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MedStar sets up shop in Brewster

Critical care company plans May opening

— Northwest MedStar plans to open a new, full-time base at the city-owned Anderson Field Airport next month.

The Spokane-based company provides critical care transportation via helicopter.

It currently serves North-Central Washington and frequently uses the airport, located off U.S. Highway 97 north of town, but local health care officials say the permanent base will be more convenient.

“We’re very pleased to see Northwest MedStar come to our community,” Three Rivers Hospital CEO O.E. “Bud” Hufnagel said.

“This commitment will provide increased critical care access to the entire district and enhance our mutual objective of providing essential care to the communities we serve.”

“Having this new base closer in our region is crucial in improving the process of safely and quickly transporting our critical patients,” said Linda Michel, administrator at North Valley Hospital in Tonasket. “Our community greatly appreciates Northwest MedStar’s dedication to health and wellness of the people we serve.”

Northwest MedStar will position an EC-135 air medical helicopter and 14-member critical care flight crew at the airport.

The company has signed a lease with the city to use Lot 20 at the airport, a 30-year agreement with the potential to renew for another 20 years.

A 3,600-square-foot hangar has been purchased, and MedStar will construct another 1,400-square-foot space for crew quarters. Crew members will include Metro Aviation pilots and a mechanic.

MedStar estimates the cost for construction and medical equipment at $575,000, and crew salaries and benefits at more than $1 million.

“We look forward to providing more immediate critical care transport services to meet the needs of our shared patients,” MedStar Program Director Eveline Bisson said.

The company will also continue to work with local EMS services, such as Douglas-Okanogan County Fire District 15 EMS and Aero Methow Rescue Service.

“We have worked closely with Northwest MedStar since their inception and value our partnership in patient care,” Aero Methow Director of Services Cindy Button said. “We are honored to work with MedStar’s professional, competent and reliable staff and welcome them to our county.”

This will be MedStar’s sixth base. Others are in Moses Lake, Palouse, Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Missoula, Mont.

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