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Ambulance company to end service weeks before scheduled

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Posted at 7:08 PM, Apr 10, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-10 21:09:13-04

ST. GEORGE – After 32 years of service to the residents of Washington County, St. George based Dixie Ambulance is shutting down.

Residents said the ambulance company was forced out when the state gave one of their biggest licenses to a competing company.

After a lengthy hearing in March, a physician with the Utah Bureau of Emergency Medical Services ruled Gold Cross could take Dixie Ambulance’s license. Bureau director Paul Patrick said the proceeding was in accordance with state law.

“Anybody who wants to provide ambulance service in the state can apply for a license,” Patrick said. “But they need to prove that the public need necessitates a change. So there’s an issue with whatever the current provider is doing, they feel like they could correct or remedy that.”

The change in service providers is a move many residents resent.

“I think we need to be a little more concerned about our local people,” St. George resident Abe Bundy said. “And they’re part of our local people.”

“The reputation that the new company has doesn’t sound like it’s so wonderful,” St. George resident Heather Oxendine said.

The transition was supposed to take place May 1, but on Tuesday Dixie Ambulance sent a letter to local governments telling them as of 7:00 AM on April 14 they’re through.

“We deem it a privilege and honor to have served our community for these many years,” administrators said in the letter. “We wish you the best.”

St. George Assistant City Manager Marc Mortensen said they immediately called the State Bureau of Emergency Medical Services when they got the letter.

“Mr. Patrick assured us that the state has contingency plans in place for situations like this,” Mortensen said.

The state will work with existing EMS providers and Gold Cross to fill in the gap. They will also give time for outlying communities to find a new service provider.

Washington City Mayor Kenneth Nielson said they’ve already started looking at options and have received support from neighboring cities with local ambulance service.

Fox 13 attempted to contact Dixie Ambulance about specific reasons for the early closure. Our phone calls were not returned.