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Published on December 17, 2014

Staff for Life Helicopter Service Re-accredited as Leader in Air Medical Transport

Staff for Life Helicopter Service Re-accredited

COLUMBIA, Mo. ― The Staff for Life Helicopter Service at University Hospital has been re-accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems.

The three-year accreditation means the Staff for Life Helicopter Service meets the highest quality and safety standards possible for medical transport services.

“This represents a significant achievement for our helicopter service,” said Michele Laas, R.N., chief flight nurse of the Staff for Life Helicopter Service. “It means that our program, which has been accredited by the commission since 2003, is a leader in air medical transport.”

“University Hospital has made a significant commitment to provide patients with the highest level of trauma care at a moment’s notice,” said Jeffrey Coughenour, M.D., an acute care surgeon and medical director of University Hospital’s trauma program and Staff for Life helicopter service. “A big part of that commitment is the Staff for Life, which provides patients in central Missouri and beyond access to potentially life-saving medical transport.”

The accreditation process involved an extensive on-site survey and review of every aspect of the program. To maintain accreditation, a program must demonstrate overall quality of service and practices consistent with the standards and professional judgment of the board of directors of the Commission on Accreditation for Medical Transport Systems. The nonprofit accrediting commission’s board is comprised of representatives from 20 national and international health care organizations, including the Aerospace Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Emergency Physicians, the American College of Surgeons, and the European HEMS and Air Ambulance Committee.

Each year, the Staff for Life team responds to approximately 800 emergency calls and patient transport requests. On board each flight are a flight nurse, flight paramedic and pilot. The highly trained team is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at three bases strategically located in central Missouri. Helicopters are stationed at University Hospital in Columbia, at Lake Regional Hospital in Osage Beach and west of Sedalia in La Monte.

The Staff for Life Helicopter Service is part of the Frank L. Mitchell Jr., MD, Trauma Center at University Hospital. Medical teams on the helicopters are provided by University of Missouri Health Care, while the service’s three helicopters are owned and operated by Air Methods Corporation of Englewood, Colo.

University Hospital offers the only Level I trauma center in mid-Missouri. The Mitchell trauma center is one of only four trauma centers in Missouri verified by the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma.