Clinical Excellence

REACH Air Medical Services has demonstrated a superior commitment to patient care since our inception.  A guiding principle from our founder, Dr. John L.  McDonald, Jr., drives all of our team members today: “Prepare to be the best.”

REACH’s clinical staff consists of critical care transport nurses and transport paramedics. These expert clinicians join our company with extensive experience within their chosen field. To join the REACH team, our nurses and paramedics must hold certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Neonatal Resuscitation Program (NRP), Basic Life Support (BLS), and an approved Trauma Certification course. Additionally, all our clinicians must obtain National Advanced Critical Care certification within one year of hire.

When hired, each clinician must complete a rigorous education and training process at the REACH Academy which includes a two or four-week program of didactic, psychomotor skill, and intense scenario-based patient care simulations. Under the guidance of an experienced REACH preceptor, these new hires must also complete a comprehensive program covering all aspects of transport medicine. Throughout the orientation process there is ongoing performance evaluations and feedback provided through our Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program.

Once our clinicals move to the flight line, development of their skills continues with extensive annual requirements for clinical education and specialty training: Since the early 1980’s, REACH has lead the way in the care and treatment of high-risk newborn babies being transported in the airborne environment. Our dedicated Neonatal Transport Specialty teams are passionate about advancing care to this specialized population. They undergo additional training that affords them the knowledge and skills necessary to care for these tiny patients.

REACH nurses function under an advanced scope of practice, meaning they can perform some interventions typically reserved for physicians. REACH clinical protocols are developed and maintained by our group of Medical Directors and the Clinical Education Team to ensure that our clinicians provide evidence-based, patient centered, high quality care.

REACH has established several areas of clinical specialty services. In addition to critically ill and injured adult patients, REACH’s teams are prepared to care for and transport high-risk obstetric, neonatal and pediatric patients.


REACH is a model of excellence in the assessment, intervention and safe transport of critically ill or injured children. REACH is recognized as the preferred provider for several major northern California pediatric intensive care units (PICUs).

A seminal event occurred in 1993 when Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland (now UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland) selected REACH to be its primary provider of air ambulance services for critically ill or injured children. UBCHO supports the highest volume PICU in northern California and, in addition, is a Level I pediatric trauma center. The creation of this relationship catalyzed REACH’s heavy emphasis on pediatric critical care, education and training.

Neonatal Care

The REACH team recognizes that special care and treatment is needed when caring for and transporting high-risk newborn infants. Through extensive education and instruction, supported by UBCHO, REACH has developed its own Specialty Neonatal Transport Team. This dedicated group of practitioners undergoes a vigorous and demanding training schedule affording them the skill, knowledge and resources to successfully transport this very unique population.

We have the ability to facilitate care with Nitric Oxide, high frequency ventilation, conventional ventilation, CPAP, cooling, invasive line placement and monitoring as well as a myriad of other treatments for the neonate who is extremely low birth weight to the neonate who is large for gestational age.

To supplement the REACH Neonatal Team, we have developed a successful transport program utilizing a “hybrid” medical team. In partnership with neonatal intensive care units in northern California, our crew chief nurse acts as the transport expert and support personnel for the hospital-based nurse, nurse practitioner or MD. In other circumstances when hospitals prefer to transport with their own teams, we will send one of our crew members as a Safety Officer to optimize smooth processes for the flight duration of the transport. Through innovation, flexibility and teamwork, REACH has successfully incorporated our vision of doing what is right for the patient by developing multiple models of transport for our smallest of patients.

High Risk Obstetrics

REACH’s clinical team understands the conditions that can affect the health of a mother during pregnancy. We take every precaution available while utilizing the latest technology to provide continuous maternal and fetal monitoring prior to and during transport to ensure a healthy delivery for both the mother and infant.


REACH’s clinical team recognizes the precariousness of transporting a patient with severe cardiovascular issues. This is why we take every precaution possible while also utilizing important and life-saving technology to provide the best care in flight. We do this in a variety of ways depending upon the patient’s needs. Those who require it can receive care using an intra-aortic balloon pump device. The IABP is the most widely used device for mechanical circulatory support. At REACH, the REACH owned and team managed IABP is available in select aircraft, but we are moving toward growing this essential service line.

CAMTS Accredited

In 1998, REACH was awarded accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) and has held accreditation continuously since then. This achievement involves a voluntary evaluation of compliance with accreditation standards by an independent entity. REACH is proud to maintain full accreditation for the care and transport of critical adult, pediatric, obstetric and neonatal patients.

The CAMTS board has consistently and specifically sited areas of “excellence” or “acknowledgment” within REACH’s administrative, clinical, aviation, maintenance, quality and safety, EMS community outreach and human resource programs.