In an area like Mineral County, where residents are served by the Mt. Grant General Hospital, an obvious concern can be an illness or an extreme injury that may exceed the local care provisions. The hospital is rightfully called a “critical access hospital”, most commonly known as a trauma care facility.

There are no baby deliveries and only a minimum of surgical care options such as scopes, orthopedics or eye procedural care done within the walls of the Hawthorne medical facility. They have no full time anesthesiologist on staff, which is required for in-depth surgical operations.

As a rural hospital, which is approved by the NHSC (National Health Service Corp.) they meet the requirements for basic emergency needs and stabilization, but in most extreme cases one would be sent to a full-staffed facility elsewhere, by an ambulance or air.

Fortunate for the area, we not only have an air pad, but have an airport a mile from the hospital. This allows access to two choices of flight programs to assist in an emergency if needed.

In speaking with Greg Friedman, Director of Business Relations with American Medflight Inc., the service of an air ambulance is to transport any critical care patient to the best destination for the higher level of care needed.

Considerations of bed availability and physical circumstances are properly weighed with the best triage and appropriate care as a top priority. If a patient needed a burn specialist, the transport to the best burn center would be available, as determined by their physician.

“We have a great working relationship with your local airport staff,” Friedman said. “It is our mission to provide the best care through our twin-engine, fixed-winged, pressurized cabin planes, which allows us to take a possible rider along with our medical professionals monitoring the patient throughout the entire flight.”

An annual, household membership enrollment is possible through American Medflight, which many may not be aware of. A one year household fee, as low as $45, allows you an air plan to waive deductibles and assist should the need arise. By becoming a membered household, you work with your own medical coverages, but American Medflight covers the risk and high fees of your air transport. When they are contacted by a physician, their dedicated staff is alerted. They are available 24 hours a day and every day of the year, responding from area airports in Reno and Ely. A detailed graph shows predominant flight areas.

The free brochure that was available at the local hospital stated “For over 25 years we’ve concentrated on patient safety and patient care.”

The American Medflight staff is planning to be at the Hawthorne Armed Forces Day to personally meet with residents.

“We don’t confine our flights to one area – we work within the best care for the patient”, Friedman confirmed. “It will be nice to meet with your community in a face-to-face gathering, where we can answer questions and hopefully allow the public to see one of our planes.”

Another option is Care Flight, a helicopter service, also staffed with licensed critical care and trauma specialists, which uses a similar household, family membership program. Your family’s flight plan membership covers reasonable out-of-pocket costs for their helio-air ambulance transport costs. They also respond to “drop spots” which are accident scenes and hospital air pads. The hospital has Care Flight brochures available for contact information.

It is important to contact either source directly for further information, as the local hospital staff does not directly represent or endorse either company. Weighing both options is recommended by the hospital as each plan offers separate benefits and considerations.