Sanford Health upgrading medical air fleetFARGO, N.D. (AP) — Dakotas-based Sanford Health is upgrading its medical air fleet.
FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Dakotas-based Sanford Health is spending tens of millions of dollars to upgrade its medical air fleet.
Sanford is buying three helicopters and two airplane ambulances, The Forum newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/pSLTGq ) Thursday. Two of the $7 million helicopters will be based in the Fargo, N.D., region and the third will be in Sioux Falls, S.D. The new air ambulances that cost a total of $4.3 million will be based in Fargo.
Sanford's air fleet ultimately will consist of eight aircraft, including a backup helicopter that will be based in Sioux Falls. It will have 38 pilots and 10 mechanics.
"We kind of feel like we're becoming our own EMS air service," Mike Christianson, Sanford's air transport director, said, using the acronym for emergency medical services. The upgraded fleet will better serve the health system's 130,000-square-mile territory.
Sanford Health is based in Fargo and Sioux Falls and bills itself as the nation's largest not-for-profit health care provider, with a presence in more than 100 communities in eight states. Once all the new aircraft are in service, Sanford's air fleet will be handling about 3,500 patient transports a year, up from about 3,000 now, Christianson said.