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Shuttered mobile medic program may get second life

The mobile medic unit would allow a light truck with a paramedic to respond to low-emergency calls instead of an ambulance; state regulators initially shut the program down

RAPID CITY, S.D. — A fire department program that would save costs by reducing unnecessary ambulance use could get a second chance after initially being shut down by state regulators.

KOTATV.com reported the Rapid City Fire Department launched a mobile medic unit two years ago after being overwhelmed by 911 calls. The unit, a paramedic in a light truck, would respond to calls that did not require a full ambulance.

The state board of medical examiners said every call should be answered with maximum resources and halted the program.

Now, two years later, the board will re-hear the case for the program.

“We think it's going to be a huge benefit to not only our department but to the community as a whole,” said Jason Culberson, the division chief in charge of medical services for the Rapid City Fire Department.

The funding for the program, which was donated by the John T. Vucerevich Foundation, is still in place.

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