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Air Evac Lifeteam holds grand opening

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Ennis Regional Medical Center welcomes Air Evac Lifeteam
ERIC CORNELISON
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ENNIS - The Ennis Regional Medical Center will feature a helicopter pad that will be home base to Air Evac Lifeteam, a rural provider of air medical services.

'They can fly directly to any kind of medical emergency that's critical and they can also do transfers,' a spokeswoman said.

A helicopter pad at the new Ennis Regional Medical Center will be home base to Air Evac Lifeteam, a rural provider of air medical services.

The partnership is expected to provide patients with faster access to emergency medical transport.

'Our time to take patients from Ennis to tertiary hospitals for tertiary care will be cut down dramatically,' hospital CEO Dan McLean said.

With the partnership, travel time from Ennis to a major hospital in Dallas will be trimmed from 25 to 40 minutes to just a 12-minute flight, McLean said.

'Since we're dealing with that golden hour after trauma to save life and limb and get into surgery, that extra 25 minutes is worth a lot,' he said.

The hospital officially opened on July 21 and on Friday, Aug. 24, residents got a look at the Air Evac Lifeteam.

The city-owned facility includes a state-of-the-art cardiac imaging unit, all new radiology equipment and expanded operating room and emergency capabilities.

In maternity, every room will be private, with a sleeper chair and space for both the father and baby as new families adjust.

Additional physicians and staff are being recruited to match the facility's growth and expansion, officials said.

The new hospital is at the southeast corner of the intersection of the U.S. Highway 287 bypass and West Lampasas Street. It replaces the current structure at 803 W. Lampasas.

At the new hospital, the helipad will eliminate delays in waiting for transport to arrive, officials said.

Air Evac Lifeteam was on contract to provide a nurse, paramedic and pilot on duty at all times.

'They can fly directly to any kind of medical emergency that's critical, and they can also do transfers between hospitals,' said Julie Heavrin, an Air Evac spokeswoman.

With Ennis as home base, the team will serve all communities and hospitals within a 70-mile radius.

The company believes air ambulances should be available in rural areas to allow better access to medical care, Heavrin said.

'We recognized there was a need in Ennis and the rest of the area,' she said.

The base will be one of more than 70 in the Air Evac Lifeteam company system, which provides service in 11 states.

It's expected to provide jobs for up to 15 employees.

The city also has a 60-year partnership with LifePoint Hospitals, which helped build and fund the facility.

Ennis Mayor Russell Thomas said the new hospital will be a great asset to the community along with the Air Evac Lifeteam.

'It's wonderful. I consider it the most important thing I've been part of in my years as mayor,' he said. 'It's a phenomenal opportunity for the citizens of

Ennis to control the destiny of their health care with a first-class facility and a great provider partner.'
City Manager Steve Howerton agreed.

He said the hospital will be a boon for economic development that will result in more than $100 million in direct and indirect benefits annually to the local economy.

'The construction is without question the single most important project undertaken by the city of Ennis since the city's founding,' he said.

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