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2/14/2013 5:00:00 PM
Emergency transport helicopters to be banned from landing at hospital

Marty Bachman


BLYTHE - Palo Verde Hospital has been ordered to stop landing helicopters in the hospital's parking lot due to the landing pad not being in compliance with state standards. The order came from Caltrans officials who said they became aware of the landings at the hospital in October 2012. According to former hospital employees, helicopters have been landing at the hospital since the 1970s.

"Our Headquarters Division of Aeronautics contacted the hospital in October 2012," wrote Terri Kasinga, Caltrans District 8 Chief, Public and Legislative Affairs spokesperson in an email to the Times. "They have had since that time to rectify the situation. We expect to send the cease and desist letter this week and it will be effective upon receipt."

According to Caltrans Public Information Officer Shelli Lombardo, there are avenues the hospital may take to secure a landing zone.

"The hospital must apply for and receive a State Heliport Permit, which it doesn't have at this time," she wrote in an email. "The hospital may be designated an Emergency Medical Services landing site by meeting the following criteria:

• A public safety agency may designate the landing zone using criteria the agency has determined is reasonable and prudent for the safe operation of EMS helicopters.

• The helipad averages six landings a month over a 12 month period.

• It must not be marked as a permitted heliport (general use)

• It is restricted to use only for emergency medical purposes.

Dennis Rutherford, interim CEO of the hospital, said it would cost the Palo Verde Healthcare District approximately $50,000 to bring the current pad into compliance. Rutherford, who was expected to be fired at last Tuesday's board meeting before it was cancelled, said that administrators had sought out an exclusive contract with a helicopter company with the hope they would upgrade or build a new pad, but the hospital board voted not to pursue the contract at its Jan. 16 meeting.

The decision to not court an exclusive transportation provider became a point of controversy due to Healthcare District Board President Trina Sartin's ownership of Desert Air Ambulance, which provides competitive emergency air transportation to trauma centers via airplane. Sartin recused herself from voting on the issue but did vote to fire former hospital CEO Peter Klune, who had proposed basing a helicopter outside the hospital's doors just two days before his termination; the same day the board voted to not seek the contract.

If hospital administrators are not able to work out an agreement to keep helicopters landing at the hospital, patients will have to be transported by ambulance to the Blythe Airport before being evacuated.



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• Desert Air official fought to halt emergency helicopters from landing at hospital
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• Fired hospital chief had proposed basing helicopter at hospital prior to dismissal
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• Former DA warns board members of potential conflicts

Related Links:
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• Hospital Board voids meeting citing Brown Act violations
• Medical staff seeks to restrain Healthcare District Board from contracting out surgical services


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Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: just me@Hawkeye

Get the petition i will sign it along with many others I know..lets work to make this a promise and not a threat..Some how changes have got to be made...I feel the dr and three blind mice are murdering the community,,,,

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Mel SoCal

trina used to be my hero.. i used to think she cared for her patients. i used to hold trina SO high.. i used to..

now she's just another puppet in the marrionet show of a (deleted)..

what a waste of a hero..

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement. Personal attacks are not tolerated, and are a direct violation of these Terms of Use.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Pay Attention

Read the article: the hospital was notified in 2012-Klune and Carney ran the hospital then. There was money to fix the problem-why was it ignored? Cause Klune planned all along (deleted) he didn't care one bit about the community or hospital-what was Carney's excuse?
Attend the meetings: Not once did Klune mention that the exclusice contract company had proposed or promised to provide a landing pad. Pay attention people and place the blame where it belongs!

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Aj McCay

The new contract was to be propose at the Januariy 16 meeting. Whether or not it was is not disussed at that meeting is not the issue. The issue is why either the CEO, board, or PVVT at the time did not make anyone aware of the landing area not being in compliance at the time. seems like PVVT is costantly reporting everything the PVH does. This is fine but why not do this a couple years ago and bring many other things that were important to everyones attention and not so much the same issues? The issue with Trina is a dead issue. It can be just Trina's company or shared with theee other companies. The fact is that the bill is going to cost the same or not much difference in costs to make it an issue. How about just seeing what can be done to get the pad in compliance without bringing ip names or past situations. People keep speaking like its a monopoly. if that's the case we should see more articles on why Albertsons is the only complete grocery store we have. Or why why we have one Chiropractor and three dealerships owned by one entity. So why are we really complaining? Lol

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: @joe blow

I think you had better recheck your records on failed mission. Do you mean by "failed mission" the plane or copter crashed, or would the failure be the patient died in route?

