Grand Forks air ambulance plans expansion

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — An air ambulance company that serves parts of North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana and Michigan plans to expand.

Grand Forks-based Valley Med Flight started flying in 2010 and has been acquired by Air Medical Resource Group, a Utah-based company that owns seven other air ambulance companies. Valley Med president Ben Dorman told the Grand Forks Herald ( ) that allows the company to access more financial resources than it would on its own and grow more quickly.

The business now has four stations in three states, employing about 45 pilots, medical personnel and maintenance workers.

Its current stations that each supports a 150-mile radius are in Grand Forks, Williston, Sidney, Mont., and Iron Mountain, Mich.

Valley Med plans to add three more stations — one fixed-wing and two helicopter bases — in the next year, which will require the company to hire about 25 new employees, Dorman said. He declined to say where those stations might be located.

Its maintenance hub is in Grand Forks.

Dorman, who became an emergency room nurse at Altru Health System in 2006 after working for an ambulance company in Oklahoma, said the company started because of a need for faster transportation in sparsely populated areas of North Dakota and northern Minnesota.

“It was taking us hours to get critical patients out of Altru Hospital,” said Dorman, a Clearbrook, Minn., native. “And I know a lot of the other hospitals in the area were dealing with the same issues.”

Valley Med’s crews can get in the air within 30 minutes of receiving a call for service, Dorman said. That means it takes them less than an hour to get to Devils Lake, which previously had to rely on air service from Fargo.

“Any time that you can increase the speed in which somebody is getting to definitive care, it benefits patient outcomes,” Dorman said.


Information from: Grand Forks Herald,

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