Gunnison Valley Health Paramedics are in serious need of a new station.
Over the past two decades, the crew has grown from a mostly volunteer
group of college students to a 24/7 professional staff of highly skilled
emergency responders. The 23-year-old existing station is a steel prefab
modular shell originally built for housing fewer and smaller ambulances,
far less equipment, a small fraction of the current staff, and there are
no sleeping quarters for on-call personnel.
A new station with sleeping quarters where all ambulances and apparatus
can be properly garaged and stored will greatly and positively impact
patient response time – saving lives. A realistic estimate is that
the new station will reduce 911 response time by about four minutes, and
new research links this quicker response to a projected 107% improvement
in cardiac arrest survival rates in Gunnison County.
A larger, updated station in a better location on the Gunnison Valley Health
campus will also improve patient safety, satisfaction rates and outcomes;
expand services, including first aid and Emergency Medical Training (EMT)
classes for the community; support the safety and health of the emergency
responders; and help our rural community recruit and retain health professionals.
Most people don’t think of paramedics until they need to call 911.
While hoping to never need to serve you, rest assured that a new station
will help GVH Paramedics provide you, your family and our community with
the best critical care medicine and rescue services available.
Gunnison Valley Health Paramedics service area is 4,400 square miles –
the largest response zone in Colorado. The district is massive, remote
and encompasses Gunnison, Almont, Ohio Creek Valley, Roaring Judy Valley,
Taylor River Canyon, Taylor Park, Tin Cup, Pitkin, Ohio City, Sargents,
Blue Mesa, Powderhorn and Currecanti communities, Arrowhead, the Fossil
Ridge, Collegiate Peaks and West Elk Wilderness Areas, Monarch Pass, Cottonwood
Pass and roadways deep into Saguache and Hinsdale Counties. Most residents
and visitors likely spend a generous portion of their time traveling and
recreating within the GVH Paramedics response zone.
911 call volume has more than doubled from about 600 annual calls twenty
years ago to about 1500 calls last year. This expansion is caused by increased
population and tourism in the region, as well as expanded service lines
including critical care level interfacility transports (IFTs) to hospitals
in Montrose, Grand Junction and Denver.
“As first responders we are passionate about saving lives and helping
our community. Morale remains relatively high, but the burden of increased
call volume combined with our current inadequate facility to respond,
rest and rehab weighs heavily on our crew,” explained CJ Malcolm,
Chief, Gunnison Valley Health Paramedics.
Despite the challenges, GVH Paramedics deliver some of the best service
in the state within the critical care scope of practice. Of the more than
200 Emergency Medical Service (EMS) agencies in Colorado, GVH Paramedics
were honored with the EMS Ambulance Service of the Year Award in 2020,
an enormous achievement during a pandemic year.
The new station requires funding from a capital campaign because GVH Paramedics
are not tax-funded, like fire and police departments. They are funded
by Gunnison Valley Health and insurance reimbursements. As health care
costs continue to rise, while reimbursement dollars shrink, health care
providers must raise the money needed to operate and be able to serve
the community over the long term.
The capital campaign goal is $8.5 million. The goal is intended to cover
architect fees, contractor fees and building construction costs, as well
as furniture, fixtures and equipment for the new station. As community
members are the ones most likely to benefit from the improved services
made possible by a new station, the focus of the campaign is to partner
with Gunnison Valley full and part-time residents. Gunnison Valley Health
Foundation will also pursue funding from local government, private foundations
“While there are many valuable charitable causes in our region, this
campaign meets one of the most fundamental needs in any community: quick,
reliable and exemplary emergency medical services, 24 hours a day, 365
days a year,” stated Jenny Birnie, Director, Gunnison Valley Health
The Gunnison Valley Health Foundation is an IRS designated nonprofit 501(c)(3)
organization, and donations are tax deductible. In addition, individuals
who pay Colorado State Income Tax are eligible for an Enterprise Zone
tax credit on their Colorado return. Donations of $100 or more earn a
25% tax credit.
There are multiple spaces in the new station available for naming rights
and individuals and businesses will be publicly recognized on a donor
thank you wall.
To donate and for more information on the campaign contact Jenny Birnie,
Director, Gunnison Valley Health Foundation at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 970.642.8400, or
click here to donate