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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 graduated from the University of Minnesota School of Journalism in 2015 after interning at Minnesota Public Radio. He landed his first reporting gig in Wrangell, Alaska where he enjoyed the remote Alaskan lifestyle and eventually moved back to the road system as the KBBI News Director in Homer, Alaska. He joined the MTPR team in 2019. Aaron now reports on all things in northwest Montana and statewide health care.
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