Transporting patients requires an extraordinary amount of information be gathered, organized, and disseminated in an accurate and efficient manner. Life Flight handles this challenge by staffing the communication center with highly trained operational controllers and communications specialists 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
Both operational controllers and communications specialists receive in-depth training and are certified by the National Association for Air Medical Communications Specialists (NAACS).
Operational controllers assist pilots by verifying that operations are conducted in accordance with FAA requirements and by providing valuable support services. They verify certain requirements are met, such as crew member training, currency and certification, aircraft maintenance, airworthiness, hazardous weather information, fuel, and flight following. They also monitor flight conditions and provide secondary support for pilots during all phases of transport.
Communications specialists are the voice of Life Flight for our customers. Using a Siemens telephone network and UHF, VHF, and 800 Mhz radios, they assist and coordinate with EMS, hospitals, clinics, and physicians by skillfully managing all the details and information necessary to organize and safely transport a patient in the quickest way possible.
The communication center's staff is often called upon to locate data concerning airports, helipads, landing zones, and identify scene locations using specialized software and mapping skills. They are skilled in discerning scene flight information including latitude and longitude as well as elevation and headings. Due to the importance of flight following, both communications specialists and operational controllers are trained to flight follow aircraft and both have extensive radio and telecommunications knowledge.
Life Fight medical control physicians are in contact with both the referring physician and the flight team. These physicians are available for patients of all ages and are experts in their respective fields.
Our communication center can also conference you with both emergency department and critical care physicians in adult, pediatric, and neonatal specialty resource centers for consultation.
- Hospital to Hospital - Referring doctor or designee should contact Life Flight Communications to request transport.
- Scene to Hospital - Referring unit (i.e. police, fire, EMS, or other designated public servant) should contact their respective dispatch center, if possible, to coordinate transport to avoid "double-dispatching" with another service.
- Private Citizen or Physician - If you are a private citizen and feel you need Life Flight's services, immediately dial 911. If you call Life Flight, our communication center will conference you with the closest 911 communication center to ensure that you receive a prompt medical evaluation by your local EMS providers.
If you have determined that your patient will require critical care transport by Life Flight, whether by air or ground, contact our communication center at 1-800-321-1911, and our communication specialists will activate the closest team with the most appropriate aircraft or vehicle.
Intermountain Healthcare Physician Transfer Center
The Intermountain Healthcare Physician Transfer Center (PTC) began operation in April 2006. The mission of the Center is to quickly and efficiently assist physicians in the process of transferring and admitting patients to LDS Hospital, Intermountain Medical Center, and Primary Children’s Medical Center.
The Center is located at the Life Flight Operations Center at the Salt Lake International Airport. Staffed by highly trained dispatchers who work closely with referring physicians from hospitals, clinics, and private offices throughout the United States and Canada, the transfer team is a valuable resource in safely transporting and admitting patients.
The Transfer Center began operation in 2006 with 492 transfers, in 2010, there were 5777 transfers, and the Center’s transfers totaled 6800 in 2011. In 2014, we had 14,482 transfers. The Center is staffed 24 hours a day and has received calls from as far away as Tahiti!
The Transfer Team takes pride in handling each call in an efficient, a friendly, and a professional manner. We are always implementing new procedures to make the process as efficient as possible. A referring physician should only have to make one call, and the transfer team does the rest. “Any patient, anywhere, anytime transfers.”
If you are a physician and need assistance to transfer your patient, please call 801-321-3381 or 1-800-916-5494.