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Bozeman Health and air and ground medical transport service Life Flight Network on Friday announced a new partnership, which officials say will provide faster and more efficient ambulatory services for patients who need to get from hospital to hospital fast.

“As the region grows, we just need more resources at all levels,” said Dr. Kathryn Bertany, the president of Deaconess Hospital and Big Sky Medical Center, at a press conference in the Life Flight Network hangar at the Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport. “We are super excited about our new partnership with Life Flight.”

Life Flight and Bozeman Health Partnership

Dr. Kathryn Bertany speaks at a press conference to announce a partnership between Life Flight Network and Bozeman Health on Friday, March 19, 2021, at the Life Flight Network Bozeman Hangar.

Life Flight Network, a nonprofit operation like Bozeman Health, operates helicopters, fixed-wing planes and ground ambulances based throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, according to a news release. Life Flight has been in the region for more than 40 years and transports more than 40,000 patients each year, said to CEO Mike Griffiths.

“We felt we were uniquely qualified to offer this service,” Griffiths said. “Time’s of the essence, and getting patients to and from where they need to go is challenging and you need to have people who know what they’re doing.”

The air transport services offered by Life Flight will mostly be used for transporting patients from hospital to hospital, freeing local ground ambulances to respond to other emergencies instead of transporting patients.

Life Flight and Bozeman Health Partnership

A Pilatus PC-12 and Citation CJ4 are parked outside the Life Flight Network hangar during a press conference to announce a partnership between Life Flight Network and Bozeman Health on Friday, March 19, 2021.

“That could be transporting to Deaconess Hospital … or it could be a patient that’s at Deaconess and needs a higher level of care,” Bertany said.

The partnership has been in the works for about 18 months and started with Bozeman’s Health Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.

“We recognized that we had to be sure we had a neonatal transport team available,” Bertany said.

Dr. David Parks, a trauma care medical doctor with Bozeman Heath, said the service was necessary because of growth in Bozeman and the surrounding area.

“We’re already busier this year than we were last year,” Parks said. “I think this will be a big improvement.”

Life Flight and Bozeman Health Partnership

Dr. David Parks, trauma center medical director, speaks at a press conference to announce a partnership between Life Flight Network and Bozeman Health on Friday, March 19, 2021, at the Life Flight Network Bozeman Hangar.

Parks said that often Bozeman Health Deaconess Hospital is able to take care of its patients that arrive with traumatic injuries, but that it’s not uncommon for those people to have neurosurgical needs or require other specialized care they can’t get in Bozeman or even in Montana. Life Flight will help get those patients to other hospitals quickly.

Montana Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines issued a statement Friday afternoon commending the partnership.

“Thank you Bozeman Health and Life Flight Network for partnering to ensure Bozeman area patients have access to needed medical care,” Daines said. “This is another step toward ensuring Montanans are connected to healthcare.”

This story has been updated to correct a misspelling.

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Melissa Loveridge can be reached at mloveridge@dailychronicle.com or at (406) 582-2651.

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