Local News

SEARHC turns medevacs over to private company

A Guardian Flight turboprop prepares to take off from Skagway's airport in June. The company is taking over all medevacs for the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. (Image courtesy Guardian Flight Facebook page)

A Guardian Flight turboprop prepares to take off from Skagway’s airport last summer. The company is taking over all medevacs for the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium. (Image courtesy Guardian Flight on Facebook)

Guardian Flight takes over all SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium medevacs on Tuesday, Oct. 1.

Guardian, based in Utah, already covers night service for the Sitka-based medical provider. SEARHC operated its own medevacs 12 hours a day up until now.

SEARHC Chief Operating Officer Dan Neumeister says a contract signed last week puts Guardian in charge of all medical evacuations.

“Guardian will be responsible for providing services wherever our clinics are. So at Angoon, (if) you need to fly out on a float plane, they’ll be responsible for either providing their own float plane or subcontracting out and getting a plane, putting their people on it and going to get our patients,” he says.

SEARHC laid off the nurses who staffed their own medevacs.

Guardian is Alaska’s largest medical evacuation operation, with bases in eight cities, including Sitka.

Neumeister says turning all medevacs over to Guardian will be simpler and more efficient.

“We had tried to perform the services ourselves part of each day. And we found that that was not as effective, even though we had very dedicated employees providing the service,” he says.

SEARHC has cut several programs this year to save money.

Comments

Please read our comment guidelines.

Recent News

Bear attack survivor: ‘Grace was extended to me’

The survivor of a brown bear mauling near Yakutat 10 days ago says the animal was startled, and attacked instinctively. Ken Steck is recovering from his wounds. He spoke recently with KCAW. more

Post-crisis, hospital works to pay back city

4880041665_bb70aca673_z
The financial picture at Sitka Community Hospital is like the tortoise: slow and steady, but determined. The city-owned hospital is still recovering from the discovery of a cash flow problem in 2014, but will begin paying down its $1 million debt to the city this coming fiscal year. more