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Scottsdale City Council moves forward with creation of ambulance service

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Scottsdale City Council in November 2022 approved Resolution No.12660, which allowed the planned purchase of four ambulances. (Photo by Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress)
Scottsdale City Council OKs transfer of $1,564,431 for ambulance start-up costs
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press

Scottsdale City Council is moving forward with laying the foundation for an ambulance service to be developed at the Scottsdale Fire Department.

Following most recently a work session — and a March 2022 city filing on behalf of the fire department in pursuit of a certificate of necessity — Scottsdale City Council this past Tuesday unanimously approved the transfer of up to $1,564,431 to cover start-up costs associated with the creation of a municipal ambulance service.

“On Jan. 5, 2024, a hearing was conducted before the Office of Administrative Hearings regarding SFD’s application for a [certificate of necessity],” said Tom Shannon, Scottsdale fire chief, in his March 19 report to City Council.

“On Feb. 12, 2024, the administrative law judge recommended that the director of ADHS grant the city a [certificate of necessity]. On Feb. 20, 2024, the city filed a document formally accepting the judge’s decision. The city is currently awaiting certification of the judge’s decision by OAH and final approval of the city’s application from the director of ADHS before SFD can begin operating an ambulance service.”

Arizona Department of Health Services — the governing body over ground ambulance certifications — defines a certificate of necessity as a regulatory mechanism to ensure adequate emergency services in all parts of Arizona with regulations focused on geographic area, level of service area, hours of operations and response time

Chief Shannon points out all financial obligations to justify the creation of an ambulance service have been met.

“The start-up costs associated with this key program required an assessment of project needs for equipment, technology, and disposable goods. To ensure the financial legitimacy and reliability of the numbers in the financial report,” he said.

“Fire Department staff engaged city budget office, facilities management, procurement, and technology staff. Fire Department staff must adhere to generally accepted accounting principles, ensuring compliance with industry standards and legal requirements. These requests have undergone rigorous internal review and will be subjected to audits to provide an additional layer of validation and ensure the numbers’ integrity and reliability.”

Initial costs for the creation of the Scottsdale ambulance service include:

  • $864,447, which according the March 19 report to City Council covers the costs of computer equipment, uniforms, portable radios, cardiac monitors and tools.
  • $699,984, which covers the costs associated with the transition to Maricopa Ambulance Service not providing medical soft goods and medications because of the new ambulance service: the remaining 12 fire stations for medication, vending machine, medical soft goods, operative IQ software and the modification of station 602 to accommodate the ambulance staff.

Scottsdale City Council OKs transfer of $1,564,431 for ambulance start-up costs

Scottsdale City Council in November 2022 approved Resolution No.12660, which allowed the planned purchase of four ambulances.

“The readiness of the Fire Department to embark on the new venture of an ambulance transportation service is of paramount importance. This service signifies the department’s capacity and commitment to not only enhancing its fire service response capabilities, but also extending its reach into other vital community services,” Chief Shannon said in his report.

“As noted by the judge in his decision recommending the city be issued a CON, the city is experiencing significant growth, increasing tourism, and an aging population, all of which demonstrate that there is public necessity for SFD to operate an ambulance service. The initiation of an ambulance transportation service necessitates the acquisition of medical equipment, vehicles, and personnel with specialized training, which will ensure that the department can swiftly respond to medical emergencies. These efforts underscore the Fire Department’s comprehensive approach to public safety and preparedness, enhancing the community’s overall resilience.”

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