New Air Ambulance in the Upstate

June 11, 2021
Program Highlights

LifeNet South Carolina and Prisma Health partner to offer additional air ambulance coverage in the state

Prisma Health Media Relations

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Partnership expands air transport availability for emergency and trauma situations

Greenville, S.C.–June 9, 2021 – LifeNet South Carolina, an air medical program of Air Methods, announced that it will partner with Prisma Health to offer additional coverage in South Carolina. The new partnership has established a base at the Pickens County Airport with a new aircraft and upgraded the aircraft in the Midlands. This new base in Pickens County will ensure that residents in the northwest region of South Carolina have access to superior air medical services, resulting in quicker response times for emergency and trauma situations.

As part of the system-wide partnership, LifeNet South Carolina will have an EC 135 aircraft in the Greenville area and an EC 130 aircraft in Orangeburg available to transport patients to Prisma Health hospitals. The aircraft crews include a pilot, flight nurse, flight paramedic, and mechanic and will provide air medical services 24/7/365 to the region and surrounding communities. The EC 135 aircraft have enhanced technology that allows the helicopter to fly in certain weather that would not have been possible in other aircraft. This aircraft also has specialized medical equipment to provide advanced lifesaving treatments before the patient may reach an intensive care unit.

“We are excited to be partnering with Prisma Health to serve the community and to provide increased access to care across the region,” said Jeff See, SVP, Customer Experience. “This partnership will ensure fast and efficient transport with some of the best clinicians and pilots in the industry. South Carolinians in rural areas of the region can now rest easier knowing they now have a quicker path to emergency medicine when they need it.”

Air Methods air medical services provides essential and lifesaving services throughout the country. During missions, highly trained medical teams care for patients with lifesaving interventions, such as providing trauma care after an accident to administering clot-busting medications to treat a stroke with a focus on improving outcomes. The clinical support and speed of missions is critical to saving lives.

“Prisma Health is always focused on providing care to our community when they need us,” said Dr. Bill Gerard, an Emergency Medicine physician, and Prisma Health EMS Medical Director in the Midlands. “This partnership helps us ensure that rural communities also have faster access to emergency healthcare when distance is a challenge. Our service area covers 21 counties in our state, and we have two Level One Trauma Centers, so we understand the importance of access to our health system. Establishing the base in Pickens County furthers our mission to provide critical care for anyone who needs it.”

Air Methods is committed providing affordable lifesaving care wherever needed and are in-network with Blue Cross Blue Shield South Carolina, Humana, and Global Excel Management (Travel Ins) plus many other leading health insurance companies.  All patients transported by Air Methods will have access to robust services to help with the post-flight billing process and avoid costly out-of-pocket expenses, regardless of insurance status.


About Air Methods

Air Methods ( is the leading air medical service, delivering lifesaving care to more than 70,000 people every year. With nearly 40 years of air medical experience, Air Methods is the preferred partner for hospitals and one of the largest community-based providers of air medical services. United Rotorcraft is the company’s products division specializing in the design and manufacture of aeromedical and aerospace technology. Air Methods’ fleet of owned, leased or maintained aircraft features more than 450 helicopters and fixed wing aircraft.

About Prisma Health

Prisma Health is a not-for-profit health company and the largest healthcare system in South Carolina. With nearly 30,000 team members, 18 acute care and specialty hospitals, 2,947 beds, approximately 300 outpatient sites, and nearly 5,000 employed and clinically integrated network physicians and providers, Prisma Health serves more than 1.2 million unique patients annually in its 21-county market area that covers 50% of South Carolina. Prisma Health’s goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care, as well as conducting clinical research and training the next generation of medical professionals. For more information, visit

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Dr. Pirralllo (pictured on the far right) representing Prisma Health Upstate. Vice Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine Academic Affairs

Ronald Pirrallo, MD

Dr. Ronald Pirrallo is an Emergency Medicine physician and serves as the Vice Chair for the Department of Emergency Medicine, Academic Affairs in the Prisma Health System.  He holds appointments as a Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of South Caroline School of Medicine Greenville and Clinical Professor in the Clemson University School of Health Research.Dr. Pirrallo trained at The Ohio State University Emergency Medicine residency program and completed a 2 year Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Fellowship at William Beaumont and University of Michigan Hospitals including a Master of Health Services Administration degree from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He has provided consultation to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization and is a Past President of the National Association of EMS Physicians. After more than 20 years at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Pirrallo was recruited to Greenville to lead the build of a new academic Department of Emergency Medicine.  Dr. Pirrallo brings this past academic experience and sound research practices to guide the leadership team, research collaborators and various learners that will advance the science and emergency care at Prisma Health.

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