April 7, 2006

LifeFlight first in state to land accreditation

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One of Vanderbilt’s LifeFlight helicopters at VUH.
Photo by Mike Reyno

LifeFlight first in state to land accreditation

Vanderbilt University Medical Center's LifeFlight has become the first air ambulance program in Tennessee to receive accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS).

After an extensive accreditation process, LifeFlight received its designation on April 2. Slightly more than 100 medical transport programs in the United States are accredited by CAMTS.

“Although accreditation is strictly voluntary, LifeFlight made the decision to pursue accreditation two years ago as part of our mission to provide the highest quality care in the safest manner possible,” said Jeanne Yeatman, R.N., M.B.A., LifeFlight program director.

“Gaining accreditation is just another step in our pursuit to be one of a handful of premier air medical transport programs in the world,” said John A. Morris Jr., M.D., LifeFlight's medical director, and director of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care.

LifeFlight maintains four helicopter bases in rural areas of Middle Tennessee including Lebanon, Tullahoma, Clarksville and Mount Pleasant. The fixed-wing division of LifeFlight operates from Nashville International Airport.

CAMTS is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality and safety of medical transport services. Accreditation revolves around and focuses on the delivery of high quality patient care and safety in the transport environment. The process involves a site survey coupled with an extensive review of all facets of the operation. To gain accreditation, a transport program must be in substantial compliance with the CAMTS Accreditation Standards and demonstrate a high level of overall quality in service.

“Similar to the strict standards and assessment of hospitals by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, CAMTS offers transport programs a vehicle to demonstrate high performance in the areas of quality and safety,” Yeatman said.

In LifeFlight's 21-year history, more than 25,000 patients have been transported to hospitals in Nashville and destinations around the world. It is Tennessee's largest not-for-profit air medical transport program, providing service via four helicopters and one fixed-wing aircraft. It has maintained an accident-free safety record since the program's inception in 1984.