CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Charleston Area Medical Center will buy a new HealthNet helicopter for $3.5 million, the hospital's board agreed Wednesday.
The new helicopter will replace a 13-year-old aircraft.
"Technologies have improved and aviation has had significant advancements and we're taking advantage of those advancements by acquiring a new EC-130," Larry Hudson, CAMC's chief financial officer, said.
The new technology will enable pilots to fly more missions in bad weather, Hudson said.
HealthNet is a joint operation of CAMC, WVU Healthcare and Cabell Huntington Hospital. CAMC is responsible for the upkeep of two helicopters, based in Beckley and Ripley, which serve the Charleston area. The helicopters are used for transferring patients from one hospital to another and to fly patients from where they're injured or ill to a hospital.
HealthNet choppers fly around 400 missions a year, Dave Ramsey, CAMC's chief executive officer, said.
CAMC, WVU Healthcare and Cabell Huntington Hospital will jointly make the decision about what to do with the old helicopter, Hudson said. It could be used as a backup or resold for about $1 million, he said.
CAMC is also refinancing the debt on its other helicopter, Hudson said. The hospital board wants to take advantage of low interest rates, he said.
In other business, CAMC has broken ground on its new cancer center in Kanawha City, officials said. Two Internet cameras in the area are capturing pictures of the work being done on the former Watt Powell Park property. Progress on the $50 million center can be monitored online at CAMC.org/watchourprogress.
The hospital board also approved a resolution to ask the state Health Care Authority for a certificate of need to offer chemotherapy services at CAMC's Teays Valley campus.
Reach Lori Kersey at lori.ker...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1240.