Lutheran Health Network is adding a second medical helicopter and creating at least 10 new jobs, officials announced Tuesday.
Lutheran Air II, which will be based at Wabash Municipal Airport, will increase the Fort Wayne-based health care providers ability to quickly transport critically ill patients to advanced medical care.
Wabash city and county officials will join Lutheran leaders to break ground for a hangar at 1:30 p.m. today at the airport.
Robert Vanlandingham, Wabashs mayor, applauds Lutherans investment.
Our local fire and medical personnel at Wabash County Hospital provide excellent on the ground service for our community. The presence of the helicopter will allow us quicker access to more specialized medical facilities when needed, he said in a statement.
Fort Wayne-based Hagerman Construction will build the 5,000-square-foot hangar using as many Wabash-area contractors as possible, Lutheran officials said.
Hagerman, which will own the hangar and lease it to Lutheran, declined to say how much it will cost to build. Lutheran officials declined to disclose terms of the lease.
The project is expected to be completed in October.
Wabash was chosen as the home for a second helicopter to provide residents of areas south and west of Fort Wayne to have quicker access to emergency transportation. Lutherans helicopter lifts off six minutes, on average, after the crew receives a call for help, officials said.
We are dedicated to supporting first responders and caregivers throughout northeastern Indiana by providing them with the tools necessary to get their patients the highest level of care available as quickly and safely as possible, Lutheran Healths interim CEO Brian Bauer said in a statement.
Lutheran Air has been transporting traffic accident and burn patients for more than nine years. The helicopter, outfitted with emergency medical equipment and two units of O negative blood for each flight, is also used to take critically ill cardiac patients to hospitals that offer advanced care.
Patients and their families may choose Lutheran-owned hospitals or facilities operated by other health care providers as their destination.
Lutheran contracts with Air Methods to provide medical helicopter service. Lutheran Air II will be an EC135 aircraft.
Parkview Health owns and operates two Parkview Samaritan medical helicopters.
One of Parkviews medical helicopters is based in Fort Wayne. The other flies out of Fulton County Airport in Rochester, 60 miles west of Fort Wayne. Wabash is about 45 miles southwest of Fort Wayne.
Last year, Parkviews Samaritan helicopters transported 997 patients during 972 flights. The aircraft are capable of carrying two patients at a time. Lutheran officials declined to say how many patients their medical helicopter transported in 2012.