Med Flight opens third regional air base in Janesville

This week, after nearly a decade of planning, UW Health announced the opening of a new Med Flight base in Janesville. A helicopter and critical care ambulance will be in a specially designed, dedicated hangar at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport. The new hangar will bring 24/7 emergency medical services to southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois.

The base was opened to expand emergency services in the regions outside Dane County, specifically to improve care for adult, pediatric and infant critically ill and injured patients during air and ground transport from areas south and east of Madison, according to Dr. Andrew Cathers, medical director, UW Health Med Flight, and assistant professor of emergency medicine.

“By placing Med Flight teams in this part of the state, we can decrease the time it takes to get to people in need,” he said.

The Janesville location is located much closer to UW Health SwedishAmerican Hospital in Rockford, Ill., which allows faster response times to patients in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. This base will also extend the specialized capabilities of UW Health Med Flight to this area.

The new base is the third regional base in the Med Flight landscape. The other Med Flight bases are in Mineral Point to serve the west and southwestern parts of the state and Portage, which serves the north, northeast and north central regions of Wisconsin. Janesville is the first of the regional bases to house a pediatric and neonatal specialty teams capable of responding by ambulance or helicopter.

“This is actually the first [pediatric neonatal care team] in the state of Wisconsin that’s ever been based outside of a hospital, an absolute game changer for the care of neonatal and pediatric patients,” said Cathers. “It’s really going to let us serve this southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, Rockford region much, much better.”

Med Flight will maintain its base at University Hospital in Madison, where a second pediatric and neonatal care team and ambulance will remain.

“The decision to move to a regional base format has been centered on where most transport request calls are coming from, but the regional sites chosen still allow immediate response within Dane County, Cathers said.

From the Med Flight regional bases, UW Health emergency medical teams can rapidly transport ill and injured patients from any hospital or emergency scene to any other hospital, not just UW Health, he said.

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