SHS and Classic Air Medical Open Medical Air Transport Base in Cortez, CO

Southwest Health System, Inc. (SHS) a critical access hospital in Cortez, CO and Classic Air Medical have partnered to provide a helicopter medical transport base at Southwest Memorial Hospital. Air medical services are a resource that bridges geographic barriers to bring patients to specialty critical care with minimal delay. “We’re pleased to be partnering with Classic Air Medical. Having a flight team based on our campus can provide access to care in minutes, which can mean the ultimate difference for someone in need of immediate medical care in our rural community.” – SHS CEO Tony Sudduth.


Classic Air Medical will begin providing this critical care service in Cortez on December 1, 2020. The base will be staffed by a team of three; a highly-experienced pilot, a critical care flight medic and a critical care flight nurse. This team will work seamlessly with SHS’s ambulance team as well as the emergency room staff enhancing critical care when needed. A 24/7/365 locally-based flight team and aircraft brings critical care intervention to patients in our rural area. Wade Patten, Chief Administrative Officer at Classic said, “We are excited for the opportunity to serve the four corners area and be a part of the SHS family. When the golden hour to reach a trauma or cardiac center is critical, we will be there to assist and transport quickly.”


Classic Air Medical is committed to all people in the communities they service throughout the Rocky Mountains and Desert Southwest. They work with patient’s insurance companies to maximize insurance payments and minimize patients’ out-of-pocket bills. When Classic Air Medical transports a patient, the typical cost to the patient is nearly zero.

“SHS and Classic Air have been in discussions for many months to ensure that this partnership meets the needs of our community. Other surrounding facilities already partnered with Classic Air, such as Pagosa Springs Medical Center, have given extremely positive reviews of their services. The Emergency Department and EMS teams are very much looking forward to this new partnership and the opportunities for growth of our patient care at SHS”. – SHS Emergency Department and EMS Medical Director – Kenton Asche, DO


With their newest helicopter being stationed at SHS, and with Classic Air Medical airplanes located in both Pagosa Springs, CO and Craig, CO, as well as additional medical helicopters in Moab UT, Glenwood Springs CO, Los Alamos, NM and Page, AZ, Classic ensures a highly-trained medical crew will be available to the entire region. Classic will continue their current services for patient transport via airplane when weather conditions such as low cloud ceilings or high winds prohibit safe travel by helicopter.


This new service nearly completes blanket emergency air transport coverage from New Mexico and Arizona across Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Idaho.

To celebrate this announcement, Classic Air Medical and SHS will be hosting a ribbon cutting December 1st  – event details will be announced in November. Community members will be invited to an open house with tours of Classics’ newest helicopter and access to their highly-trained staff for questions.

About Classic Air Medical
Classic Air Medical has been in service as a medical air ambulance for 31 years, with headquarters in Woods Cross, Utah. Originally a tour company in the 1980’s, Classic Air Medical was established in 1988 in response to the need for air medical evacuation services in the Lake Powell area. Today, Classic Air Medical holds true to its roots of high standards and traditions in excellence and brings a community and family-focused company. For more information about Classic Air Medical, visit


About Southwest Health System

Southwest Health System operates Southwest Memorial Hospital, a critical access hospital, and Southwest Medical Group comprised of 6 clinics providing primary and specialty care services. SHS provides over 50 service lines to the community. SHS is a private, not-for-profit corporation operating under all guidelines and regulations for non-profits and is also governed by a volunteer board. For more information, visit