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Editor's note: This story was originally published Jan. 13, 2014.

It's 0700 hours on Dec. 1. The Jacobus Lions Ambulance Club's contract with WellSpan Health just ended.

A WellSpan representative enters the building, taking back all the life-saving equipment the health system had leased to the company.

At the same time, an official from Healthstat Medical Solutions comes in, restoring the lost equipment. With WellSpan's emergency medical services gone, the club decided to use the Hanover-based leasing agency for its staffing and equipment, said Jacobus EMS manager Brad Ream.

"And we just continued operations," he said.

WellSpan announced in August it would be pulling out of advanced and basic life support services, ending equipment and staff leasing contracts with Jacobus and three other York County ambulance companies.

The health system began leasing EMS services 30 years ago, when they were much more limited. Since a large number of private ambulance companies have cropped up since then, it decided those services were no longer needed.

By the start of 2014, a new era of York County EMS had begun.

Making changes: Grantley Fire and EMS' contract with WellSpan ended Jan. 1; Spring Grove Area Ambulance's ended Dec. 29; and West York Ambulance's ended Nov. 1. Like Jacobus, all three have come up with new plans.


With the change, Grantley decided to pay for its own employees, said president John Dommel.

WellSpan previously had supplied Grantley with personnel, equipment and a medical director, he said. In addition to hiring two full-time medics and part-time medics, the company shelled out $17,000 for a medical director and $20,000 in equipment, Dommel said.

The effort has been privately funded through donations, he said.

Although none of that money was budgeted, EMS operations manager Joe Myers said the company caught a break when WellSpan sold it the equipment for a reasonable price, as one cardiac monitor goes for a cool $30,000.

Grantley's short-term goal was to get its medic unit up and running, which it accomplished, he said. Now, the company will look toward its long-term goal of serving the community and possibly merging with other companies, Myers said.

Spring Grove had previously provided basic life support services and leased emergency medical technicians from WellSpan. With the changes, it will begin providing advanced life support -- which includes more advanced equipment and the ability to administer medications -- to patients in Spring Grove and surrounding areas, said Capt. Bill Pero.

The ambulance company decided it's going to continue as a company for as long as it can while talking about regionalization with other services, he said. The main idea behind EMS is making the commitment to be there for the community, he said.

"I don't care what it says, I don't care what color it is -- if someone needs it, it's there," Pero said.

With the end of West York's contract, the company decided to hire its paramedics, according to a newsletter from board chairman Rodney Drawbaugh. It is in talks with WellSpan and several other ambulance services about regionalization, the newsletter says.

Moving forward: A total of 107 WellSpan EMS staff members -- 52 full-time, 55 part-time or occasional workers -- were affected by the changes, according to the Human Resources department. The 30 or so staff members who were assigned to contracted sites were hired by those organizations; two staffers left to go to school full-time; one staffer retired; and 14 full-time staffers were retained by WellSpan in Adams County, according to HR.

WellSpan's final EMS contract ended on Jan. 4, the last day for Medic 97, which served the southern end of the county. Jacobus is looking at the option of stationing a paramedic truck in southern Springfield Township to better serve that area, Ream said.

Dover's Medic 98, a joint venture between York and Memorial hospitals, is still in operation, and WellSpan will work with Memorial over the next couple of months before turning over control of the ambulance to Memorial, said Keith Noll, president of York Hospital.

WellSpan assists ambulance companies in endeavors to merge, he said.

He said he's pleased with how many ambulances have been considering partnerships. For instance, Ream said Jacobus is in talks with Glen Rock and Seven Valleys about creating a south central EMS organization.

"I am really encouraged by the direction we're heading," Noll said. "I am happy to see that many of the ambulance companies and municipalities have started to think just a little bit differently."

-- Reach Mollie Durkin at