New River Medical Center helipad restricted to daylight hours

New River Medical Center’s emergency helipad remains restricted to daylight-hours only operation pending completion of a 30-day corrective action plan.
The restrictions were imposed after a recent routine visit by a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) aviation and aeronautics heliports inspector.
Joni Pawelk, New River Medical Center’s director of marketing, confirmed the hospital began restricting its helicopter transports to daylight hours Feb. 26.
“They [MnDOT] had concerns over some obstruction lighting related to new guidelines that become effective in April 2012,” Pawelk stated in a recent email.
New River will submit some form of 30-day action plan to bring the helipad into compliance, Pawelk said. “We are currently relying on ground transportation.”
The hospital’s maintenance department is in the process of reviewing the MnDOT inspector’s report and is working with CentraCare to resolve the lighting issue.
New River Medical Center received mailed and emailed copies of Inspector Eric Peltier’s report on March 1. Daniel McDowell, a public affairs and emergency services coordinator with MnDOT, confirmed the state agency had sent its report to New River.
“We can’t say anything until the hospital reviews it,” McDowell said, adding the report falls under a general MnDOT aviation and aeronautics inspection category.”They will have to make adjustments accordingly,” he said.
Pawelk said last week that New River is still in the process of actively reviewing the MnDOT report and will be meeting again with Peltier to review his recommendations.

Contact Managing Editor Tim Hennagir at tim.hennagir@ecm-inc.com

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