GVFD explores ways to use its 2 ambulances

Public input will be sought during Sept. 28 meeting

KINGMAN - The Golden Valley Fire Department will hold a special meeting Tuesday, Sept. 28, to discuss adding ambulance service to the department's duties.

Golden Valley currently contracts with River Medical for ambulance service. Chief Paul Hewitt believes that taking over the service would have a variety of benefits, including faster response time and cheaper transport bills.

River Medical has 16 ambulances that cover a 21,000 square-mile area. They charge patients a base fee of $1,247 per transport, plus $18.60 per mile.

By contrast, Hewitt said the Bullhead City Fire Department, which provides its own ambulance service, charges a base rate of $875 plus $12 per mile.

Golden Valley has already purchased two used ambulances from Washington state for a combined $36,000, which Hewitt called "a steal of a deal." The ambulances were checked to make sure they meet the same safety standards as a new model.

The goal would be to have an ambulance at each of the department's three fire stations. Hewitt said all of the firefighters on staff are trained EMTs and three are paramedics.

"We're just trying to do what's in the best interest of the district," Hewitt said.

John Molitor, EMT coordinator for the department, said that by adding the service, firefighters don't have to wait for medical services to arrive and can continue to provide the same continuation of care all the way to the hospital.

"We're able to offer the same level of care that River Medical offers, but cheaper and faster," he said.

Arizona is one of seven states that require ambulance providers to have a Certificate of Necessity (CON). River Medical currently holds the certificate. Golden Valley would have to appeal to the Department of Health Service for the certificate to transfer. The process could take several months to a year.

A call to River Medical was not returned Friday.

The public is invited to the Sept. 28 meeting, which will take place at 9 a.m. at Station 12, 749 S. Egar Road.