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Glacier EMS Survival Rests On New Proposal

Ambulances at the Glacier County EMS facility.
Aaron Bolton
Montana Public Radio
Ambulances at the Glacier County EMS facility.

For months, Glacier County officials have feared long-standing financial issues would soon shutter the county’s ambulance service. Now the county hopes to hand off operations to the Northern Rockies Medical Center.

County officials are hashing out an agreement that would lease both the EMS facility and equipment in Cut Bank to Northern Rockies Medical Center. The low-cost, three-year lease is an effort to maintain ambulance service throughout the county.

Glacier County Chief Financial Officer Chancy Kittson said the lease would turn to a market-driven rate after the three-year term, and added the deal also includes an option for NRMC to buy the building.

Earlier this year, county residents shot down two mill levies that would have funded the service. Without a deal, the county could lose emergency transport altogether.

“We’re happy that we’re able to do it in our community,” she said. “It’s something our community can’t go without.”

NRMC Marketing Director Stephanie Eney said the hospital hopes to have the deal finalized and to be operating the EMS program by Aug. 1. The potential deal comes as Kalispell Regional Healthcare and NRMC are in talks about a potential merger.

Aaron Bolton is Montana Public Radio's Flathead Valley reporter.
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