Commonwealth Health Grounding Helicopter Services

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SCRANTON, Pa. -- A hospital chain in our area says it's making a change in the way critically ill or injured patients get to the emergency room.

Commonwealth Health says that it's getting out of the helicopter business.

Commonwealth Health showed off its emergency helicopter named Commonwealth One at Nay Aug Park in Scranton less than five years ago.

The health care company has grounded the emergency air service, saying it was underutilized. Commonwealth Health officials say other helicopter services can handle what's needed in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Commonwealth Health will continue emergency services on the ground with its critical care ambulances.

We asked if grounding Commonwealth One will affect plans to build a helipad on top of Regional Hospital as part of a planned $80 million expansion for both of the company's hospitals in Scranton. The project was supposed to be finished in 2020. Commonwealth Health officials told us they are continuing to improve the two hospitals, but they couldn't give us any specific updates on the progress.

Commonwealth One was operated by a contracted helicopter company. The EMTs and paramedics who worked on it will still work in ambulances.

Commonwealth One was based in Factoryville. It covered an 11-county area.

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