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The first Wyoming-owned flight program will operate in the northern part of the state

In many rural areas, helicopters are the only speedy way to get patients to a trauma center or hospital burn unit. As more than 100 rural hospitals have closed around the U.S. since 2010, the need for air transport has only increased.
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In many rural areas, helicopters are the only speedy way to get patients to a trauma center or hospital burn unit. As more than 100 rural hospitals have closed around the U.S. since 2010, the need for air transport has only increased.

Cody Regional Health is partnering up with SCL Health out of Billings to create the first Wyoming-owned flight program. The goal is to provide higher quality and lower cost for medical patients in Northern Wyoming.

The air flight program will transport northern Wyoming patients to hospitals close by, like Casper or Billings. It will replace for profit programs that the hospitals have been using.

Keith Ungrund, Cody Regional Health’s chief clinical officer, said the program came about as they expanded their EMS program to two other counties.

“You kind of look at the regionalization that was happening already with the ground service, adding a flight service to complement those services just seemed to make sense,” he said.

Ungrund said they’ll be able to reduce the cost of transport flights by 40 percent. The hospital will purchase a helicopter and hire 18 employees for the program, which will likely launch in May.

In addition to reporting daily on the happenings in Northwest Wyoming, Kamila is also the producer of the Kids Ask WhY Podcast and the History Unloaded Podcast.Kamila has worked for public radio stations in California, New York, France and Poland. Originally from New York City, she loves exploring new places. Kamila received her master in journalism from Columbia University. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring the surrounding areas with her two pups and husband.
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