A life-saving program at the University of Cincinnati is being recognized for its excellence in transporting patients who need medical care the most.

The Association of Air Medical Services awarded the UC Health Air Care and Mobile Care the title of Program of the Year.

The award recognizes a program that gives superior patient care while excelling in areas of management, leadership, customer service, safety standards and commitment to the community. While the program previously held high rankings with AAMS, this is the first time it has received the Program of the Year award.

“We’ve seen a lot of growth in recent years,” said Teri Grau, ACMC director. “Our strategy is to provide services and expertise in the whole UC health system and get it out into the community in a widespread plan.”

ACMC was one of the first transport programs in the country to be accredited in four levels: rotor wing, ground critical care, ground advanced life support and ground basic life support.  The program generally serves Greater Cincinnati, but it is not uncommon for UC Air Care to transport patients from Columbus or the Cleveland Clinic, Grau said.

The program recently expanded by adding a third helicopter, and is looking to move its air care base farther south to reach serve a wider community.

“The key in [growth] has been to stay focused on our grounding principles and core values. Those being what’s best for the patient and how to best accomplish it,” Grau said.

Grau stresses the program’s growth is important, but it cannot compromise patient care.  Other programs have recognized the value of ACMC’s clinical team and guiding principles and have allowed it to become a leading program in the industry. AAMS highlighted ACMC’s active involvement in the community, including providing special coverage at UC sporting events, mock accident drills and trainings.

“I think the changes we’ve made and the deep community integration are what took us to the next level. [The award] was able to recognize that,” Grau said.

ACMC is involved with research and education at UC and other programs as a way to share its expertise with others to improve overall patient care.

Moving forward, ACMC will continue to set high standards in safety, clinical excellence and industry and community involvement in order to find more effective ways to serve patients and the community, Grau said.

“The program is deeply woven with UC, UCMC and the community,” Grau said. Because of that, we are able to provide care we were unable to six months ago.”