Ground Ambulance Program

Establishing a Ground Ambulance Program

Quite simply, it is an extension of our current business practices highlighting our compassion and desire to care for our community. The “We Care for You” philosophy is enhanced with the addition of a ground transportation division in the following ways:

  • Continues the philosophy of door-to-door service from emergency to definitive care. With this service, the continuity of care helps reduce information pinch points to ensure relevant information is conveyed to receiving facilities.
  • Crews will work the same shift schedule. This allows them to continually train, work, and “live” together; building relationships, cohesiveness, and ultimately increase proficiency/efficiency when dealing with an emergency by strengthening both tangible and intangible factors.
  • The Scottsdale Fire Department Medical Director regularly take part in training opportunities and Quality Assurance/Quality Improvement review. This continuity brings a high-level of organizational accountability to ensure that your Scottsdale Firefighters are providing the right care, with the best evidence-based practices available.
  • A reduction in turnover and attrition. When compared to private ambulance services that experience high employee turnover, sworn Firefighter turnover is extremely low. This translates to reduced costs with training and increased skill development as a member’s progress through their 25+ year career and better service to our customers.
  • Reduces our daily required Advanced Life Support (ALS) ride-ins with existing 3rd party providers creating better operating efficiency.
    • For EMS: Increases available personnel on a critical medical call to assist with care and coordination of resources to ensure a seamless, customer focused experience.
    • For Fireground and other Hazardous Responses: Increases available personnel on the fire ground to complete time sensitive tasks. For example, completing a “primary search” during a structure fire to search interior conditions for savable live(s) and provide rapid transport of any identified patients.
  • Provides a more equitable accounting for costs associated with delivering standard fire-based EMS, and enhances the reliability of response times and transportation capability for customers who require those services.
  • A unified administration provides consistent messaging and support of a common mission using regionally approved treatment protocols and operating guidelines/procedures.
  • As a municipal provider we are not burdened nor are decisions made based on profitability. While being fiscally responsible remains important, our paramount goal is to provide compassionate and proficient care for those who request our services.

No, the establishment of the ground ambulance program is designed to complement our existing services, not replace them. Scottsdale Fire Department will maintain its capacity to respond effectively to all emergencies, including fires. The program will operate alongside our fire response teams, allowing us to address a broader range of emergencies.

The ambulances will be staffed by highly-trained emergency medical professionals, including paramedics and emergency medical technicians (EMTs). These individuals will undergo rigorous training to ensure they meet the highest standards of care and can respond effectively to a variety of medical situations.

Scottsdale Fire will continue to respond to all emergencies and provide care on scene without financial burden to the patient. Cost is ONLY incurred when the patient is transported.

The fees for transport services have been approved by AZDHS as part of SFD’s CON application. Scottsdale Fire is approved for what is considered an “All Inclusive Rate.” The benefit of this type of rate to the customer is a simplified billing experience where a patient would only be charged for two items: a “Base Rate” and “Mileage” from the site of the emergency to the receiving facility. No additional charges for individual supplies will be charged or billed. Compared to other providers in the area under the “Phoenix Rate Group”, patients are charged a “Base Rate” and “Mileage”, in addition to an allowable retail markup on all disposable “supplies” that are used on a patient. All State of Arizona CON holders have published Rates and Fees. These historical Rates and Fees are accessible by visiting the following AZDHS's website. AZDHS's website

When a patient is transported, Scottsdale Fire will coordinate patient billing through our third-party company EMS|MC. EMS|MC will coordinate insurance benefits and handle all components of claim processing and payments on behalf of the City of Scottsdale. If a patient does not have health benefits through an insurance policy, patients will be billed for the transportation services provided during their care.

We already actively collaborate with local healthcare facilities to establish effective communication and coordination protocols. This includes streamlined processes for patient handovers and ensuring that our service seamlessly integrates with the broader healthcare system in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Fire Department is committed to maintaining the highest standards of care. This includes ongoing training for our emergency medical professionals, regular equipment maintenance, and compliance with all relevant regulations and guidelines. We also continuously evaluate and update our protocols to reflect the latest advancements in emergency medical care.

The application was submitted on March 29, 2022, and after going through administrative and substantive reviews, additional information was requested by AZDHS in October 2022. Detailed responses were provided in November 2022 and March 2023. A Findings Letter proposing rates was issued on August 29, 2023. Subsequent hearings led to a recommendation for a Certificate of Necessity (CON) by Judge Tammy Eigenheer on February 12, 2024. The City accepted this recommendation, and confirmation of approval was awarded by the State at the beginning of April 2024.

As of now, the City of Scottsdale possesses four ambulances. Council actions and identification of contractual services and software for the program have been completed and are ready for execution upon authorization. Scottsdale Fire anticipates the first transported patient in January 2025.

Scottsdale Fire Department has partnered with Maricopa Ambulance for the operational plan. City-run ambulance locations are planned in three phases:

  • Phase 1: FS602, FS608, FS615
  • Phase 2: FS601, FS606, FS611
  • Phase 3: FS602, FS603, FS614

Scottsdale Fire Department program anticipates handling 29,000 dispatched medical calls for service annually. During the phase-in process, we anticipate the following call volume to be completed by city-run ambulances: Phase I expecting 6,000 transports, Phase II anticipating 12,000 transports, and Phase III projecting 18,000+ transports.

The aim is to have the new firefighters hired by mid-July 2024 from the current eligibility list.

The academy training for the newly-hired personnel is tentatively scheduled to start in early August, with the possibility of it being pushed to September.

The recruitment and job postings are scheduled to begin in September 2024. The current eligibility list will be used to fill the first class to go to the academy.

The ground ambulance program is projected to commence running calls in early mid-December 2024 or early January 2025. The specific start date will depend on the initiation date of the academy training for the new personnel.

Contact Information

City of Scottsdale - Fire Department

Witzeman Public Safety Building
8401 E. Indian School Road
Scottsdale, AZ 85251
General Information: 480-312-8000
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-Emergency: 480-312-8911
Email: [email protected]

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