ST. GEORGE – A new phase in Southern Utah’s “Ambulance War” has begun with findings put before the Utah Department of Health Tuesday stating Dixie Ambulance is in violation of state law, and recommending that St. George would be better served by Gold Cross Ambulance.
Maxwell Miller, the presiding hearing officer who heard testimony for and against Dixie Ambulance and its challenger, Gold Cross, during the week of Dec. 3, 2012, sent a 66-page document to the Utah Department of Health outlining why he recommends Gold Cross over Dixie Ambulance to serve St. George.
According to Miller’s recommendation: “… The (Utah Bureau of Emergency Services should) grant Gold Cross … applications for Paramedic Rescue and Paramedic Ground ambulance licenses for St. George, Utah, … The current licensed ambulance provider of such services (Dixie Ambulance) (a) is in violation of Utah administrative rules; (b) does not meet industry operating standards governing EMS staffing requirements and ambulance response times; (c) is not financially viable; and (d) is likely unable to continue providing quality ambulance services that St. George deserves and requires in the future.”
The City of St. George has also received the recommendation. Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager, said the mayor and city council are currently reviewing the document. A response will be given after the city council is satisfied with its examination of the document, Mortensen said.
Mac Miller, public information officer for Dixie Ambulance, called the recommendation “a love letter to Gold Cross,” and said Dixie Ambulance could refute every claim the hearing officer’s recommendation made.
An official ruling has yet to be made by BEMS. The Bureau has three options it can take – it can ignore the recommendation, amend it, or approve it “as is.” Once the final decision is made, Dixie Ambulance has 20 days to appeal.
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