Sacred Heart helicopter lands for Kiwanis Club

Published: Monday, January 13, 2014 at 10:18 AM.

BONIFAY — Sacred Heart Health System’s emergency transport helicopter, AIRHeart, drew a lot of attention as it landed behind Los Rancheros Restaurant during the meeting of the Bonifay Kiwanis Club on Jan. 8.

Ron Mosley, director of regional transport service for Sacred Heart Health System, was present to talk about AIRHeart as well as give a tour of the helicopter.

“The AIRHeart Service went into operation on Nov. 1, 2001, in Walton County,” said Mosley. “In 2003 they asked the question, where else in the state of Florida was a helicopter needed and it was in this area of Marianna and Bonifay, one of the only areas in the state of Florida that wasn’t serviced by a helicopter. Because, not so much because of a business decision, Sacred Heart of Pensacola said ‘let’s put one in Marianna.’”

That helicopter service started in November of 2003, he said.

“When I came in to that service in 2003 I asked them ‘why? Why a business in Marianna?’” said Mosley. “The answer I got from Sacred Heart was that ‘it was the right thing to do.’ I have never, ever forgotten that.”

He said they transport an average of 900 patients per year between the aircraft in Crestview and the aircraft in Marianna. 60 percent of those calls are scene calls and 40 percent from inner facility, which is from smaller hospitals to hospitals that specialize in specific areas such as burn and trauma.

“We transport as far as Atlanta, Ga., Birmingham, Ala., Augusta, Ga., for burns and Gainesville,” said Mosley. “The aircraft is actually owned by Air Methods. They bought the program out in 2007 as a business decision and it has worked out very well. The reason why I said that is because spare parts are readily available because they are the largest provider of helicopters; they actually have more helicopters than the Coast Guard.”

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