How It Works

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How It Works

LifeFlight of Maine is a unique provider of statewide emergency critical care medical transport and supports every hospital, EMS, and public safety agency in the state. One thread in the tapestry of Maine’s emergency care system, LifeFlight specializes in patients needing resuscitation, continuity of tertiary hospital care, and transport.  LifeFlight services are provided regardless of a patient’s insurance status or ability to pay for care. 

911 medical communication specialists, EMTs, and paramedics from Maine’s 207 responding public safety agencies, physicians, nurses, and other personnel in the EDs and SCUs, and ICUs of Maine’s 36 hospitals are the frontlines of emergency care.

When additional care is needed either by EMS at the scene of an emergency (13%) or when continuing resuscitation and care is needed by a physician in a hospital ED or ICU (87%), LifeFlight is requested.

LifeFlight supports the onsite team and then provides continuing complex care during transport to the most appropriate specialty center. The LifeFlight teams work with advanced physician-level protocols in a mobile ICU.

LifeFlight cares for patients of all ages from premature infants to our elders, and for all disease conditions from trauma to high-risk obstetric and antenatal care, to the most complex medical care for patients on full cardiopulmonary life support—extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) with specialized teams and mobile ICUs in helicopters, fixed-wing airplanes, and specialized ground ambulances. 

A Clinical Practice Committee provides oversight and is comprised of emergency and specialist physicians from across the state. The LifeFlight teams use physician-level scope of practice protocols to provide tertiary hospital expertise in supporting initial resuscitation and continuity of hospital care during transport.  

Transport destination is determined by referring physicians working with LifeFlight medical directors and receiving physician specialists at tertiary centers in Maine, Boston, across New England, and with fixed transport to specialized care in a ring from Ohio to the mid-Atlantic states incorporating very specialized services such as the Cleveland Clinic. Cross-border transport in Canada for patients repatriating to care in the U.S. is provided from Halifax to Toronto.  

LifeFlight is lean and cost-efficient with among the lowest charges and operating costs per care and transport in the country.