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REMSA Health receives $5.3 million grant to sustain critical care transport across rural Nevada

The William N. Pennington grant – the largest donation in the organization’s history – will fund the purchase a new Care Flight helicopter for rural Nevada

January 20, 2023 – (Reno, Nev.) With the intention of maintaining dependable air medical services, REMSA Health, announces that it is the recipient of a $5.3 million grant from the William N. Pennington Foundation. The grant will fully fund the purchase of one of four needed Airbus H-125 B3E helicopters, which will become part of the organization’s air ambulance fleet. The aircraft will be positioned at the Care Flight base in Fallon, Nev.; Care Flight is a service of REMSA Health. 

This grant – the largest ever made to REMSA Health, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization – will enable the organization to invest in the most innovative safety features, clinical advancements and air ambulance technology available. REMSA Health faces the distinct possibility of discontinuing emergency air services to some of the rural communities it serves if all of the remaining aging helicopters are not replaced in the near future. 

“Because the communities we serve cannot afford to lose access to emergency air transport, we turned to philanthropy for major funding,” said Barry Duplantis, Interim President and CEO, REMSA Health. “It’s impossible to overstate the immense gratitude we have to Pennington Foundation for their generous support of our Care Flight program. Care Flight has transported critically ill and injured patients across the region for more than four decades. We are committed to continuing our legacy of safely providing clinically excellent, compassionate care for decades to come. This grant is a significant safeguard for the future of rural healthcare access.”

Care Flight, which transports approximately 1,500 patients every year, across a geographic region of more than 50,000 square miles, is a critical component of access to healthcare across rural and super-rural Nevada. 

Every Care Flight transport is staffed by a highly-trained certified Flight Nurse and Critical Care Paramedic, as well as a skilled pilot with more than 2,500 hours of helicopter flying time before they join the program. The clinical crew have standing medical orders that include an expanded scope of practice, allowing them to perform medical interventions beyond typical ground emergency medical services. This ensures that all patients transported by Care Flight – from sick infants to injured weekend warriors to advanced cardiac patients – have access to the highest levels of care. 

This helicopter will replace the same, but older model (AS350 B3) aircraft that is already part of the Care Flight program. For nearly 20 years, Care Flight crews have worked to create a precise clinical configuration for the legacy aircraft’s interior. The grant funding ensures that the layout, and location of equipment and supplies within the new aircraft will be installed identically allowing for the efficient delivery of clinically excellent care. In addition, this specific type of Airbus helicopter is particularly well-suited for the high altitude, alpine environments and extreme temperature spans typical of the northern Nevada region. In 2005, this aircraft model broke the world record for the highest-altitude landing and takeoff, performed on Mount Everest at 29,029 feet. 

The Care Flight helicopter is scheduled to be in service by November 2023. 

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About REMSA Health

REMSA Health is a private, non-profit community organization which provides a full range of innovative healthcare services outside of the hospital setting. We are funded only by user fees, with no local tax subsidies. REMSA Health provides Washoe County’s 420,000+ residents with 24/7 ambulance services. Care Flight, a service of REMSA Health, provides critical care transport services via ground and air ambulance across the western United States. REMSA Health includes an internationally accredited Regional Emergency Communications Center, a Nevada-licensed Center for Integrated Health and Community Education, an accredited Nurse Health Line, and special operations and special events teams. REMSA Health: Care. Community. Innovation.

Contact: Alexia Jobson, Director of Public Relations, REMSA Health, ajobson@remsa-cf.com, 775-420-6246

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