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EMS now at Southwest Health
New EMT facility expected by next August, paramedic status by September 2017
SHEMS ambulance
Southwest Health EMS ambulances have new logos with the changeover from Platteville EMS Sept. 27. - photo by Photo by Steve Prestegard

Emergency Medical Services for Platteville and surrounding towns were officially transferred from the City of Platteville to the Southwest Health regional healthcare network as of Sept. 27 at 6 a.m. 

The 17-member crew now on board as Southwest Health employees is expected to grow to 21 in the coming weeks as additional new positions are filled. Southwest Health leadership and ambulance crew members are also currently engaged in planning with architects on a new EMS facility to be completed by August. At that time all EMS and ambulance services will be moved from the current West Furnace Street facility to the new location on Southwest Health’s Eastside Road hospital campus. 

“We’re excited about the many ways we can advance EMS and emergency services on behalf of our area communities,” said Brian Allen, former City of Platteville EMS Administrator and now current Southwest Health Director of EMS. “Our crew has always sought to provide the best possible pre-hospital care, and that will only improve in the future with new facilities and with our move to upgrade staff to paramedic status.”

According to Allen, the only differences local residents will see immediately are the name on the ambulances and the uniforms of EMS personnel. The upgrade to paramedic personnel is not required to be complete until September 2017, though the process will be ongoing until that time. 

Municipalities are required by state law to provide EMS services to citizens. An increasing volume of calls, an aging and outdated ambulance facility, budget constraints, and other factors all combined to make shifting responsibility for EMS operations to Southwest Health a highly cost effective and logical step, according to a Southwest Health news release. Southwest Health is the area’s not-for-profit health care network serving Southwest Wisconsin region with a growing array of high quality health care services. 

Allen and his crew anticipate that in addition to a new $1.5 million ambulance facility, upgrades to EMS personnel’s life-sustaining capabilities, and a predictable fixed cost to area taxpayers that area communities will gain other advantages, too, such as having a ready crew on standby 24 hours a day, additional ambulances, and an ability for paramedics to contribute to patient care in the hospital setting. 

“The future will definitely be one in which more lives are saved thanks to improvements we’re making today,” said Allen.