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St. Joseph’s Health unveils new helipad for patient arrivals by helicopter

By Eric Reinhardt

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A Mercy Flight Central helicopter sits on the newly unveiled St. Joseph’s Health helipad, called Care Flight. Crews built the helipad on top of the 98-foot tall hospital building along North State Street in Syracuse. St. Joseph’s Health CEO Leslie Luke told reporters that helipad provides a “better way” to get patients requiring cardiovascular and stroke care to the hospital “faster.” (Eric Reinhardt / BJNN)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — St. Joseph’s Health has unveiled Care Flight, a medical helipad located on top of its 98-foot tall building on North State Street in Syracuse.

The helipad provides “faster and easier access” to St. Joseph’s cardiovascular emergency care and certified primary stroke center, the organization says.

 “Our system has been expanding and we’ve been having more and more patients from outlying areas needing access to care. We needed a better way to get particularly critical patients here faster. The way to do that was through helipad,” Leslie Luke, president and CEO of St. Joseph’s Health, told reporters at the hospital on Thursday afternoon.

Those patients would be “facing life-threatening cardiac and stroke emergencies,” the hospital says.

The helipad project cost about $1.7 million. St. Joseph Health applied to Trinity Health for the funding.

St. Joseph’s Health is a member of Livonia, Michigan–based Trinity Health, “one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health-care delivery systems in the nation,” according to the Trinity Health website.

The process started about a year ago when St. Joseph’s committed to pursuing the project and the funding to pay for it.

Tim Bivens of Salina–based Bivens + Associates Architects designed the project, and Plattsburgh–based Murnane Building Contractors, which has an office in DeWitt, built the helipad, said Luke.

The helipad is designed and constructed to deal with Syracuse’s winter-weather conditions. The structure has pipes beneath its surface in which a special fluid can warm it up to prevent the buildup of ice and snow so emergency helicopters can land when needed, according to Luke.

St. Joseph’s worked with organizations that include LifeNet of New York, which provides air medical transport service throughout New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, according to its website; Mercy Flight Central, which has operations in Canandaigua, Marcellus, and Rome, according to its website. Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office; and the New York State Police throughout the project.

The assisting organizations were “instrumental” in supporting the project’s development, safety and training, St. Joseph’s Health.

Care Flight is the “latest addition” to the St. Joseph’s Health Cardiovascular Institute, the organization said.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com