The Fate of Air-Ambulance for Sierra County

By Lorri Ooley

HERALD Reporter

The presence of TriState CareFlight air-ambulance has been under fire and question, predominantly triggered by Sierra Vista Hospital’s relocation of its helipad from the rear of the hospital to directly in front of its main entrance.

This move has reportedly altered the living experience of the hospital’s neighbors, as there was very little investigated into the sound and debris impact to those who live below the hospital’s location at 800 East Ninth Avenue.

This matter was continuously brought forth before the hospital’s Governing Board, prior to current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Michael Zimmerman’s hiring. During this time, the hospital was acting without a CEO, and appeared to be in a standstill on taking action on resolving the issues being brought forward by its neighbors.

On Monday, Dec. 1, Zimmerman clarified that the hospital is striving to address the complaints for noise levels, frequency, and debris – with the understanding that the air-ambulance is not contracted nor employs it or its pilot, nurse and paramedic.

Recently, the hospital sought out additional bids for the air-ambulance service, with the primary motive in continuing the service, but at the best interest of the community and patients. Zimmerman stated this included a working understanding with the company that provides the service to be in compliance with addressing the living condition needs of its neighbors, while not compromising patient care.

Furthermore, Zimmerman identified the community has a strong need for air-ambulance, as its facility is not fully equipped to treat all ranges of health care, and when time is of the essence, without the air service, patients health and life are significantly impacted. Because of this, he stressed the hospital is seeking to continue to offer a “landing” location for an air-ambulance, but it is no way contracted with the companies who offer the services.

To read the rest of this article, call 575/894-2143 for an e-subscription.


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