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Staying on Course

From its origins over 20 years ago, MFC maintains mission while expanding capacity and skills

By Clare Walters (Community Health Magazine, 2014)

For more than two decades, Mercy Flight Central has held steadfast to its mission, simply stated—to provide the best patient care possible.

While its core purpose has remained unwavering, the nonprofit air medical transport agency has evolved over the last two decades by both growing to meet the needs of the communities it serves, and maintaining the most current critical care protocols to improve patient outcomes.

“We’re working to be the best that we can,” says Erin Reese, MFC’s Program Director. “Our goal is to continue to provide critical care transport in our operating region, and continue to evolve with the industry by keeping up with current practices. We try to remain cutting-edge.”


The aim to be “the best of the best” was set forth by MFC’s founder, Paul Hyland, a volunteer fire department chief who identified the need for an air-medical transport provider between Rochester and Syracuse. He incorporated the organization in 1992, and its first helicopter was purchased and staffed with a pilot and flight paramedic. 

By 1999, MFC opened its second base, and a year later it added registered nurses to its flight crew to improve patient care. 

“The addition of nursing staff created more of a critical care transport,” Reese says. “We offer the expertise of experienced registered nurses and paramedics.” 

Further adapting to the needs of the public, MFC added its fixed-wing program in 2005 after leasing an airplane. The program provides the same high-end critical care for patients who need to travel farther distances. 

The airplanes are used for transports to Boston, New York City and Philadelphia, and also for residents in the Finger Lakes region who become ill or injured while out of state, and want to continue their care near home, Reese says. 

“Our service area has grown quite a bit from what it started out with,” she says.

Excerpt: Community Health Magazine 2014

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