Coronavirus, News

NE Medical Transport Companies Vital to Managing COVID-19 Surges

The photo shows the inside of an ambulance.
The inside of an ambulance at Cherry Point (NC) Fire and Emergency Services. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Micha Pierce)

According to a report from KETV, Nebraska hospitals are increasingly moving patients from facility to facility to make sure patients receive the proper care needed during the recent COVID-19 surge.

Midwest Medical Transport is one of those transport companies putting in the effort to make sure patients are prioritized. It is the biggest transport company in the state and serves 11 areas, including the Omaha Metro and Lincoln area. The company also operates in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Ohio.

Midwest Medical Transport Senior Relationship Manager Rick Sheehy recently noted that the company is seeing about 140 transports a day, a 27 percent increase, most of which is either from patients with COVID-19 or those who show symptoms.

Sheehy said since the pandemic started, less than two-dozen of its 900 employees have tested positive for COVID-19. He also said the company has 24 ambulances across the state; none of the cases can be traced back to a transport.

That type of safety record includes responders wearing proper personal protective equipment and decontaminating the ambulance after each transport where the transported patient showed COVID-19 symptoms.

Midwest Medical and other transport companies have become key players in helping hospitals trying to manage beds during the surge.

Nebraska has set up a state-wide transfer center through CHI Health, which connects seriously ill patients to the best care available. The transport company gets the patients there.

Mel McNea, the CEO of Great Plains Health in North Platte, said that ambulances also transport patients who are well enough to facilities that can provide lower levels of care.