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: just me@Joe Blow

Please tell me where I can find information on helicopters crashing while transporting patients..Yes helicopters do crash but so can planes...we had crop dusters go down .So I sort of think you are a Joe Blow, blowing dust..

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Hawkeye Pierce

I knew last year these three would run our hospital into the ground with their special interests. The next question is what as a town do we need to do. The answer is a recall election, and quick. I am gathering all the information we need to file a petition to hold a special election to recall the three blind mice, and take our hospital back, keep our heli-pad, etc. As soon as I get the petition information I will open a web page to sign it, as well as getting copies throughout town. I plead that all registered voters sign this petition, and help me save this hospital.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: @Look at The Facts

Another cheep shot by pvvt. Former CEO had plenty of time to modify the landing pad without a exclusive agreement, money was available. his bonus was almost that much. Exclusive agreements are never good, a option is always needed. The current board must provide the funds for this pad. And all u whiners shud just suck it up, you lost. Trina, of all persons, know that the helicopter is necessary, too, and with any smarts at all, the board will approve the pad.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Fearful Employee

To AJ McKay!
You need to remove your head out of the sand and pay attention! Do you not know that before any business person presents anything to the company they must reserch the facts. The high paid CEO with the brains stated those resolutions for transport and surgical services back in Oct. Do you not remember that the good Dr.filed TROs to stop any progression. The trio would not allow the CEO to present his ideas to create income and to better the services to the people in Blythe! He was fired without cause!!! Why? Don't place blame on the CEO. Put it where it belongs! Wait and see how much it will cost the hospital to get a new CEO. Also, the hospital was in violation of an EMTALA regulation with regards to the time it takes to transfer a patient from one hospital to another. Look around! That is where emergency care is headed. It's all about the patient. Trina being a critical care nurse knows this. But we are doing this for the people! Ya right!


Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: lack of communication

Seems like there has been a total lack of communication on many of the problems the hospital faces. If the hospital is out of compliance on something then tell us what is out of compliance and what is needed to get back in compliance. Don't just say that it is on the right track and not to worry because we know what is best for the community. If there are performance issue with a provider then tell us and let the community have input. If you accuse people of being corrupt then lay out the facts and let's get it all out. The last board discussed all the important issues behind closed doors and did not let the public hear anything. The new board seems to be doing better at being more open but we need to keep it that way. When there are problems tell us and let the public have input as how to handle it. Just making accusations without proof are not helpful at all because there is so much distrust. Start laying it all on the table and communicating better.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: REALLY REALLY

I think all of it is bad. Look at the whole situation ... you go to the hospital and sit in ER waiting room for hours (and thats usually with no one in the waiting room) .... you have a Dr who (deleted) runs the hospital ... you have a board who is either working with or (deleted) by said Dr. All of these boards and committees (and I mean even our other wonderful boards in town City Council, School Board, etc) should be handled like when you buy a house. Think about, you use an Escrow company becaue they are a neutral party and have no vested interest in the outcome. Meaning they look out for both sides, those selling and those buying, so no one gets screwed. Maybe people instead of hiring your neighbors or friends you think you can trust, perhaps an outside person without ties would be better. And oh yeah the former CEO was, I believe that, but he was not liked because he did not conform to the ways of ... the Dr. Just some food for thought.

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Hey joe blow

Before you put your B.S. on line you should know someone is going to call you on it. trinas little airline has had at least 3 incidents (deleted) yet I know of no incidents of rotors having to do with any of the patiens from Blythe.

Site Administrator's note: A portion of this comment has been removed because it violated our Terms of use Agreement.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Newspaper Reader

OMG!! I don't trust the doctors, nurses, elected officials, CEO's, the subcontractors (ambulance, helicoptor owners), NOR the newspaper reporting on this fiasco!! I hope I never see the inside of this hospital! How is that for Public Relations!!

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: Eureka! I've found it!

Site Administrator's note: Please keep comments succinct; 300 words or less is optimal. Comments that are excessively verbose, rambling or too long for reasonable review may not be posted.

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013
Article comment by: To joe blow

You might ask Desert Hospital if they have had any issues with transports from PVH to them. Or better yet ask PVH.


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