LINCOLN – Penobscot Valley Hospital is launching a $100,000 fundraising campaign to buy a new ambulance, Chief Executive Officer David Shannon said Friday.
The campaign, which will launch within two weeks, will replace at least one ambulance and possibly refurbish another, he said.
“We service 1,300 square miles,” Shannon said, “and just over the years the ambulances end up having a lot of miles on them and need to be replaced.”
The second, and newer, ambulance now in service will be refurbished for about half the cost of purchasing a new vehicle, which will cost more than $100,000. The refurbishment of the second unit will be funded through the hospital’s operating budget.
Penobscot Valley Hospital is the only provider of emergency medical services for an area that comprises Burlington, Carroll Plantation, Chester, Enfield, Howland, Lakeville, Lee, Lincoln, Lowell, Mattawamkeag, Maxfield, Passadumkeag, Seboeis Plantation, Springfield and Winn.
The PVH Emergency Medical Services team uses two ambulances, is available 24-7 and makes an average of 170 ambulance runs a month, said Jessica Fogg, the hospital’s assistant director of development and marketing.
“Utilization of the PVH ambulances has increased by a total of about 300 runs per year,” said Jill Bouchard, PVH Emergency Department manager, in a news release. “In the last four years alone, the use of the PVH Emergency Department has doubled, and, likewise, the frequency of ambulance calls increased significantly.”
With an aging population, and without any other service providing emergency response in the area, PVH administrators expect the increase in EMS use to continue, Fogg said. The hospital has shouldered the recurring repairs and maintenance costs for the current ambulances – costs that have doubled as the number of ambulance runs has increased.
A PVH effort to get $10,000 to $15,000 from the 15 towns it serves died in March 2005 after Lincoln’s Town Council voted 4-1 against donating about $12,000 toward the purchase of a new ambulance. Lincoln’s plans to start a nonemergency ambulance service died earlier this month when the council voted 4-2 to sell the ambulance it bought to Patten for $36,001.
PVH’s campaign got a $50,000 boost from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation when it agreed to give a grant for that amount toward the new ambulance. Hospital officials learned of the award in a letter from the foundation dated Oct. 13.