By Todd Wels

Triplicate staff writer

BROOKINGS, Ore. Cal-Ore Life Flight Manager Dan Brattains celebration for being named Oregon Health Division Administrator of the Year had to wait a few hours Tuesday.

He spent the morning in the pilots chair flying the companys 240th patient this year to Rogue Valley Medical Center.

On Sept. 15, Brattain was presented with an award from the Oregon Health Division, which named him Emergency Medical Services Administrator of the Year.

Its an award for the company, Brattain said Tuesday afternoon, at a reception held at Cal-Ores Brookings headquarters. Its not just me that runs the company.

Although more than 75 percent of Cal-Ores traffic comes from Sutter Coast Hospital, the company does most of its business in Oregon with approximately 80 percent of traffic from the hospital headed to hospitals in Oregon.

The remainder of its air ambulance traffic comes from Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach.

Unlike California, which requires no standards for air ambulance services beyond those mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration, Oregon has rigid standards and mandatory inspections for all ambulances, air and ground.

For Brattain and Cal-Ore, the award represents a complete turnaround for the company.

In 1998, Cal-Ore Life Flight purchased Southern Curry Ambulance Service and its ground ambulance fleet. Southern Curry was mired in debt and scandal, with one of the owners currently in prison for embezzling funds from the company, according to Emergency Medical Technician Jim Watson, who worked at Southern Curry before Cal-Ore bought the company out.

To make matters worse, Southern Curry was also in violation of Oregon Health Division standards.

According to Brattain, the company has surpassed its goal of complying with the standards, while at the same time returning to profitability.

That return to profitability has been complicated by declining Medicare reimbursement and other factors.

Brattain credited his staff for finding ways to maintain service levels more efficiently and at less cost.

It really says a lot about the company, he said. Its really a tribute to the hard work of the staff.

Many Cal-Ore employees believe the award also says a lot about their leader.

Weve accomplished a lot of goals and they can be directly attributed to Dan, said Operations Manager Joe Gregorio. It was just a very well-deserved award.