Sanford AirMed providing rural areas within a 150-mile radius with emergency care

Re-accreditation for transport safety ensures rural areas receive emergency care quickly
Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 6:45 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) -

In medical emergencies, minutes and even seconds can mean the difference between life and death. If you live in a rural part of the valley you likely have to rely on the work of an airmed team in those situations.

With the Sanford AirMed team, you can rest assured that some of the best trained professionals are taking care of you.

“All the flight team members are experienced, there’s no rookies that work here,” says the Senior Director of EMS Operations at Sanford Health, Tim Meyer. He adds, “They save lives, and they’re very smart people.”

Recently, the Sanford team was awarded it’s fourth re-accreditation through the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS). The peer-review nonprofit organization is dedicated to improving patient care and transport safety by providing a dynamic accreditation process through the development of standards, education and services that support air medical transport.

“It’s not required by law it’s something we do voluntarily, but it’s really the gold standard for air ambulance in the country, and actually throughout the world because CAMTS is recognized throughout the world now,” says Meyer.

And on any given day they travel within a 150 mile radius making sure they can provide emergency care to even the most rural areas.

Flight Nurse, Jennifer Berntson says, “I think rural health care really is kind of under-estimated and kind of undervalued.” And, ”Being able to come to them bring the critical care to them and help them often taking care of their community members, their family members, the small rural area that they live in so I really like that being able to support our rural hospitals and getting them to definitive care here.”

While the team is held to a high level of professionalism, there’s an emotional side to their job as well.

“Seeing the families at the end of the day they’re just happy to see us and thankful for the care that we do provide and getting them somewhere safely, it’s patients that really need our help and that’s the feel good part of the job,” says Emily Ward, the Flight Paramedic Supervisor.

“We get to make a difference and we get to participate in that and it’s a privilege,” says Berntson.

Sanford AirMed has a fleet of eight aircraft that travel more than 400,000 miles per year, including four EC-145 helicopters and four King Air B200 fixed-wing aircraft.