Before our first flight in 1985, residents endured long ground transport times in the face of illness or injury. In fact, studies suggested that those living east of the Cascade Mountains were nearly three times more likely to die due to the distance from adequate medical care.
As one of the first paramedics in the state and an experienced firefighter, program creator Vern Bartley, together with Julie Molin worked with local leaders, medical experts and the EMS council to create a locally owned, regional air ambulance service. Focusing remote access for Central Oregon's rural community and providing stellar patient care. Initially called Air Life of Oregon, the program progressively got its footing, cheered on in no small part by the residents it served.
Partnering with St. Charles - Bend, as well as many local EMS crews, the program grew into a financially stable, well-respected organization with a unique angle: Working, training and flying together, the various medical and flight staff developed a type of seamless patient care—from landing zone to flight to hospital; these professionals were adept at saving lives.
Creating a membership program to become self-sustaining, Bartley and a cadre of volunteers from central and eastern Oregon grew the program to include individual and business memberships, combination air/ground memberships and far more.
Today, re-named AirLink Critical Care Transport but with the same strong emphasis on excellence in patient care, the program thrives. Since its inception, AirLink has flown more than 24,000 missions and boasts a long-tenured crew. As the only air ambulance in the region to offer neonatal (mother and infant) transport, AirLink is setting the standard as the premier air medical transport program in the northwest.
It all began with Bell Long Ranger helicopter, a remote community in need, and a vison that would sustain 30 years of excellence in patient care, safety and clinical innovation. In August of 2015, AirLink CCT formally known as AirLife of Oregon is celebrated its 30th Anniversary. None of this story would have been possible had it not been for the community support of our Central and Eastern Oregon residents, St. Charles Hospital and the visionary team who understood from the beginning that safety and patient care can never be compromised. In the year of 1985, at a significant cost to AirLife and St. Charles Hospital, the Bell Long Ranger was the first FAA certified IFR (instrument flight rated) helicopter in the state. AirLife set the “safety” bar for air medical care in Oregon and though needs have changed AirLink has maintained those standards as evident by our CAMTS certification - the industry’s gold standard for patient care, safety and operations.
Since its inception, AirLink has been a clinically innovative company from our in-flight Point of Care Testing Lab, to our video laryngoscopy for tracheal intubation, and the carrying of lifesaving blood on each flight. We consider it a privilege that our scope of practice affords us the ability to truly provide critical intensive care for our community and to our members. We are honored that at their most vulnerable times our members have entrusted their lives to us. This level of trusts demands integrity, precision and expert distinction in everything we do.
Under the incisive stead of Med-Trans, and with the same commitment to excellence AirLink Critical Care Transport would like to announce our base opening in Klamath Falls, OR. The new rotor and fixed wing base serves Southern Oregon and Northern California. We look forward to being a vital part of these communities and providing exceptional care and safety to our Air Med Care members along with our distinguished air medical partners REACH and Cal-Ore.
For more information visit us on: www.myairlink.org or contacting us at 541.233.6355