (IBSC).
Germany’s DRF Luftrettung started offering training programs to external pilots in September 2022.