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St. Luke's McCall ambulance has proven even more useful than expected in first year

In the year since obtaining its own ambulance, St. Luke's McCall has exceeded expected ground transfer projections by 56%.
By Laura Crawford, News and Community
July 22, 2021
A year has passed since St. Luke’s McCall acquired an Air St. Luke’s ambulance to serve the community with medical ground transportation.

And it has been even more helpful than expected.

“It became evident we needed to have our own ambulance for transfers due to the dwindling availability of non-emergency ground transportation resources in 2019,” St. Luke’s McCall Chief Operating and Nursing Officer Amber Green said.

Prior to the hospital acquiring its own ambulance, St. Luke’s McCall partnered with Valley County EMS providers and Air St. Luke’s to serve patients requiring ground transfer via ambulance to Boise for specialized care not offered at St. Luke’s McCall.

“Our local EMS’ priority is to respond to emergency 911 calls, and they shared they were experiencing increased volumes that made it challenging to serve our needs too,” Green said. “That’s when we decided to take action, so we could better serve our patient transport needs.”

Kevon Bjornson, left, and Josh Newcomb are part of the McCall ground transportation team.

The purchase of the ambulance was made possible through the support of the McCall Memorial Hospital District. The district approved funding of $900,000 between 2020 and 2021 to support purchasing the ambulance, hire the necessary crews and ongoing expenses to run medical transport services through Air St. Luke’s.

Medical ground transfers have exceeded original projections by 56%: 250 have occurred, more than the estimated 160. The 250 transfers include 95 trips from St. Luke’s McCall to the McCall airport for air transport, 12 local facility trips and 143 transfers to health care facilities in Boise.

During this same time, air transports decreased by 9%, leading to potential cost savings for patients. The McCall transfer crews provide 24/7 coverage. Each crew includes a registered nurse/advanced level provider and a certified EMS health professional.

“We currently have two crews and are working to hire a third to support the increase in transfer volume and provide value added support for things like stepping in and helping the emergency department team when they experience higher patient volumes and support for community injury prevention programs,” Air St. Luke’s EMS Manager Randy Morris said.

The Air St. Luke’s team is also working on plans to implement a community health EMS program in McCall.

“Having our own ambulance and dedicated staff to meet our transport needs has allowed us to provide improved care and service to our patients,” Green said. “We’re grateful to the Hospital District for providing us the resources needed to offer this critical service to our communities.”

About The Author

Laura Crawford works in the Communications and Marketing department at St. Luke's.