SWEETWATER COUNTY — Castle Rock Hospital District CEO Bailie Dockter told the Sweetwater County Commission Tuesday morning that the transition to takeover ambulance services for the county will be complete by November 21.
The County Commission voted to end its contract with Sweetwater Medics last year, and Castle Rock began the process of taking over ambulance services in Rock Springs. Castle Rock began hiring EMT’s to staff the ambulances on September 29, and they are now fully staffed for three ambulances, according to Dockter.
They will have 26 1/2 Full-Time Equivalents (FTE), with two full-time ambulances in Rock Springs and one in Green River, with backups in both communities. Currently, the county has 22 FTEs so there will be an increase of four starting November 21. Dockter said Castle Rock hired about 95 percent of the Sweetwater Medics staff.
“Every call will either have a paramedic or an EMT Intermediate, which is the highest level of EMT that you can have in the state,” Dockter added.
She said there seemed to be a concern earlier in this transition process that Castle Rock was going to be dropping to Basic Life Support (BLS) rather than Advanced Life Support (ALS), however she said this is not true.
“We have always been an ALS service and will continue to be,” she said. “There are some calls that don’t require a paramedic or intermediate… so we will send a basic on some of those calls.”
Dockter said Sweetwater Medics Director Ron Gatti has offered to lease his current space to Castle Rock to operate in Rock Springs. She said that the lease was sent over last Friday and she is reviewing it now. Dockter added that this would be a short-term solution.
She also said that Castle Rock has procured two new ambulances and one transport van, which gives them a total fleet of seven or eight vehicles.
Commissioner Mary Thoman expressed some concerns about whether services for Daggett County in Utah and Farson would change. Dockter assured that both communities would be served.
“Nothing is going to change than what has happened historically,” she said. For Daggett County, Dockter said, “we’ll continue to work closely with them and make sure there aren’t significant delays for patients and make sure that the areas are covered.”
Dockter added that Farson has not expressed a need and that she believes their service is completely volunteer. Thoman expressed concerns that because they are volunteers, they don’t always have people to respond.
“If that’s the case, we’ll have two staffed ambulances [in Rock Springs]. And we’re going to keep track very closely as far as where we’re having to respond to, and if we need to staff up to a fourth ambulance we’ll do that,” Dockter said.
The County Commission plans to take action on the contract with Castle Rock during the November 1 meeting so everything is in place for when Castle Rock takes over services for Sweetwater Medics starting November 21.