Ohio city switches to public-private ambulance service

The city of East Liverpool is making the switch after several incidents where ambulances were unavailable for emergencies

By FireRescue1 Staff

EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio — The city of East Liverpool is switching to a public-private ambulance service after several incidents occurred where no ambulances were available for emergencies.

WKBN reported that new firefighters, paramedics and ambulances could be added to the fire department by the spring when the city partners with Ambulance Service Incorporated.

"The problem right now is you have three ambulance companies and they all do transports for hospitals, nursing homes, that kind of stuff and there’s where the bulk of their money comes from,” Safety Service Director Brian Allen said.

Allen added that the transports have kept the private companies tied up during emergencies, so officials said the new system will include an ambulance that only runs inside city limits.

“We’ll be running our own ambulance out of house and it will always be stationed here at Central,” Fire Chief Jason Gusta said. “We’ll be able to respond to the calls faster and it won’t be running transfers from hospital to hospital, so it’ll always be in this area.”

The city said negotiations have recently been completed.

“The city will have to pay for the ambulances and we’ll have to pay for the workers comp of the employees, but everything else is funded through the ambulance service,” Allen said.

Officials said the transition won’t increase charges for ambulance services, and insurance rates for homeowners could be lowered if the increase in firefighters helps to lower the department’s ISO rating.

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