GRANDVIEW - As a result of the aftermath of federal funding woes, Prosser Memorial Hospital has announced its intention to close its ambulance station in Grandview in March.
According to the hospital's interim CEO, Julie Petersen, the Grandview and Prosser ambulance stations will be consolidated come March.
This likely means a doubling of response times, says Mabton Fire Chief Luke Cussins. "We're not going to get the necessary care as quick as we used to get it," he said.
Cussins added, "We're going to have more on-scene patient care time, but other than that (the fire department) really shouldn't see any major impacts."
Grandview Fire Chief Pat Mason said that currently having an ambulance station in Grandview provides the best level of service to residents that is possible.
Mason also explained the difference between EMTs and paramedics. "EMTs are at the basic level, while paramedics are at the top level. If drug therapy is needed on scene, that can't take place until a paramedic is there. Paramedics are with the ambulance service."
That's not the only change looming on the horizon. Petersen said plans also include cross training emergency medical service staff to serve as emergency department technicians.
The funding woes began a couple of years ago when federal officials determined that the hospital's ambulance service had been overpaid in Medicare reimbursements.
In an attempt to create revenue for the ambulance service, a ballot measure was presented to voters last November. That ballot measure was shot down.
Said Mason, "The bottom line is that the voters had a choice. So this is just following their choice."