by Jimmy Tobias
St. Patrick Hospital announced today that it will eliminate its Life Flight program and replace it with an air ambulance service provided by the Spokane-based nonprofit Northwest MedStar. Northwest MedStar will begin operations on April 2, 2014.
The announcement comes as part of St. Patrick Hospital's $5 million restructuring plan, which includes early retirements and layoffs at the hospital and other related facilities.
In a press release, the hospital said that its Life Flight program has 16 full-time employees who will be required to apply to new positions at Northwest MedStar.
"We worked really closely with St. Pat's to make sure the process that we have in place is maintaining 100 percent of the staff," says Nicole Stewart, a spokeswoman for Northwest MedStar. "So there is no reason to believe that anyone will be losing their job."