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Published on May 24, 2018

Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance and La Crosse Fire Department to partner on paramedic services

In an effort to continue providing high-quality emergency medical response, Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance and La Crosse Fire Department have entered into an agreement to allow La Crosse Fire Department employees to work with Gundersen as first responder paramedics.

Gundersen and the city of La Crosse have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) that says that fire department paramedics may voluntarily apply for open paramedic positions at Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance. This arrangement will assist the fire department paramedics in meeting training and ensure advanced skill proficiency requirements are maintained.

"The city is proud to partner with Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance on this MOU to enhance paramedic and advanced life support services in La Crosse," says La Crosse Mayor Tim Kabat. "The MOU enables La Crosse Fire Department paramedics to provide emergency life support to our citizens and sets the stage for joint training and sharing equipment and supplies with Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance, saving taxpayer dollars. We look forward to growing this program in ways that further improves the health, safety and welfare for everyone in the Coulee Region."

"This is a win for both organizations and a win for La Crosse residents," explains Tom Tornstrom, executive director, Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance. "We have a need for more paramedics, and the fire department has paramedics who want and need to keep up their training and time in the field. This agreement serves both needs and continues the high quality, rapid response that the La Crosse community has come to expect."

Tornstrom says that Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance will provide up to 10 paramedics positions the first year and up to 24 hours of ambulance experience a month for the paramedics.

"This is the kind of community partnership that Gundersen and our affiliates like Gundersen Tri-State Ambulance are always looking for," says Gundersen CEO Scott Rathgaber, MD. "We are ultimately on the same team when it comes to keeping people safe and making sure our community has access to the best care."

"I'm excited about this strengthened partnership," comments Ken Gilliam, La Crosse fire chief. "Expanding our EMT capabilities to the paramedic-level will better serve the community and ultimately save lives. This program allows our two organizations to support each other's core missions in true collaboration, while being fiscally responsible and providing maximum impact to area stakeholders."

The agreement will take effect this summer.

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