Ambulance repairs hit another speedbump - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Ambulance repairs hit another speedbump

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by Nick Delgado

Guam - The couple hundred thousand dollars the Guam Fire Department received last month to repair its ambulances are waiting to be spent. The holdup is GFD is still waiting for the parts to come in before repairs can be made and vendors can collect the money.

Things seem to be turning around at the Guam Fire Department. While the agency received $200,000 from the Department of Public Works' Public Safety Fund for ambulance repairs and the Guam Community College coming forward to help with repairs, it seems the problem what was once funding is now something else. GFD Spokesperson Captain Andy Arceo said, "Funding is not an issue right now, and that's the good thing...it's all up to the vendors right now - Triple J, Morrico, our maintenance crew is working on ours so its dependant on parts and whether or not they are available."

The announcement of the available funds in mid-February promised that more ambulances would be on the streets within days. Now two weeks later, GFD currently has just a hand full stationed in Barrigada, Tamuning, Yigo, Agat and Inarajan. Arceo says nine others are sitting in the shops waiting for the next move, telling KUAM News, "They are all being worked on and using money from the $200,000 that was appropriated, so right now we have a fleet of five on the road."

While Arceo says there shouldn't be anymore delays once parts come in, more assistance is being worked out to rid the decline in number of ambulances available to residents. "They will only be able to respond to non-emergencies and those are usually set up by appointment by patients and that would help GFD augment their shortage and leave the emergency response to GFD," he explained.

Republican senator Mana Silva Taijeron introduced Bill 91 to expand the scope of emergency medical services by recognizing non-medical transport services and allowing the private companies to work with the EMS Commission to establish regulations. "A lot of the regulations will be in line with the Medicare requirements, they do have to follow specific guidelines set by Medicare in order to bill for services provided," the freshman policymaker said.

GFD favors the legislation, however, Arceo says despite all the help it's still uncertain when more ambulances will be available to the community.

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