Daviess Community Hospital will officially take over providing ambulance service to the county at the beginning of the week.

During the Ambulance Advisory Board meeting Thursday morning at the hospital Ted Cline, DCH director of EMS, said the hospital has already had an ambulance active and service will officially take over Sunday night.

"As most of you have heard, we are planning on transitioning at midnight on July 14 and 15," said Cline. "We currently have one truck active doing outward runs from the hospital. It's been in place about two weeks now."

Cline said after the transition at the start of the week, DCH will take all emergency and non-emergency calls that come into 911.

"We have four trucks. Two will be based in Washington, one in Odon and one in Cannelburg," Cline said.

DCH Chief Operating Officer Keith Miller said in Cannelburg, home base for the ambulance service will be at the volunteer fire department and in Odon, the service is currently renting a suite from Parkview Village until a new station can be constructed on the North Daviess Medical Clinic property.

"We have had several conversations with (Sheriff) Gary Allison on the communication piece and logistics," said Miller, who said the closest ambulance will be dispatched first and dispatchers will be able to see in real time where those ambulances are located.

Miller said should three of the four ambulances be in service, the EMS staff will pause the transfer requests and trucks will report to where the closest call may come in.

Allison said until the sheriff's department gets its new system, the ambulance service will be dispatched off the repeater.

"Once we get our new system up and running, you will be the only ones using it," said Allison.

Miller stressed the importance of calling 911 when there is an emergency.

"We will be doing a big push for those to be using 911. In the past, people would call the stations directly," said Miller, who said all calls should come through 911 or the sheriff's department.

Cline said while the name of the service provider in Daviess County will be different, those needing assistance should see little change.

"You're going to get the same service," he said. "We just have a different name."

Ambulance service, Miller said, would also still be provided at special events around the county.

"We want our crews to be present and visible in the community," said Miller. "They can still be in service and out in the public."

Nathan Gabhart, president of the Daviess County Commissioners, said a lot of work has gone into making the transition from Southwest Medical, whose owners decided to retire, to the hospital's service.

"We have a lot of work from a lot of people in this room," said Gabhart. "Our constituents will be well taken care of."

The hospital's contract with the county to provide the ambulance service is for five years and comes at an annual cost of $575,000.

Southwest Medical's contract with the county runs through the end of the year. Gabhart said in February the county will still pay the contract through the end of the year.

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