BOZEMAN, Mont. - Billings Clinic is now offering a new helicopter air ambulance service out of the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport.
The air ambulance is the first one Billings Clinic has provided to their patients.
The helicopter and flight service began at 8 a.m. on Thursday, July 15 and the team includes nurses, paramedics, and pilots.
There is a total of 14 team members that make up the new 24/7 service.
All the staff have extensive training centered around intensive and emergency care and trauma skills practiced at Billings Clinic.
Ted Galbraith, Billings Clinic MedFlight Operations Manager said the Bozeman-based service provides a quick response and access to patients who are in critical condition.
"With this helicopter, we are able to access those backcountry areas that would take other first responders a longer time to get to so if someone is hurt in the backcountry we can respond directly to them pick them up, and transport them to intensive care," Galbraith said.
Billings Clinic is Montana’s busiest trauma center and the clinic sees around 1,000 trauma patients a year.
Currently, there is construction going underway on the new Billings Clinic in Bozeman that is going to be 140,000 square feet.
Although, that new clinic will not accept emergency patients.
All patients will have the option of being taken too many different facilities based on their emergency needs.
Billings Clinic said, with the ability to cover a roughly 150-mile radius around the Bozeman area without a refueling stop, it will be able to reach major medical facilities and critical access hospitals throughout southern, central and eastern Montana.
"The flight time again depending on weather conditions it is generally between 50 to 55 minutes to get from the Bozeman area to Billings Clinic by helicopter," Galbraith said.
To house the new service, Billings Clinic is building a hangar and launch area at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport, which will be completed in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, the Central Valley Fire District out of Belgrade is allowing the on-duty members of the air ambulance team to use their facilities as its base of operations.
More information on the Billings Clinic air ambulance services can be found here.