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Answering Need: “Next Gen” Rural Healthcare in Maine 2020-2030

Thomas Judge
LifeFlight of Maine / The LifeFlight Foundation, Port Clyde, United States



With particular interest in patient safety, risk, governance, and effects of health care policy for access and equity in rural medical care, Thomas has worked extensively in the design and implementation of emergency care systems national and internationally. He has served as a subject matter expert in countless reviews including five terms on the National EMS Advisory Council.

A 1996 Atlantic Fellow in Public Policy Thomas was posted at the MCRU/ University of Sheffield, the Scottish National Ambulance Service, the King’ Fund, and was a founding member of the Faculty of Pre-Hospital Care of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh.


Maine, the northeast corner of the United States, has the most elderly and rurally dispersed population as well as one of the poorest populace of any state in the USA. A single air medical provider provides an air bridge across the geography of time for all of the hospitals, healthcare systems and communities in the state.


With humble beginnings in 1998, LifeFlight of Maine, a non-profit charity model, has built a state of the art air medical system to serve the undifferentiated needs of all ages and critical injury or disease. Bridging competing healthcare systems and a rural population being left behind in medical care, using Maxwell principles, LifeFlight is the equalizer for every “main street’ in the state. Facing rapid change in rural healthcare, and among the most challenging of aviation environments, LifeFlight of Maine, is developing a futures initiative to answer demographic, economic, and infrastructure needs for the time and geographically dispersed critically ill and injured population.


Using instrument flight rules as a metaphor and simple rules science as a framework, this presentation identifies lessons learned, barriers, and opportunities in building ‘next gen’ clinical and aviation safety, capability, reliability, and culture into the system.



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