UI Health Care to base medical helicopter in Dubuque

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Leaders of Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque and University of Iowa Health Care jointly announced today that AirCare, the state’s first hospital-based helicopter ambulance service, will station AirCare 3 at Mercy in Dubuque beginning in early 2016.

“We are proud to make this important health care service available to the people of the Tri-State area,” said Russell Knight, President/CEO of Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque. “We know that patients with severe injuries or illnesses recover more often with fewer complications when they receive care sooner, and AirCare 3 will play a key role in helping us provide the care patients need more quickly.”

AirCare became the 11th helicopter ambulance service in the nation on April 1, 1979, with one aircraft based in Iowa City. AirCare 2 began service from Schoitz Hospital in Waterloo in 1988, and is now based at Covenant Hospital in Waterloo. Placing AirCare 2 in Black Hawk County extended the service’s flying range to 180 miles from Iowa City.

“It’s an honor to join with Mercy Medical Center-Dubuque to make our high quality health care available to more people in Iowa, and also in Wisconsin and Illinois. There is no doubt that more lives will be saved because of AirCare 3,” said Andrew Nugent, MD, chair of Emergency Medicine, UI Health Care.

Since 1979, more than 30,000 patients have flown with AirCare. University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics operates Iowa’s busiest helipad, with an average of 2,500 landings and takeoffs each year.

Newborn infants, just minutes after being born, make up AirCare’s smallest patients. AirCare has brought more than 3,000 infants to University of Iowa Children’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

AirCare is designated by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems (CAMTS) for quality and safety practices. It is the first and only Iowa-based air ambulance service to receive CAMTS accreditation. All flights are operated by Air Methods Corporation. Their Air Medical Services Division is the largest provider of air medical transport services in the United States.

More information about AirCare is available at uihealthcare.org/aircare.