ST. GEORGE – Beginning Sunday morning, Dixie Ambulance Service will no longer be servicing St. George and the surrounding areas as its 911-emergency transport provider.
In a letter sent to the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services, the City of St. George and others, Dixie Ambulance announced Tuesday it that will cease providing ambulance service in its licensed area as of 7 a.m., April 14. At this time the ambulance service which has served St. George and the surrounding area for over 30 years will shut its doors.
“We have deemed it a privilege and honor to have served our community these many years,” Dixie Ambulance’s owners wrote in the letter.
Mac Miller, Dixie Ambulance’s public information officer, said the reason for Dixie Ambulance’s closing, was due to a lack of paramedics needed to continue servicing its currently licensed-area – St. George, Washington and Santa Clara – effectively and responsibly.
“We’re done,” Mac Miller said.
Tom Burckhard, Gold Cross’s director of operations for it southern division, said the company has taken on former Dixie Ambulance employees.
Though the Utah Bureau of Emergency Medical Services had awarded Dixie Ambulance’s two 911-paramedic emergency transport licenses to Gold Cross, that transfer was not to take effect until May 1. However, Miller said paramedics formerly with Dixie Ambulance will begin training with Gold Cross on April 15, which has prompted the closure.
Gold Cross was awarded Dixie Ambulance’s licenses on March 27 by Dr. David Patton, the executive director of BEMS. Patton based his decision on the findings put forth in a 66-page ruling recommendation produced by the hearing officer who oversaw a four-day hearing between Gold Cross and Dixie Ambulance concerning who could serve the St. George area better.
The hearing officer, Maxwell Miller, in his recommendation to the BEMS, found Dixie Ambulance to be dangerously deficient in areas pertaining to staffing, financial stability, vehicle maintenance, patient care protocols and a plethora of other issues that ultimately placed Dixie Ambulance at odds with state EMS regulations. Gold Cross, on the other hand, was found to be in complete compliance with state code and able to provide superior service to the people of St. George.
The licenses awarded to Gold Cross would have been for St. George only. Dixie Ambulance would have retained Washington and Santa Clara. However, with the surrender of the licenses for the entirety for Dixie Ambulance’s area, this means Washington and Santa Clara will be without an official 911-transport provider for the time being. This doesn’t mean they won’t go without service, however.
Marc Mortensen, assistant to the city manager of St. George, said the city contacted BEMS concerning Dixie Ambulance’s closure and was told the state will initiate a contingency plan created for incidents like this.
“(BEMS) said they would provide uninterrupted ambulance service,” Mortensen said. “And that’s not just for St. George, but for all of Dixie Ambulance’s area.”
State law doesn’t allow for the creation of “orphan areas,” or areas that would experience a disruption in ambulance service. To fill the gap the state works with nearby agencies to provide coverage until the areas affected settle on a more permanent solution.
The state will have Washington and Santa Clara taken care of “when Dixie Ambulance ceases operations,” Mortensen said.
Initially there were concerns that Dixie Ambulance wouldn’t be able to continue operating due to losing 25-30 percent of its original coverage area.
In response to this possibility, Mike Moffitt, president of Gold Cross Ambulance, said his company was prepared to help provide ambulance coverage in Santa Clara and Washington until those cities choose what route to take for future ambulance service.
Given Gold Cross was only planning to begin training on Monday, are they ready for the sudden transition?
“Yes we are,” Burckhard said. “We will be ready to go on Sunday morning at 7 a.m.”
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- Ambulance war: State agency rules in favor Gold Cross
- Ambulance War: City of St. George rebukes state agency, calls for time for Dixie Ambulance
- Ambulance war: Eyes on the St. George City Council
- Ambulance War: Dixie Ambulance speaks out; STGnews Videocast
- Ambulance War: Gold Cross recommended over Dixie Ambulance
- Perspectives: Making sense of the ambulance war
- Ambulance war scapegoat? St. George Dispatch responds to hearing testimony
- Ambulance war: Broken system, dispatch delays? Decision pending
- Ambulance war: Contest for territory raises solvency, staffing issues at hearing
- Public support for Dixie Ambulance floods hearing
- Public hearing to discuss ambulance service in St. George; Dixie Ambulance receives negative audit
- Dixie Ambulance Voices its Opinion on Gold Cross’ Application; Gold Cross Says System is Broken
- Letter to the Editor: Consider the Cost
- Gold Cross Could Replace Dixie Ambulance if Application is Approved
- Gold Cross Submits Application to Provide 911 Ambulance Services in St. George
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