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June 14th, 2021

eaglemed ribbonChamber Ambassadors and EagleMed employees join Global Medical Response Regional Operations Director Jon Antrim in cutting the ribbon for EagleMed’s new Liberal location last Friday. L&T photo/Robert PierceROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

One of the oldest and most experienced air and ground medical transport service providers in the Midwest recently partnered with Liberal’s Southwest Medical Center to provide interfacility transport services 12 hours a day, seven days a week to the hospital’s patients.

The partnership was officially welcomed Friday as officials with EagleMed joined those from SWMC for a ribbon cutting hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.

This is the third ground medical transport operation in the state for EagleMed. The dedicated ambulance will provide Advance Life Support (ALS) services and will operate with a staff of four full-time and five part-time paramedics and EMTs.

Jon Antrim, Regional Director of Operations for Global Medical Response, EagleMed’s parent company, and former Liberal resident with 20 years of experience in local emergency services, said it is a point of pride to partner with SWMC and to help bring ALS ambulance service to the hospital’s patients.

“I look forward to all we will achieve through this partnership,” he said. “It’ll allow us to transport the lower acuity care patients to a higher level of care, those who don’t meet flight criteria, help them move to a higher level of care or services that aren’t available here at Southwest Medical Center.”

Antrim said the partnership was the result of talks about what he and others saw as a growing need in the region.

“In having conversations with them and understanding Western Kansas and some of the challenges this facility, as well as many facilities have faced, that’s what led the conversation to was there something we could do to aid,” he said.

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Antrim added the EagleMed partnership will likewise have an impact on the patient load for SWMC.

“The goal is to make sure the right patients are getting to the right facility, whether that’s patients coming to Southwest Medical Center who haven’t had that opportunity to take advantage of their services, as well as moving them away from this facility to a higher level of care so they can have that bed open for the next available patient,” he said. 

Antrim said insurance can be used for those using EagleMed services, adding this can be helpful with costs, as those cost can rise without insurance.

“We are in network with almost all major providers on the ground side,” he said. “Blue Cross Blue Shield, we are a network provider. It’s based on their insurance availability and what their copays and deductibles are. There are certain circumstances with private pay, but we’ll work with those. The exact cost is difficult because it depends on the level of service we provide.”

Antrim said this also applies to senior citizens.

“We are in network with CMS,” he said. “If someone has Medicare or Medicaid, we are a provider, and we’ll provide the service to them at the negotiated rates of CMS.”

In the past, EagleMed has had the ability to transfer multiple patients at a time, and Antrim said that will continue with the SWMC partnership.

“We don’t respond to 911 calls,” he said. “We’re only doing facility transports. We have had the ability. Right now, we’re only staffing one truck a day, but if the volume increases, we would maybe have the flexibility to staff a second one.”

Antrim said EagleMed workers can do the typical work of other paramedics and EMTs.

“On the ground side, it’s an Advanced Life Support services,” he said. “On the air side, it’s critical care. They have advanced certifications to handle the more critical or sick patients if those patients are on a ventilator or are in need of a higher level of care.”

As to where EagleMed can transport patients, Antrim said that is most of Kansas.

“We’ve gone as far as Topeka in the month since we’ve been open taking the transport from Southwest Medical Center and back,” he said. 

Antrim explained how EagleMed becomes involved with a patient’s case.

“After they’ve been to a tertiary care facility, they would reach out to us to transport them to that next level of care,” he said. “They call our FlightCom system.”

Those working the ground side for EagleMed do so through a rotating schedule of 12-hour shifts, while those on the air side work 24-hour shifts.

SWMC President and CEO Robert Whittaker said he is grateful for the EagleMed partnership.

“They are supportive of our need to serve patients throughout the region,” he said.

GMR Regional President Steven Dralle said company leaders are thrilled to be enhancing services to the community by officially partnering with the outstanding care teams at SWMC.

“We look forward to continuing to serve the communities of Kansas with high-quality patient care via our ground and air medical operations located in Liberal,” he said.

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