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UPDATE: AirCare nurses and paramedics hired by UIHC after MercyOne split

UPDATE (10/10/19) —  Nearly a month after the agreement between the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and MercyOne came to an end, UIHC has announced the Waterloo and Dubuque AirCare helicopters will be based at airports in the two cities.

In a release, UIHC said the hospital established new bases at the Waterloo Regional Airport and the Dubuque Regional Airport. It is from there that the medical helicopters and the crews operate.

“We continued to meet the health care needs of patients from Waterloo and Dubuque and surrounding areas by sending our flight nurses and medics from Iowa City to those communities. We also received strong support from our partner, Air Methods, which owns and operates the aircraft,” said Dr. Azeemuddin Ahmed, executive vice chair, UI Department of Emergency Medicine. “Everyone’s dedication to the patients was unsurpassed, and they came through in every way possible.”

During the joint operations between UIHC and MercyOne, 11 flight nurses and 10 paramedics were employed by the MercyOne facilities in Waterloo and Dubuque. Those 21 medical professionals have since been hired on as UIHC employees.

UIHC said although the helicopters are based at the airports, patients are still picked up from either hospitals or the scene of an emergency. The only reason patients would be flown from the airports is in inclement weather or other situations that would prevent the landing at a hospital.

(KWWL)– AirCare, the medical transport service ran by University of Iowa Health Care, will no longer be based at MercyOne facilities in Waterloo and Dubuque.

A joint release from MercyOne and UIHC said the two have not been able to come to a mutually beneficial agreement and the partnership between the two will end Saturday, September 15.

Neither side would elaborate on the exact reason for the split and said it was a complex issue.

It’s still uncertain where the helicopters would be going as UIHC said they are still making plans.

For Waterloo, one option would put them at the airport where the helicopter stays during inclement weather. This could possibly change the response times to MercyOne Waterloo.

It also isn’t entirely clear what will happen to the crews of the two medical helicopters also. While AirCare is operated by UIHC, the medical personal are partially handled by MercyOne.

UIHC has committed to staying in both communities and they are focused to meeting the care needs of the region, adding there would be no impact to patient care as a result of the move. MercyOne said it will continue to deliver excellent care in its emergency departments.

AirCare II, which is the Waterloo helicopter, has been in Waterloo since 1988. It has spent a bulk of its time at what is now MercyOne Waterloo.

Collin Dorsey

Weekend Anchor

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