Life-Saving Technology Will Help COVID-19 Cardiac Threat Thanks to Charitable Grant

A $4.7 million dollar grant will help to save the lives of COVID-19 patients - and protect the frontline health care workers caring for them.

CHI Health Good Samaritan received six LUCAS(r) mechanical chest compression devices from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust grant. The devices, which deliver consistent, reliable and uninterrupted chest compressions, replaced older models found in the hospital's AirCare medical helicopter and ambulances. Devices were also deployed to additional areas of Good Samaritan and Richard Young Behavioral Health.

In total, 31 devices were provided to CHI Health hospitals across Nebraska including CHI Health St. Francis in Grand Island.

"Research has shown that cardiac damage occurs in as many as 1 in 5 COVID-19 patients. This leads to heart failure and death, even among those who show no signs of respiratory distress," said Luke Ballmer, AirCare flight manager.

Mechanical CPR has been adopted by emergency medical responders and many hospitals around the globe. Multiple studies show equivalence to high-performance CPR, as well as increased provider safety and higher rates of adequate compressions for patients in transport situations.

"It's vital, particularly when working with contagious patients, to prevent exposing both patients and health care workers to greater risk. It's not only a life-saver for the patients but for the first responder, doctors, nurses and others," Ballmer said.

"This grant is one of the many examples of bringing support to the community that Good Samaritan has lovingly served since 1924. This generous funding shows how technology and human compassion come together to save lives,"said Michael Schnieders, president, Good Samaritan.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust is partnered with medical facilities to ensure the devices were in place before the peak of COVID-19 hits. The devices will remain in place after the pandemic as part of the hospitals' cardiac system of care.


About the LUCAS(r) Cardiac Care Project

Since 2015, the Helmsley Charitable Trust has given nearly $33 million in grants to help hospitals and first responders in seven upper-midwestern states purchase over 2,400 LUCAS devices, which improve survivability in sudden cardiac arrest victims. The LUCAS(r) Chest Compression System (LUCAS(r)) delivers consistent, reliable and uninterrupted chest compressions which allows healthcare providers to concentrate on other equally important aspects of patient care; providing patients with the best opportunity of survival. The LUCAS(r) device virtually frees up one healthcare worker to perform other essential tasks.

About the Helmsley Charitable Trust

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives. Since beginning active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $2.6 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes. Helmsley's Rural Healthcare Program funds innovative projects that use information technologies to connect rural patients to emergency medical care, bring the latest medical therapies to patients in remote areas, and provide state-of-the-art training for rural hospitals and EMS personnel. To date, this program has awarded more than $452 million to organizations and initiatives in the upper Midwest states of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, Minnesota, Iowa, and Montana. For more information, visit

About CHI Health

CHI Health is a regional health network with a unified mission: nurturing the healing ministry of the Church while creating healthier communities. Headquartered in Omaha, the combined organization consists of 14 hospitals, two stand-alone behavioral health facilities, more than 150 employed physician practice locations and more than 10,000 employees in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa. In fiscal 2019, CHI Health invested more than $185 million back into our communities. The majority of those dollars went to caring for the poor and underserved. CHI Health is part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 through the alignment of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. CommonSpirit Health is committed to creating healthy communities, delivering exceptional patient care, and ensuring every person has access to quality health care. With its national office in Chicago and a team of approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit Health operates 142 hospitals and more than 700 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2018, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health had combined revenues of $29.2 billion.

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