25 Jul 2011

Guam Fire Department uncertain of future of ambulances

10:55 am on 25 July 2011

The Guam Fire Department, which oversees the territory's emergency services, is on the verge of introducing a fee for ambulance call-outs.

The Department has a fleet of 14 but over the past few months the number of ambulances in operation has dropped to as few as two due to vehicle break-downs and a lack of funds to repair them.

Its spokesman, Captain Andy Arceo says 200-thousand US dollars worth of maintenance funding it received in March has now dried up and the Department is looking at new ways of generating revenue to pay for repairs.

"We don't charge for ambulance transport right now. We're right on the verge of actually awarding a company so that we can start billing Medicare, Medicade, the local insurance agencies to transport these people. So we're right on the verge of initiating that actually would be where we are going to get our money to buy new ambulances, to keep our fleet running."

Andy Arceo says the Guam Fire Department hopes to begin charging for any ambulance services from the end of August.