New ambulance service rolls out Thursday

(Fremont County, WY) – Starting at midnight on July 1st, Frontier Ambulance will officially become the local ground ambulance service provider. The ambulances may have new wraps and logos, but you will still see several familiar faces and some new ones serving the community.

Frontier Ambulance, part of the Tennessee-based Priority Ambulance parent company, entered into a five-year contract with the Fremont County Commissioners on June 1st, leaving approximately a month to transition between providers.

In that small window, Priority Ambulance’s Director of Marketing and Communications Amanda Jennings and Director of Government and Industry Relations Dennis Rowe, EMT-P, have been busy connecting with the local community, building partnerships, and prepping to begin ambulance service in the company’s 13th state.

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“We partner with communities to get the top-end level of service that they want to be provided, and I believe Fremont County is on the right path,” Rowe shared with County 10. “The Commissioners have made a lot of effort to weigh in, develop systems, and you can only do what the budget will allow you to do, but they have been very mindful of the community’s well-being as far as minimizing, as best as possible, the expenditures that they can.”

Both Jennings and Rowe shared how Frontier focuses on local communities. Part of that included offering current emergency medical service (EMS) employees positions, according to Jennings. Those who were interested, qualified, and met Frontier’s hiring requirements will transition over and start with them on July 1st.

“Frontier Ambulance puts a lot of emphasis on local; local autonomy and empowering the local people to serve their own communities. Though we are here in a support capacity, the people who are going to be running the system on a day-to-day basis are the people that are here and have been running the system. We’re going to give them the tools and the support and the programs to do that well.”

They have hired additional staff to help build back up the staffing numbers and are still actively recruiting. Employees from their other ambulance companies will help with the startup process and make sure there is enough support, especially ahead of July 4th.

“We know it may take a little bit to get everything back up to staffed because it was not fully staffed previously, so while we’re ramping up, we have some people that are coming in to support the startup,” Jennings shared.

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The exact staffing number is not known at this time and will require data, according to Rowe. A few factors include standby events such as a rodeo or football game, the amount of time spent traveling to and from hospitals with patients (time on task), and serving the hospitals, among other factors.

“There’s more need beyond the 911 system that you need to staff for,” said Rowe.

They currently believe it will be in the 30-ish full-time employee range to support five 24-hour advanced life support ambulances every day with EMTs and paramedics.

Rowe shared he thinks the local opportunities to bring folks in EMS to the area have not been utilized to their full potential noting the vast outdoor opportunities.

In addition, they are taking steps to create local partnerships with organizations and schools to develop training programs so they can start producing and developing EMS employees locally.

“We hope that that will not only be for EMS but also an EMT intermediate level,” Rowe continued. “I’m working now with the state trying to find the best path for even potentially paramedic programs, and taking the intermediates and being able to develop them on a fast track to the paramedic program because there’s really not a lot additional that they can’t do currently.

“And then lastly, critical care. There is not a formalized critical care program. There are two or three that are available that I believe will be very beneficial given that the hospital, which is a good, solid community hospital, has to transfer out some of the critical patients. We want to make sure that we can handle them effectively. We’re looking at working with the state as to how we can best develop that into solid care providers that can take care of folks when needed – in their worst possible hour. And that’s something that the Commissioners have worked with us on.

“The community needs to be able to trust, which is earned over time. But we want them to be able to trust that we’re going to care for them, we’re going to do what’s right and what’s best. And if we have their support, then we’ll be able to grow and develop along the way.”

In addition to local professional development, Rowe shared he believes strongly in education. He noted the remoteness of the area and being able to offer basic care classes like how to stop bleeding.

They have also been working closely with Indian Health Services (IHS), Rowe noted. “We’re working to make sure that we understand reimbursement, what they offer, how we can work with them the best.”

County 10 Photo – Frontier Ambulance

Also in need of more data is ambulance staging areas and how to serve places like Dubois effectively.

“1,000 population roughly, and about three to four ambulance calls a week,” Rowe explained about Dubois. “That’s tough to do given that an average ambulance station, personnel, etc., is somewhere between $400-500K a year. We’re still looking at how we can make sure people are taken care of effectively. We don’t want them to feel like they’re not being cared for. The flip side of that is how we do that cost-effectively but still, take care of folks. It’s gonna take a little bit of time, but we are going to take care of folks; they don’t need to worry.”

They plan to scour data and utilize national companies to help make sure they serve the community as effectively as possible.

“It’s going to be a close conversation with the 911 center, with Commissioners, the hospital, and Sheriff’s Department, Rowe continued. “They have been very supportive of collaborating, they’ve been willing to sit down, they’ve been willing to share information. They recognize that there are things that can be done. So we want to make sure that we’re partners in that and that we listen carefully.”

They also have the intention to be in-network with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Wyoming.

“We’re a new service coming in, so we don’t have a current existing operation in Wyoming,” Jennings explained. “So until you do, you can’t contract with Blue Cross until you are in Wyoming.”

Both reiterated the importance of being a part of the community and build those partnerships.

Learn more about Priority Ambulance and opportunities here.

County 10 will keep you updated on any news with the ambulance service as they begin this week. Click here to view our previous ambulance coverage.

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