October 8, 2014 – The Sheboygan Press (http://www.sheboyganpress.com/story/news/local/2014/10/08/ambulance-merger/16906413/)
Orange Cross Ambulance Service and Plymouth Ambulance Service have merged into one company that will serve the City of Sheboygan, surrounding communities and the western part of Sheboygan County.
The merger, announced Thursday, was effective Wednesday, Oct. 1.
Andy Bagnall, president and CEO of St. Nicholas Hospital and the president of Orange Cross, said the merger came about after months of talks between the two organizations.
“We have the same role in our distinct communities,” Bagnall said. “We realized quickly we can be pretty strong together through shared services, shared structures.”
Terry Abler, president of Plymouth Ambulance Service, was not available for comment. But in a press release, Abler said the merger will help both ambulance services stay strong into the future.
“By coming together, we will enhance the quality of service we provide to the City of Plymouth and western portion of Sheboygan County,” he said. “We can ensure longterm sustainability by streamlining operations, taking advantage of shared services and providing long-term financial strength for our communities.”
Orange Cross Ambulance Service began in 1979, operates as a 50/50 joint venture of Aurora Health Care and St. Nicholas Hospital and provides paramedic-level, critical care ambulance service. Plymouth Ambulance Service has been in service for more than 20 years.
Orange Cross will retain its locations in Sheboygan and Plymouth, and it will continue to be a non-profit entity.
During the transition period, which will take several months, Plymouth Ambulance Service will retain its logo on ambulances.
Eventually, the logo and the name will be phased out and the Plymouth Ambulance Service corporation will be dissolved, Bagnall said.
As part of the transition, an advisory committee made up of members of the defunct Plymouth Ambulance Service board of directors will monitor how well the new service is being received and advise Orange Cross on improvement, Bagnall said.
Orange Cross averages 3,600 runs per year and has 31 employees. Plymouth Ambulance averages 1,700 runs per year and has 36 employees.
Currently, Bagnall said, there are no plans to cut the number of employees from either organization.
“As of right now, we’re not looking at that,” he said. “We’re really focused on merging, trying to figure out how to have the two cultures combine. We have a lot more similarities than differences.”