By Hub City Times staff
MARSHFIELD – Marshfield Clinic has formed a new agreement which will restore 24-hour air ambulance service to central Wisconsin.
On Dec. 12, Marshfield Clinic Health System announced a new partnership with Life Link III based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Brian Hernaman is the medical director for the Marshfield Medical Center, and he says Life Link will establish a new base of operations in the former St. Joseph’s Hospital “Spirit of Marshfield” hangar, using existing office space and fuel system facility on the Marshfield campus.
“The scene responses will be, basically, around the Marshfield campus and stretching all of the way north of Wausau towards Merrill, south past Wisconsin Rapids and all the way towards Tomah for the immediate scene responses for inter-facility transports,” he said. “It encompasses, now with the Rice Lake base that Life Link III has, basically the entire Marshfield Clinic Health System service area stretching from the Northwoods, south to Reedsburg, and over to the Twin Cities.”
By using its “One Call” system, Hernaman says Life Link III will continue to work collaboratively with other air medical transport services and county and municipal dispatch centers to send out the most appropriate helicopter.
“The service that is provided by the Life Link III helicopter would be very similar to what Spirit has provided in the past,” Hernaman said. “Life Link III has a One Call system, so they have operators standing by to take a call from local EMS from different health care facilities, and then they will look for the closest helicopter. They might not necessarily be a Life Link III helicopter; they do what is most appropriate for the patient to get a helicopter there the quickest. If Like Link III is not the quickest, they’ll call to another helicopter service that could be there sooner.
“We’ll work with the county dispatches, so the county dispatches will be able to contact that one call number that is available from Life Link III, and we’ll be dispatched from here if we’re the closest or another base that is more appropriate.”
Hernaman says the new Life Link III base will begin operations early next year. He says the service will have something the Spirit of Marshfield program did not, a fixed-wing option in case helicopters cannot fly for whatever reason, including certain weather situations.
Life Link III will eventually have a nurse, medic, and pilot team onsite at all times.
Marshfield Clinic Health System becomes the 10th member of the Life Link III consortium, and its eighth base in Wisconsin and Minnesota.