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Kalispell to use $8 million in gifts for EMS equipment and training

An ambulance in front of Kalispell Regional Medical Center.
Eric Whitney
Montana Public Radio
An ambulance in front of Kalispell Regional Medical Center.

Kalispell-based Logan Health announced Tuesday that it will in part use $8 million in donations to provide equipment and training to ambulance services in western Montana.

The former owner of the San Francisco 49ers, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., owns a home near Kalispell and donated the funds to Logan Health over the years.

DeBartolo was convicted for bribing a former Louisiana governor for a gambling license and was pardoned by former President Donald Trump.

In a press release, the hospital system said the funds will be used to bolster communication between EMS agencies in western Montana and host annual conferences. Funding will also help provide agencies with equipment and training.

Those grants could be a big help. According to the National Rural Health Association, up to a third of EMS agencies across the country are at risk of folding due to staffing and financial constraints. Many struggle to keep their equipment up to date.

Logan Health says the Amtrak derailment last fall was in part the catalyst for forming what it calls an EMS consortium. The crash along the Hi-Line, which killed three people and injured dozens more, required ambulance services from Great Falls to Kalispell to respond.

Updated: January 31, 2022 at 9:43 AM MST
We updated this story to clarify that Debartolo Jr. gifted the $8 million to Logan Health over several years and that a portion of those funds will go toward the EMS consortium.

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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