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Ridgecrest Regional Hospital Announces Development Plans For A Permanent Air Ambulance Program


Jayde Glenn, Marketing Director, 760-499-3910,

For Immediate Release

Friday, September 14, 2018, RIDGECREST, California: Ridgecrest Regional Hospital has partnered with Air Methods, owner of Mercy Air, to develop a full-time air ambulance program for the city and surrounding areas. Currently, Mercy Air bases an air ambulance at RRH between 8 – 12 hours each day, during daytime hours. RRH has signed the extended contract and are preparing the way for a full-time service to commence by the end of October.

The hospital is developing a master plan on how to best utilize existing and future landing pads. Moving the primary landing pad closer to China Lake Blvd. and the proposed new Emergency Department is still a priority. The hospital has hired an aviation facilities expert to provide input into the process and focus on noise and traffic reduction in the area, in consideration of local residents.

“As Ridgecrest Regional Hospital expands its role as a major provider of healthcare services in Eastern Kern County and the Highway 395 corridor, the need for a fast and reliable medical transportation system is becoming more apparent. We need to ensure that those patients requiring transfer to a higher level of care don’t wait,” said Fred Hawkins, Director of Emergency Services for Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. “Today, it takes thirty to forty minutes for an air ambulance to arrive at our hospital and transfer critical trauma, stroke, cardiac and pediatric patients to comprehensive medical centers outside the Ridgecrest area. In such life-threatening situations, every minute is crucial, we cannot afford to wait.”

CEO of Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, Jim Suver, further added: “Delivering a full-time air ambulance service to the area is a very exciting prospect for us. This extension of our partnership with Air Methods will ensure that we are continuing to provide the best possible service. Improving patient outcomes will always remain on the top of our agenda.”

A key aspect of this venture is the desire for Ridgecrest Regional Hospital to provide faster care in the U.S. Highway 395 corridor. The response of an air ambulance North to Inyo County and South along the U.S. Highway 395 corridor will significantly reduce response times and improve patient care.

Air Methods Advantage membership plans for individuals start at $40 per year, and family plans cost $75 annually for members with primary health insurance coverage. Family memberships provide coverage to the member, their spouse/partner and their dependent children under the age of 26 to include dependent adults that live with them and are covered by health insurance. For more information visit:

Notes to the Editor:

About Air Methods

Quality emergency care doesn’t begin in the hospital emergency room – it begins at the scene of the accident or the moment a life-threatening illness strikes. Air Methods has a talented workforce of over 4,500 team members, which includes the best in the air medical industry. We are pilots, clinicians, mechanics, air communications specialists, support teams and many more. We’re ready to answer the call because we know someone’s life is on the line. We dedicate ourselves around the clock to maintain equipment and supplies, coordinate logistics and relentlessly provide the tools and expertise that allow us to give more tomorrows.

From the front lines to the phone lines, we believe our status as the industry leader – and the importance we place on our mission statement and core values – allow us to attract the highest level of talented professionals. More than 20% of our team members are U.S. veterans, active duty or in the reserves. Our comprehensive aviation, clinical and maintenance training is as robust as it is intense. And our continuous curriculum of learning and simulation-based training is unmatched in the industry.

We are ready to save lives at every moment of every day, with over 300 bases of operations serving 48 states. In rural communities, that kind of reach of care is crucial. Emergency air medical transport and treatment is often the only access to lifesaving emergency care they have – providing access to millions of people who otherwise would not have been able to make it to a trauma center.

We also operate eight maintenance centers of excellence throughout the nation and a national communications center. Although we call Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colorado, home, we are only a call away.

About Ridgecrest Regional Hospital

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital is a nonprofit, full service, acute care hospital, accredited by DNV Healthcare. Located in Ridgecrest, California, it was founded in 1945 by Dr. Thomas A. Drummond, who realized the need for medical care, to support the then recently established Naval Ordnance Test Station. Today, RRH continues as the only regional healthcare system providing a variety of services to the rural communities of the Southern Sierra. Our Vision is to be a leader with other healthcare providers in offering the highest quality, patient-centered, affordable healthcare and wellness services to the people of our service area.

The RRH health system currently consists of 78 active medical staff members and advance practice professionals, offering multi-specialty healthcare and state-of-the-art facilities, including Gastroenterology Lab, Cardiology, Dermatology, Orthopedics, Pediatrics and an accredited Sleep Lab, to name a few. The hospital also offers a Cancer Center, as part of an ongoing oncology affiliation with UC Davis Health Cancer Care Network, and is one of only a number of hospitals across the country to install FDA-approved state-of-the-art automated breast screening ultrasound technology in the Women’s Imaging Department, clinically proven to increase cancer detection by 35.7%. The hospital has been awarded the ACR gold seal of accreditation in Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, representing the highest level of image quality and patient safety and the Emergency Department has been designated by Kern County Public Health, as a Level IV trauma center, providing stabilization and advanced trauma life support.

Future plans include a new Emergency Room, new helipad for air ambulance services and construction is currently underway for the relocation of the South Medical Plaza. For more information, visit us at: and