Life Flight Network is a not-for-profit medical transport service focused on Safety,Quality, and Service. We are one of the country’s oldest and most respected air ambulance providers. Beginning in 1978 as Emanuel Life Flight, the program was owned and operated by Emanuel Hospital (now Legacy Emanuel Medical Center). Emanuel Life Flight was the first hospital-based air ambulance on the West coast and only the 4th in the nation. Transporting 121 patients in its first year, a French-made Allouette-3 helicopter was the program’s inaugural aircraft. Thirty-five years later, LFN has safely transported over 75,000 patients.
In 1993, Emanuel Life Flight merged with Aircare, a Providence Health System flight program; our name was changed to reflect this milestone. Emanuel Life Flight became the Life Flight Network. This merger and name change came in concert with the decision of the three largest health care providers in the Portland metropolitan area to jointly participate in the ownership and overall operation of LFN; day-to-day operation of LFN remained under the auspices of Legacy Emanuel Medical Center.
In 2006, the consortium made a strategic decision to transfer the organization from the governance of the hospital structure and separate it into its own entity. The consortium recognized LFN would need the strength of its own organizational structure if it was going to survive in the rapidly growing and increasingly competitive air medical industry. On October 1, 2007, LFN was separated from the hospital structure and began operations under its own steam.
To better serve its existing customers and to provide much needed air medical service to growing distant communities, LFN opened bases in Eugene, OR; Dallesport, WA; and Longview, WA in 2008. Our first ground based critical care ambulance was placed into service January 1, 2009.
July of 2009 brought one of the biggest milestones in LFN’s history. LFN was awarded the prestigious Program of the Year award by the Association of Air Medical Services (AAMS), the first time in the history of AAMS a flight program on the West coast had been bestowed this honor. Competition for this award comes from over 250 flight programs stretching from every state to eight foreign countries.
In September of 2009, Boise-based Saint Alphonsus Life Flight made a strategic decision to join LFN. Both LFN and Saint Alphonsus Life Flight realized long-term survivability would depend on the ability to collaborate with other like-minded organizations. Founded in 1986, Saint Alphonsus Life Flight’s reputation in Idaho and eastern Oregon was unparalleled. This merger helped LFN become one of the largest not-for-profit hospital consortium air medical programs in the United States.
Immediately after the merger with St. Alphonsus Life Flight, LFN recognized the need for an air ambulance service in the Lewiston, ID region. As part of our ongoing effort to better serve the communities of the Northwest and Intermountain West, a decision was made at our January 2010 Strategic Retreat to move forward with fulfilling this need. In April 2010, LFN opened its 10th base of operation in Lewiston. In January 2011, LFN added a fixed-wing aircraft to the Lewiston base.
In late 2010, Portneuf Medical Center in Pocatello, Idaho approached several regional and national flight programs about the opportunity to take over their flight program. They ultimately decided LFN was the right fit for their patients and community. In April 2011, Portneuf Life Flight transitioned into Life Flight Network.
During this same period, Saint Alphonsus Regional Health System and Grande Ronde Hospital in La Grande, Oregon established an affiliation agreement. LFN was asked to evaluate the need for rotor-wing services in the region and opened a base in La Grande on June 1, 2011.
LFN was named the Fastest Growing Private Company in Oregon by Portland Business Journal in 2011 and earned a top-15 ranking in Oregon Business’ list of 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon.
In the time period between opening the Lewiston and La Grande bases, LFN was approached by EMS providers in northern Idaho, eastern Washington and central Oregon about the possibility of establishing helicopter bases in their respective regions. After lengthy investigations, LFN concluded both regions would benefit from local helicopter resources. The company’s base in Redmond, Oregon started service on February 22, 2012 and the Sandpoint, Idaho base opened on March 1.
LFN looks to place bases in rural communities where a recognized need exists for air medical service. The most recent step in this process was the opening of a base in Pendleton, Oregon on June 1, 2012.
LFN signed an agreement in 2012 to acquire 15 AgustaWestland AW119Kx “Koala” helicopters and the company will start taking delivery of these aircraft during the spring and summer months of 2013. The Koala comes equipped with a state-of-the-art Garmin G-1000H cockpit, night vision goggle capability, satellite weather, synthetic vision, and the capacity to transport two patients with unencumbered full-body access. The AW119Kx will be the fastest EMS helicopters in the region, further reducing the amount of time it takes LFN to transport patients to the emergency care they require.
LFN is also acquiring two AW “GrandNew” 109SP twin-engine helicopters with advanced avionics. They can safely fly under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and carry out critical care transports in rapidly changing weather conditions. In addition, LFN expects to put its new high-tech Pilatus PC-12NG fixed-wing aircraft into service during the summer of 2013. It provides an electric lift rated to 650 pounds, larger interior space for patient and crew and advanced avionics.
Oregon Business named LFN 2012’s Best Nonprofit to Work For in Oregon after two previous top-15 rankings. Two new Mercedes-Benz Sprinter ambulances were put into service in Boise and Eagle, Idaho in November 2012, with a third starting service in Longview, Washington in late March 2013.
LFN maintains a robust Membership program. With the addition of Portneuf Medical Center into our organization, we now serve over 66,000 households and over 130,000 individual constituents. Membership in LFN covers emergency rotor-wing, fixed-wing, and critical care ground transport. Members transported by LFN, or one of our reciprocal partners, bear no out-of-pocket expenses for medically necessary transports.
Today, the consortium of Oregon Health & Science University, Legacy Emanuel Medical Center, Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center, and Providence Health & Services - Oregon own and operate LFN. The combined strength of these world-class health institutions ensures the quality of the program remains as safe and strong today as when it started 35-years ago.