New air ambulance helicopter to service Pearl River County

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Southeast Mississippi Air Ambulance District, which has been providing Pearl River County and its surrounding areas with air ambulance services since 1971, has agreed to contract their flight operations to Med-Trans Corporations.

The deal includes a brand new, state of the art helicopter as well as financial benefits for the patients of member counties. SEMAAD’s new contract with Med-Trans dictates that Med-Trans will only require payment from the resident patient’s insurance company or third-party provider.

“If you are a taxpayer in Pearl River County and require transport in the helicopter, all out of pocket expenses and deductibles will be waived,” said Pearl River County Emergency Management Director Danny Manley, who also serves as the county’s representative on the SEMAAD Board of Directors. Manley said this is possible because of a fee SEMAAD pays Med-Trans upfront.

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The other benefit to this deal is the 2015 Bell407GX helicopter, which will arrive at Bobby Chain Airport in Hattiesburg on Mar. 1 of next year. Manley said the new aircraft will provide space for a third medical professional, meaning a paramedic can now ride onboard along with the nurse, patient and pilot. SEMAAD’s press release states that the addition of a third crewmember will allow them to become licensed in critical care, which is the highest available licensure.

The helicopter will have other advanced features, including night vision goggles, autopilot, GPS navigation and a terrain alert system.

Manley said the transition should occur with no interruption of service or change in personnel, and that the only noticeable difference from this agreement would be the new helicopter.

“Under the partnership with Med-Trans, SEMAAD will be able to reduce operational costs and budget for additional long term benefits for the people in the district it serves,” said SEMAAD Board of Directors President Dr. John Nelson in the press release.