Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) operation in an effort to improve access to care for victims
of traumatic injuries and critical illnesses in east central Mississippi. Company officials today
announced the opening of their newest medical helicopter base at the Golden Triangle Regional
airport in Columbus, MS.
MedStat EMS, with its corporate headquarters located in Winona, MS, presently has a medical
helicopter based in Winona, MS and serves as the primary 911 ambulance provider for 15
Counties in central and north Mississippi. MedStat will staff the helicopter with a critical care
team consisting of a nurse and paramedic who will utilize advanced medical equipment and
procedures beyond what is typically provided on paramedic level ambulances.
MedStat EMS CEO Barry Eskridge emphasized that this service will fill a void in east central
Mississippi as well as provide increased availability for MedStat’s HEMS program. “Prior to the
establishment of our base at GTR, the region’s closest HEMS helicopter was over 50 miles
away. Citizens of the Golden Triangle region now have immediate access to the life saving
expert medical care and increased speed of transportation a HEMS unit offers.”
Company officials state the program expansion will benefit a wide variety of patient types.
Patients suffering from significant trauma, heart attacks, strokes, and critical medical problems
will benefit from the service. Rapid and direct transportation to trauma center, heart
catheterization lab, stroke center, or a facility that provides advanced medical care is proven to
provide substantially better outcomes for patients. With the helicopter based at a central location
and by closely integrating the activation of the helicopter with local ambulance services and
healthcare facilities, Patients will have rapid access to the major trauma centers and tertiary care
hospitals substantially faster than if transported by ground ambulance or by having to wait for an
aircraft from out of the area to facilitate the transport.
The expansion will also provide logistical benefits for MedStat’s existing HEMS program. “By
having another helicopter located just 60 miles from our existing Winona base, the units can
provide backup coverage for each other in the event one aircraft is busy or if there is a multicasualty
scene,” Eskridge said.
Both helicopters to be utilized were built at the American Eurocopter facility in Columbus, MS.
Widely used in HEMS transport programs across the country, the Eurocopter AS350-B2 is well
known for its mechanical reliability, performance and safety record. The Helicopter based at
GTR will be equipped with advanced avionics to include terrain avoidance technology, air traffic
collision avoidance technology, autopilot, radar altimeter, satellite tracking and monitoring
through MedStat’s control center as well as night vision goggles for the pilot and medical crew
members. The helicopter has a range of over 300 miles and has a cruising speed of 133 knots
The aircraft based in Columbus will respond to request for service from local EMS agencies and
hospitals within a 75 mile radius of Columbus and will provide support for our ground
ambulance operations in Monroe County.