July 7th, 2006

The two newest buildings on Great River Health System’s West Burlington campus will be featured in a public open house from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 15.

The 7,500-square-foot emergency transportation building next to the Emergency Department includes a hangar for the Med-Force helicopter, a heated garage for four Superior Ambulance Service rigs and crew quarters for both services. The building was completed in April.

In March 2005, Great River Medical Center began offering hospital-based air-ambulance service through Med-Force, a company based in Colona, Ill. During the first year, the helicopter remained on a concrete helipad or was flown to a private hangar for protection during inclement weather.

Pilots, registered nurses and paramedics respond to an average of 35 critical-care transports each month. Most are transfers to other hospitals, but the helicopter also lands at accident sites.

The most frequent destinations from Great River Medical Center are Davenport, Iowa City and Peoria, Ill., which is a 25- to 30-minute flight to each location. Patients also may be transported to farther destinations such as the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Great River Medical Center and Henry County Health Center purchased Burlington’s Superior Ambulance in October 2000 to continue a service that began decades before.

Superior Ambulance was the sole provider of ambulance services in Burlington and Des Moines County until 1970. In the early 1970s, the Burlington Fire Department assumed operation of the emergency (911) ambulance service, and Superior provided transportation of non-critical patients between hospitals and to nursing homes.

Today’s Superior Ambulance Service transfers about 90 patients each month. Its three ambulances, all based at Great River Medical Center, are less than five years old and include critical-care equipment. At least one highly trained paramedic and an emergency medical technician make each trip.

Kid Zone Child Care Center will open Monday, July 31. The center has capacity for 90 children of Great River Health Systems employees. It will provide age-specific care for children from 14 days to 11 years old from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays.

Kid Zone was built in response to employees’ requests for an on-site childcare center.