St. Luke’s currently contracts with Penn Medicine to provide air medical services through the PennSTAR program.
Geisinger’s Life Flight program includes 100 team members and operates seven helicopters out of five bases in Danville, Minersville, State College, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Williamsport.
Kenneth Szydlow, vice president, marketing and public relations for SLUHN, said the logistics on where the helicopter will be based in Northampton County have not been finalized.
Geisinger’s Life Flight program has transported more than 60,000 patients the past 36 years.
About 65 percent of Life Flight flights are patients being transported from one hospital to another; 35 percent are from accident sites throughout the region.
The Life Flight’s twin engine EC145 helicopters are made by Airbus Helicopters and equipped with night vision goggles. The aircraft can carry two patients, a medical team and specialized medical equipment.
“The helicopter is similar to those currently flown by Geisinger and will be larger than any helicopter currently serving the Lehigh Valley,” Szydlow said.
The helicopters allow flight crews to conduct instrument-only and single-pilot flights.
“We look forward to working in conjunction with St. Luke’s to ensure that patients have access to professional and timely air medical services,” said Thomas B. Weir, associate chief administrative officer, Geisinger Clinic.
The Reading Health System also uses the PennSTAR program, while Lehigh Valley Health Network uses MedEvac helicopters for patient transport.