Marquette General Hospital released the following press release this morning regarding an upcoming public forum on the hospital’s new helicopter service:

MARQUETTE – Marquette General Hospital will host a public forum on Wednesday to discuss details of its new helicopter service, including the planned landing zone location and flight path. The public is invited to attend the forum, slated for 7 pm at the MGH Conference Center.

Following the recent announcement of the helicopter ambulance service, city and hospital officials heard questions and concern from several residents with homes in close proximity to the hospital.  In response, the hospital has carefully assessed the proposed approach route and land zone.

The landing zone is now planned be located in a section of the current Neldberg Building parking lot, at the corner of College Ave. and Hebard Court.

“We think this is a very good location in that it should satisfy concerns voiced earlier by our Seventh Street area neighbors, as well as provide a strong conduit from the helicopter to our Trauma Center, Emergency Department and our Cardiac Cath Lab,” said Marquette General CEO Ed Banos.  “We are extremely proud to be introducing this lifesaving service and believe the proposed landing zone and flight path will serve us well, up until our new hospital facility is constructed and we vacate our current hospital campus.”

Banos added that he hopes for strong attendance at the public forum, where he will outline more details about the helicopter service and field residents’ questions.

He said, “It is crucial to us that the public we serve know MGH is striving to provide the finest healthcare possible to UP residents.  We always welcome input from the community about ideas and concerns.”

MGH is planning construction of a new 240-bed hospital facility and adjoining medical office building, with a site search for the new facility under way and expected to be completed this summer.  The new helicopter is stationed in Escanaba and will provide 24/7 air ambulance coverage for residents of the Upper Peninsula.  The new service is an affiliation between MGH and Valley Med Flight, Inc.

The aircraft will be capable of assisting local first-responders, EMS, fire, and law-enforcement by responding to motor vehicle accidents and other scene response needs as well as helipad-to-helipad patient transportation. Valley Med is the sole owner of the medical transport business, and MGH is serving as a Valley Med emergency transport affiliate location. 

Valley Med Flight also operates a fixed-wing air medical base in Iron Mountain.

“We now have the ability to respond to the majority of patient transportation needs in the UP.  Two bases, one helicopter and one fixed-wing, gives us flexibility and the opportunity for backup if the rotor is unavailable because of weather, etc.” explained Jake Keller, Valley Med Flight’s Service Director.  “We are very excited to be here and to become a central component of patient transportation in the UP.”  

Valley Med Flight is owned and managed by Air Medical Resource Group (AMRG).  AMRG is the fourth largest air medical provider in the nation and currently transports more than 11,000 patients per year.

The Wednesday forum will be held at MGH in Conference Room 1.  To access the conference room, use the hospital East Entrance off College Ave. and take the elevator to the 3rd floor.