Medstar serves Baldwin County with compassion and excellence

By Jessica Vaughn / jessica@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 1/18/18

Foley Ambulance was founded in Baldwin County during the mid-70s. In 2016, the company was bought by Lifeguard and now operates within the county as Medstar Ambulance as well as Medstar Air Care 1 …

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Medstar serves Baldwin County with compassion and excellence

Posted

Foley Ambulance was founded in Baldwin County during the mid-70s. In 2016, the company was bought by Lifeguard and now operates within the county as Medstar Ambulance as well as Medstar Air Care 1 with an emergency service helicopter the company acquired in 2016.

“We are the only ambulance company in Baldwin County I know of,” said Brandon Thompson, who oversees membership sales and public relations. “We’ve got stations based all over the county, there’s always something within a 15-minute response time or less of any call in Baldwin County.”

The current fleet consists of 23 ambulances, three emergency response SUVs, and one helicopter. There are normally 15 or 16 emergency vehicles in use during the week, and two Lifeguard ambulances from the sister location in Mobile help by taking care of non-emergency calls. The helicopter is a Bell 407GX, and all the pilots are military. According to Thompson, the flight team can get from Stapleton, from turning the rotors to cranking the aircraft to being down on the scene, within almost ten minutes ETA countywide.

There are approximately 130 staff members, including EMTs, paramedics, fleet maintenance, and communications. In 2017 alone, MedStar handled over 26,000 emergency calls.

Beginning in the 90s, the company has offered a membership program, which is now offered through the company AirMedCare Network, and represented by Thompson in Baldwin County.

“You pay a rate where if you’re transported for an emergency transfer, from your home or from anywhere else in Baldwin County, just if you need emergency services and utilize Medstar ambulance, you will not receive a bill from Medstar,” said Thompson.

Originally the cost for membership was $65 a year, but since obtaining a helicopter in 2016, the company decided to extend that coverage for membership to include air and ground. The cost is $115, and it covers the entire household.

Mike Sandell, operations manager, states that along with answering emergency calls, the teams offer a lot of public assist, driving out to the homes of elderly who have fallen out of bed or who fall at home and are unable to stand. They participate in many community events, teach health care education, and help volunteer firemen and paramedics to maintain their health training certificates that they must have. Medstar participated in breast cancer awareness month by selling t-shirts and donating all proceeds to Pink Hills out of Orange Beach.

“Our paramedics and our ground crews have the highest level of care,” said Thompson. “They’re very patient, they’re very kind and compassionate in what they do … These men and women do this job because they believe in what they are doing, and we couldn’t live without them.”