Beacon Ambulance cuts services to Dickinson County; DCHS, Integrity respond

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IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (WLUC) - After 28 years, Beacon Ambulance will stop its 911 service in Dickinson County at 8 a.m. Friday, November 8. 2019. Beacon gave its required 24-hour notice Thursday morning.

A Beacon Ambulance station in Iron Mountain. (WLUC Photo)

Beacon declined an interview with TV6, but in a statement, the service said there are "..ongoing difficulties with random utilization of our services by (Dickinson County Healthcare System) and staffing issues."

Back in February 2019, the operations manager of Beacon Ambulance asked DCHS to enter a first-call agreement with Beacon. That was never reached, as DCHS continued to share the patient transfer duties with another ambulance service, Integrity Care EMS.

On Tuesday, November 5, 2019, Beacon announced that after financial review, it can't continue to operate in Dickinson County.

Beacon says it is hopeful that circumstances will change and the decision can be reconsidered.

On Friday, November 1, Beacon announced it would cut back its service to DCHS and stop handling patient transfers to DCHS that were more than 30 miles. That decision changed Thursday, Nov. 7.

DCHS leaders have declined to talk about the ambulance changes on camera. In a statement on Friday, Nov.1, the hospital's spokesperson said, "DCH is taking all steps necessary to ensure the safe and timely transfer of our patients to facilities that provide the level of care that is needed."

Integrity Care EMS, a privately held company in Iron Mountain, was unavailable for an interview on Thursday.

In a statement they said, “As the needs of the community grow, so will integrity care ems to meet those needs. We respect the decision of Beacon Ambulance Service to discontinue their services..."

Integrity said it still needs to meet with DCHS to discuss the next steps as the main ambulance service for the hospital.

To read the full statements of all three organizations, click here.

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