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Ascension Wisconsin Spirit 2 Helicopter to discontinue operations

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WOODRUFF, Wis. (WAOW) -- Ascension Wisconsin is announcing adjustments to its air medical transprot operations in northern Wisconsin.

The adjustments include the discontinuation of service of the Spirit 2 Helicopter based at Howard Young Medical Center by the end of 2020, and the sunset of an operational agreement at the end of August for Spirit 3.

“There are many changing dynamics in the delivery of healthcare services in the region that created the need for these difficult decisions,” said Stewart Watson, M.D., Vice President-Clinical, North Region, Ascension Wisconsin.

Watson says those dynamics include the current landscape of medical transportation services available in central and northern Wisconsin, the ongoing realignment of healthcare facilities in the region and patient volumes. Spirit conducted an extensive review of its operations that
focused on past, present and predicted patient volumes and transportation needs.

“Our review concluded that our air medical transport needs would be best met with a single helicopter strategically placed at the Central Wisconsin Airport (CWA) at Mosinee,” said Watson.

Spirit will maintain a critical care ground base and resources for transport out of Woodruff from Howard Young Medical Center. Other Spirit ground bases are in Rhinelander, Weston and Stevens Point.

“The response time with Spirit 1 from CWA to the Northwoods is consistent with the average time to diagnose and stabilize most patients in the emergency room prior to being ready to transport,” said Ted Ryan, Director, Ascension Wisconsin Spirit Medical Transport. “We will leverage the full resources of our dispatch center and the talents of our dedicated associates to continue to manage our patient transport needs safely and effectively."

Ryan states that an effort will be made to transition affected Spirit associates into current open positions within Ascension Wisconsin.

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Sierra Rehm

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