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Cold Lake Ambulance Society replaced by new AHS contractor

A new Emergency Medical Services provider is now operating out of the City of Cold Lake. The transition is the result of the former service provider Cold Lake Ambulance Society’s ‘decision to cease ambulance operations.’ As of Sept. 1, Associated Ambulance has taken over Cold Lake’s ambulance operations.
The Cold Lake Ambulance Society is worried about their ability to maintain their current level of service due to a lack of funding.
As of Sept. 1, Associated Ambulance will be the provider for ambulance services in the City of Cold Lake and surrounding areas. The new provider will replace Cold Lake Ambulance Society which previously filled the role since forming in 1975.

COLD LAKE – As of Sept. 1, a new ambulance service provider has taken over Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in the City of Cold Lake and a service area spanning over 4,300 square km of northeastern Alberta. 

The transition follows a lapsed agreement between Alberta Health Services (AHS) and the former provider, Cold Lake Ambulance Society (CLAS). 

When contacted by Lakeland This Week, a CLAS representative indicated that they were unable to provide any comments on the transition. 

CLAS was first formed in 1975 and is guided by a volunteer board of directors and its operations manager. 

It remains unclear if CLAS has chosen to fold its operations entirely, however the non-profit society did not renew or extend its service agreement with the provincial health authority.  

As a result, AHS contracted another provider to administer EMS services for the area. 

On June 23, a joint media release between AHS and the City of Cold Lake announced the private company Associated Ambulance would be taking over for CLAS. 

“For almost five decades, Cold Lake Ambulance Society has provided dedicated care in the community but has made the decision to cease ambulance operations. Plans are in place to ensure a smooth and seamless transition to Associated Ambulance,” reads the statement provided by AHS. 

Lakeland This Week reached out to AHS to inquire about the situation. In response to that inquiry, the same statement was provided. 

According to AHS, Associated Ambulance “will continue to provide three ambulances to serve the community. Services will not change.” 

Diana Rinne, a senior communications advisor with AHS, told Lakeland This Week in a statement, “All CLAS operational staff in Cold Lake were offered positions by Associated Ambulance, with all but two accepting the offers.” 

Associated Ambulance transitioned a total of 35 paramedics from CLAS into their operations on Sept. 1. 

Rinne added, “The two positions that declined the transfer have been filled, and Associated Ambulance will provide the same number of staff and level of service as CLAS provided, ensuring patients needing EMS care in Cold Lake and area will continue to receive high-quality response to emergency care needs.” 

Included in AHS’s initial press release was a statement by Debra Petrochsky, the president of CLAS. 

“We extend thanks to our CLAS paramedic staff and administrative personnel for their commitment in the provision of quality healthcare to the Cold Lake area residents,” Petrochsky stated. “We’d also like to recognize the continued support from AHS, the City of Cold Lake, and numerous community supporters.” 

In a statement attributed to Cold Lake’s CAO Kevin Nagoya, he said “We wish to commend CLAS for its years of dedicated ambulance service to the community. The City of Cold Lake is looking forward to a strong working relationship with Associated Ambulance and we are pleased to know the staff who have served our community for so many years will continue to be the ones providing service in the future.” 

Associated Ambulance 

Associated Ambulance has been operating since 1977 and since incorporating, it has grown to provide Advanced Life Support and Basic Life Support Ambulance services to 21 rural municipalities covering a geographic area of 108,000 square km. 

“We are also grateful for the many years of experience CLAS staff and paramedics will be bringing to our organization,” said the CEO of Associated Ambulance, Terry Schueler, in a press release. 

“Associated Ambulance looks forward to being part of the Cold Lake community and investing in the future delivery of quality healthcare.”   

EMS services respond to more than 589,000 calls per year in Alberta, according to information provided by AHS. 

Jazmin Tremblay

About the Author: Jazmin Tremblay

Jazmin completed a minor in journalism at Hanze University in the Netherlands and completed her Communication Studies degree from MacEwan University with a major in journalism.
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