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GVFD gets state blessing for ambulance service

Last week, the Arizona Department of Health Services approved an Advanced and Basic Life Support Certificate of Necessity, giving the GVFD the ability to transport patients to the hospital using its own ambulances, said GVFD Chief Chuck Wunder.

The fire district and AMR, formerly Southwest Ambulance, reached a deal in April allowing both of them to provide ambulance services within the fire district. However, an administrative law judge needed to review the agreement and make a recommendation to DHS before the certificate of necessity could be approved, he said.

Once the ambulance arrives, it will need to be equipped, have GVFD logos applied and be inspected by DHS, Wunder said.

“We hope to be up and running within the next 90 days,” Wunder said.

The new ambulance will be the district’s second ambulance, he said. The district purchased the other one last year.

One will be stationed at Station 151 at 250 N. La Cañada Drive and the other will be at Station 153, 210 Continental Road, Wunder said.

Once a call comes in, the closest unit — whether GVFD or AMR — will respond, he said.

“Both of us will be charging the same rates, so there won’t be any difference from that standpoint,” Wunder said.  AMR has no plans to reduce the number of their ambulances, so response times may actually improve, Wunder said.

“Our agreement does give them more flexibility, though,” he said, explaining that should there be a major incident in Tucson, it will now be easier for AMR to send ambulances to it.

Earlier this year Wunder said he anticipates the ambulance transportation revenue will add just over $500,000 to the district’s coffers