Beginning Wednesday, May 1, area residents might not recognize the ambulance going down the highway.
Instead of seeing the green ambulances of Waupaca and Weyauwega Area Ambulance, they will see deep blue vehicles with a gold cross on the side.
The merger of Gold Cross Ambulance Service and Waupaca Area Ambulance will be finalized Tuesday, April 30..
The following day, Gold Cross will become the emergency medical service provider to Waupaca Area Ambulance’s service area, including the cities of Waupaca and Weyauwega, and their surrounding communities.
All that will change for area residents is the color of the ambulances and the uniforms worn by the EMS personnel.
The quality of care and emergency response delivered by Waupaca Area Ambulance for more than 30 years will not change.
Anyone experiencing a health emergency should still dial 911.
Patients will be transported to the hospital of their choice, including ThedaCare’s two local hospitals, Riverside Medical Center in Waupaca and New London Family Medical Center.
The merger is a result of a mutual agreement by both organizations to ensure the legacy of Waupaca Area Ambulance, providing quality EMS care for Waupaca area residents into the future.
With the addition of Waupaca County to its regional service, Gold Cross now serves almost 260,000 people in four counties.
“This is an exciting time for our organization,” said Gold Cross Executive Director Jack Hill. “We’re eager to serve the Waupaca area, and we’re ready to respond to the needs of the surrounding communities.”
Gold Cross will deploy four ambulances in the Waupaca and Weyauwega areas.
Every Gold Cross ambulance is equipped with satellite vehicle tracking, which allows dispatchers to send the closest ambulance to an incoming call, and an AutoPulse, a device that administers high quality, consistent CPR compressions.
Gold Cross is jointly owned by Affinity Health System and ThedaCare.
With the merger, Gold Cross increases its number of employees to 180, from 160, and its fleet of ambulances to 18, from 13.
“After dedicating 30 years of my life to Waupaca Area Ambulance, it’s a bittersweet moment,” said Barry Tomaras, owner of Waupaca Area Ambulance. “Although it’s tough to say goodbye, it feels good to be handing over the reins to a quality organization.”
Gold Cross Ambulance provides paramedic-level care for 911 medical emergencies and non-emergency transport services to almost 260,000 people in 1,170 square miles of portions of Calumet, Outagamie, Waupaca and Winnebago counties.
In 2012, Gold Cross responded to more than 15,000 calls.
It also brings Emergency Medical Service expertise to the region through its management contracting services, linking more people to EMS care.
Visit www.goldcross.org to learn more about Gold Cross Ambulance.