Wren Nealy, Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services CEO, provided updates on CCEMS’ recently formed venture with American Jet International to assist with medical transport flights at the July 28 board meeting.

The partnership is coming as CCEMS’ contract with Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 enters its final months. That contract, which entails providing emergency medical services for approximately 177 square miles in Harris County, will expire Sept. 1.

According to the agreement, AJI—an on-demand aircraft charter company that, among other operations, provides medical flights and organ transports—will provide aerial transport needs, with CCEMS providing the medical flight crew and equipment necessary to assist AJI with their medical transports.

Nealy noted that CCEMS could only assist on international flights because Texas requires a fixed-wing air medical license through the Texas Department of State Health Services, but he said he hoped the license would be approved within the next week.

Nealy noted that the use of intra-aortic balloon pumps, ventricular assistance devices and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machines would all be employed during critical care transports.

“Those are all the critical care specialty type of transports where the patient is on a life-sustaining device and they have to be transported to a higher level of care for cardiac surgery,” Nealy said, noting roughly 60 members of his staff have completed or are in the process of completing their critical care training. “It’s taking our care to the next level.”

Enrique Lima, CCEMS board of director’s president, touted the expanded offerings.

“It’s able to really grow on what we’ve always been, and it’ll help us be better,” Lima said.

AJI has several jets available for medical transports out of Hobby Airport in Houston and Love Field Airport in Dallas, but Nealy said it takes roughly two hours to convert the jets to be ready for patient transports.

Nealy noted AJI is in the process in preparing a jet that will be used solely for medical transports.

“They’re going to remodel [the jet] and dedicate it to medical operations, because then they save that two-hour conversion on the front end and the back end,” Nealy said. “That shows you how [AJI is] committed to this partnership by dedicating an aircraft for this operation.”

Nealy said the next stage of the process will entail training CCEMS’ dispatchers to integrate with AJI’s flight operation center so that they can process calls and track aircrafts.