HealthNet Helicopter Service Lands in Marshall County

Photo by Linda Comins Albert Wright, president and CEO of WVU Medicine, speaks at the grand opening of HealthNet Aeromedical Services’ new base in Marshall County.

HealthNet Aeromedical Services’ new base in Marshall County opened officially Friday, bringing emergency helicopter service and more employment to the community.

The new aircraft service operates from a hangar and office building at the Marshall County Airport.

Clinton Burley, president and CEO of HealthNet Aeromedical Services, said 18 jobs have been created at the base for paramedics, nurses, aviators, mechanics and leaders. He said the base utilizes a $6 million Airbus helicopter equipped with state-of-the art technology and specialized medications.

Burley said the facility is HealthNet’s 10th emergency helicopter base and its fourth site in support of West Virginia University Medicine. It serves WVU Medicine-Reynolds Memorial Hospital in Glen Dale and can transport patients from other sites in the Northern Panhandle.

Dr. David Hess, CEO of WVU Medicine-Reynolds Memorial Hospital, said, “This is an incredible day for Reynolds.”

Hess, who also is an active physician, said he and other doctors promise patients the best possible care at Reynolds, but will send them to other centers for more specialized care when a need arises. “This helicopter has ensured this promise to our patients,” he said.

Hess said the number of patients treated at Reynolds has grown since the hospital joined the WVU Medicine system. In the emergency room alone, the volume of service has increased 15 percent, he said.

Marshall County Commissioner Scott Varner thanked members of the county’s airport authority for their diligence on the project. HealthNet also manages the Marshall County Emergency Medical Service.

Establishment of Base 10 supports “the vision that WVU Medicine has to bring high-tech, high-quality health care to this region,” Burley said.

The aircraft service began operating in Marshall County in September. Albert Wright, president and CEO of WVU Medicine, said the new base “is busier than our Martinsburg base already.”