Waupaca Area Ambulance and Gold Cross Ambulance announced Monday they have signed a letter of intent to merge their services this spring.
After the merger, Gold Cross will be the emergency medical service provider to Waupaca Area Ambulance’s service area, including the cities of Waupaca and Weyauwega, and their surrounding communities.
Service to the area will continue uninterrupted during the transition.
The merger is a result of a mutual agreement by both organizations to ensure the legacy of Waupaca Area Ambulance and to provide quality EMS care for Waupaca area residents into the future.
Barry Tomaras, owner of Waupaca Area Ambulance, noted that the new relationship continues the company’s growth.
“During the past 30 years we’ve grown from six employees, one ambulance and 800 runs to 30 employees, five ambulances and 2,400 runs. Although we’ve grown, changes in healthcare will make it more difficult for small providers going forward,” he said. “This merger brings resources and technology to Waupaca Area Ambulance, and serves the community well. We’re excited by the opportunity.”
“This is an exciting time for our two organizations,” said Gold Cross Ambulance Executive Director Jack Hill. “We each are a quality business, and we’re coming together to ensure the Waupaca area retains its high quality emergency response service.”
Gold Cross Ambulance is jointly owned by Affinity Health System and ThedaCare. The company has 160 employees, and operates a fleet of 13 ambulances. Gold Cross transports patients to the hospital of their choice, and its clinical protocols are closely aligned with its owner health systems’ hospitals. ThedaCare owns and operates Riverside Medical Center and New London Family Medical Center, the two hospitals most frequently accessed by Waupaca Area Ambulance. Regional 911 dispatch services are already coordinated through Gold Cross, so those services are unchanged.
“It’s tough to say goodbye to something you’ve invested in for years, something you’ve built,” Tomaras said. “But I have confidence in this decision. We’ll be strong partners, and patients will be well served.”
Gold Cross Ambulance provides paramedic-level care for 911 medical emergencies, and non-emergency transport services to more than 240,000 people in 950 square miles of portions of Outagamie, Winnebago and Calumet counties, responding to more than 15,000 calls in 2012. It also brings Emergency Medical Service expertise to the region through its management contracting services, linking more people to EMS care.