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Dickinson hospital secures new medical helicopter

DICKINSON, N.D. -- CHI St. Joseph's Health has found a replacement for its medical helicopter service, one week after another company ended service in Dickinson.

Grand Forks-based Valley Med Flight agreed Tuesday to base a medical helicopter at the helipad of the new St. Joseph's hospital under construction in Dickinson. Valley Med Flight also will provide fixed-wing aircraft support.

"Our No. 1 concern is access for our patients," said Reed Reyman, president of CHI St. Joseph's Health. "We just know that a helicopter needs to be based here, and we know we have to have access to fixed wing, so we did all we could to get this in place."

The agreement comes a week after Med-Trans Corp. announced it was terminating service of its Spirit Lifeline helicopter that had been based at the hospital for the past year.

Valley Med Flight is expected to have a Eurocopter AS350 B3e helicopter operating from the St. Joseph's helipad by Oct. 1, Reyman said.

The medical service already has a footprint in western North Dakota, with a helicopter based at CHI Mercy Medical Center in Williston and with fixed-wing aircraft bases in Williston and Sidney, Mont.

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