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Heart Beat Ball proceeds will support purchase of new ambulance

The Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation proudly presents the second annual Heart Beat Ball fund-raiser set for this Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Pagosa Lodge, 7 p.m.

Tickets are $25 per person prior to the event and $30 at the door. Tickets can be purchased at the following businesses: Bank of the San Juans, Citizens Bank, Rio Grande Savings and Loan, Bank of Colorado and Pagosa Springs Medical Center.

The event will feature food from around the town and live and silent auctions.

Enjoy food samplings from these participating eateries: Boss Hoggs, Kip’s Grill and Cantina, Dorothy’s, Sweets and Such, Christine’s Cuisine, The Pines at the Pagosa Springs Golf Course, Farragos, Cafe Colorado, Alley House, Pagosa Mountain Coffee Roasting Company, Plaza Grille, Old Time Market’s Deli and Catering, and Colorado Cowboy Catering.  Event coordinator Tari Woods can be contacted at 731-8877 if you wish to donate food or auction items.

All proceeds from the event will support the purchase of a new ambulance for the Emergency Services Department of the Pagosa Springs Medical Center. As the only ambulance service in Archuleta County and portions of Hinsdale and Mineral counties, a new Type I four-wheel-drive ambulance is critically needed to meet the current life saving emergency service levels of our community. The new ambulance will replace a 10-year old ambulance, which, if not replaced soon could compromise the response time and quality of care.

The total cost of the new ambulance is $166,000. According to CEO Brad Cochennet, “The cost of the new ambulance includes over $34,000 in safety equipment upgrades.

This state-of-the-art ambulance will meet the growing emergency needs of our rural community.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment has committed a grant of $86,000 towards the purchase of the new ambulance. Plus, La Plata Electric Association has pledged an additional $20,000 and challenged the Pagosa Springs community to raise the balance of $60,000 by June 1, 2012.

The Pagosa Medical Center Emergency Medical Services department’s ambulance crews are dispatched to remote sections of the Archuleta County with significant response and transport times. Protecting the safety of our crew and patients is one of the primary purposes of purchasing the ambulance. Due to the large size (1,700 square miles) of our service area, the long transport to definitive care (116 miles average round trip), the mountainous terrain through deer and elk migration corridors, varying weather conditions and the large amount of poor quality roads (dirt/gravel) in our rural area, it is critical that the Pagosa Springs Medical Center has a reliable four-wheel-drive ambulance fleet and life saving equipment. Without continued safety upgrades, we could not meet the emergency needs of our community.

Providing the only ambulance service in the area, the Pagosa Medical Center is often called on to transport patients from medical facilities locally to specialty care and tertiary hospitals in Farmington (220 miles roundtrip), Pueblo (340 miles roundtrip), Grand Junction (458 miles roundtrip), Albuquerque (385 miles roundtrip) and Denver (680 miles roundtrip).

Emergency Medical Services Operations Manager Dave Bronson, states, “Even with our pro-active maintenance schedule, our 10-year-old ambulance has inherent problems; while service levels and patient safety have not been compromised, the Emergency Medical Services department would prefer to be proactive in replacing an aging ambulance before it becomes a safety concern.”

Join us in raising funds to support the purchase of a new ambulance. If you can’t attend the Heart Beat Ball this Saturday and wish to support our ambulance campaign, please consider making a donation today to the Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation. We are a foundation that supports the ongoing needs of the Pagosa Springs Medical Center. As a qualified 501(c)(3) organization all donations are tax deductible. Donations over $1,000 are eligible for the State of Colorado Enterprise Zone Tax Contribution Credit of 25 percent, which, depending on your tax bracket, could mean a gift of $1,000 would only “cost” you $500. Donations can be paid by check or by credit card.  To donate by check, please write “ambulance campaign” in the memo and send it to: Dr. Mary Fisher Medical Foundation, PO Box 3805, Pagosa Springs, CO  81147.

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