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February 13, 2014
Ambulance crew assigned to Stansbury Park

Emergency? If you’re on the north end of Tooele Valley, your response team likely spent the night in Stansbury Park.

Mountain West Medical Center has redistributed some of its ambulance teams to create a 24-hour team stationed permanently at the Stansbury Springs Health Center near Soelberg’s.

The move, which has been in the works for about two years, will shave 10 to 15 minutes off ambulance response times to accidents on Interstate 80 and to Stansbury, Erda, and other communities on the north end of the valley, according to hospital officials.

Though not directly requested by the public, Tracy Schaffer, ancillary services director for Mountain West Medical Center, said feedback from the community had prompted the hospital to move one of its ambulances to the Stansbury area.

“We would hear questions like, how long is the ambulance going to take? Why will it be so long?” she said.

Though the first two-member crew moved in just two weeks ago, the hospital began to consider stationing an ambulance in the Stansbury area about two years ago.

Under the new configuration, Mountain West has two ambulances stationed in Tooele, one in Grantsville and a fourth in Stansbury. Redistributing the ambulance teams in a triangular fashion gives the hospital more effective coverage throughout the valley, said Bryson Westbrook, Mountain West Medical Center ambulance director.

The move did not require buying any additional vehicles — ambulances can cost upwards of $125,000 each — or hiring any additional staff.

The hospital’s ambulance service has been privately owned for more than a decade and has nearly 50 employees. However, Westbrook said Mountain West viewed the ambulance as a service to the community.

“We do not charge — we cannot charge — until we transport,” he said. “So if we go out and help someone who has fallen, there’s no charge.”

Even for privately owned ambulances, ambulance services are regulated by the state. When and how much such a service can charge is a matter of state law. Currently, ambulance transportation rates begin at about $600.

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