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Is one paramedic enough? Breaking down changes to Appleton’s ambulance services

Appleton Fire Department
Posted at 5:23 PM, Oct 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-18 18:23:54-04
  • After 30 years, the City of Appleton and Cross signed a formal service agreement.
  • Community members questioned the quality of one paramedic ambulances, as outlined in the agreement.
  • Gold Cross, Appleton’s Mayor, and Appleton’s Fire Chief all answered questions about the service agreement.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

About 30 years ago, Appleton Fire stopped providing ambulance services and left it to Gold Cross to cover the city. In August, Appleton and Gold Cross signed a formal agreement bringing some attention to the services provided. I’m Olivia Acree, your Appleton neighborhood reporter, and i can explain why the City of Appleton wanted a formal agreement.

“During most of that time as we came to learn, there wasn't a written agreement,” said Mayor Woodford.

Now Mayor Woodford says he wants accountability all around.

“We, the City of Appleton can hold our contractor accountable, but also so that we can be accountable to our residents in the community,” said Mayor Woodford.

Appleton Fire Chief Jeremy Hansen told us they still respond to all medical calls and have for years They just can’t provide paramedic-level care.

But that’s something they’re working towards.

“We identified a need for our community and that was to have two paramedics on every medical call,” said Chief Hansen.

Appleton Fire recognized that need because previously, the standard of care was to have two paramedics on every ambulance. Now Gold Cross just has one.

Here’s what Nick Romenesko at gold cross had to say:

“If you go to an ER if you go to a clinic, you're going to see one doctor, you're not going to see multiple doctors,” said Romenesko.

Romenesko said the data they’ve been collecting data for single paramedic ambulances for several years and it shows they’re actually improving their quality of care.

“As we're making these changes, we're doing it in a way that's safe, and with the best interest of the patient in mind,” said Romenesko.

But back at Appleton Fire, Chief Hansen explained when having his department operate with paramedics would really come in handy.

“The fire department responds and arrives on scene about 70% of the time either when the ambulance arrives or before the ambulance arrives,” said Chief Hansen.

The goal is to have Gold Cross on scene in less than nine minutes and Appleton Fire on scene in less than five.

“So, the goal with having paramedics on the fire trucks is that we will provide definitive lifesaving paramedic level care even before the ambulance gets on scene,” said Chief Hansen.

Getting the fire department to become qualified to perform paramedic level care is a long and costly process but something they’re striving for within the next few years. for now, Chief Hansen and Gold Cross want people in Appleton to feel confident in the level of care they’re getting.