ROY — The Roy Fire Department will be growing a bit to meet new demands and additional workload.
Starting Oct. 1, the department took on transfer service of patients from Heritage Care Center — a 24-hour care facility in Roy.
The service was originally handled by Gold Cross Ambulance, a private ambulance service based in Salt Lake City.
Fire Chief Jason Poulsen decided it would be a good idea and an excellent revenue source if the department started doing the transfers.
He approached the care center with the idea, and officials there were happy to make the change, he said.
Because the care facility is within the department’s jurisdiction, the change wasn’t a difficult one.
Three days a week, emergency responders pick up care center patients who need mechanical breathing assistance and take them to their various doctor’s appointments.
Poulsen figures the department is doing about 12 transfers per week.
Because the service just started, the city doesn’t know how much revenue it will receive. The billing goes through Medicare and takes up to 45 days to process, said City Manager Chris Davis.
But no matter how much revenue is brought in, it will change things for the fire department in a big way.
“This is a huge deal — absolutely gigantic,” Poulsen said.
When he took over as the city’s fire chief this summer, he thought it would be a good idea to provide service to a facility in the city’s jurisdiction.
“I just wondered, why aren’t we doing this and why is an outside entity doing it?”
Both Poulsen and Davis said they like the idea of the Roy department having that relationship with city residents and for them to see those familiar faces every week.
“It’s good customer service,” Poulsen said.
Doing the transfers for Heritage Care Center will also be good preparation for when the department starts the service for Iasis Emergency Facility, set to open in May or June.
The Roy department will be the main transport for that facility.
The Heritage Care Center work will also give Poulsen a good idea of what kind of staffing he will need for the department to do a good job for Iasis.
The department is still running with the same staff but will be adding more soon.
Poulsen has just added 12 part-time employees who are in training and completing paperwork.
The only problem with part-time employees is that they often have full-time jobs as firefighters and emergency responders for other cities, so juggling schedules can be tricky, Davis said.
Poulsen has a pool of 30 part-timers now.
“It has bumped things up, and they are a little more robust now,” Davis said.
Once the routine for the Heritage transfers is more solid and revenues are measured, the department will assess what kind of hiring is needed, Poulsen and Davis said.
That same process will occur again once Iasis opens. Workload will increase and change, which is a positive thing, Poulsen said.
“Right now,” Davis said, “we just don’t know the magnitude this will have.”
Poulsen said this is an exciting time for the department because its work hasn’t changed much for many years.
Things will change and also improve, although things haven’t been bad, he said.
Davis told the Roy City Council at a recent meeting that the transfers were up and running.
Mayor Joe Ritchie and council members said they look forward to the revenue and positive image the work will give the city.