Helicopter at Clarinda hospital.

A hospital in southwest Iowa will soon be adding air ambulance service.

Jason Bridie, spokesman for Clarinda Regional Health Center, says emergencies in the region requiring air care are currently handled by crews flying in from Des Moines, St. Joseph, Missouri, or Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska.

“We certainly felt like there was a need…to make service even better,” Bridie said. “Offering this service here in this neck of the woods really helps to decrease response times which ultimately benefits patients and their outcomes.”

Mercy Medical Center of Des Moines will staff the air ambulance’s medical crew with 11 flight paramedics and nurses who will be based in Clarinda.

The company Air Methods will hire four pilots and a mechanic. The Bell 407 helicopter is expected to service an area within a 40-mile radius of Clarinda. “Then, depending on where the air ship lands, they will transport patients to the nearest medical facility in a more urban setting or to an area where a facility can handle the specialized care that’s needed by that particular patient,” Bridie said.

The new air ambulance service based in Clarinda is slated to begin in September.