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May 20, 2024
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County celebrates new ambulance fleet at Saint Louise Regional Hospital

Vehicles designed for variety of transport among hospitals, clinics

A fleet of 12 new ambulances dedicated to transporting patients among the county’s hospitals and medical offices was unveiled at Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy on May 9. 

The new emergency medical vehicles will improve transport times among Santa Clara Valley Healthcare’s three hospitals—SLRH, O’Connor Hospital and Valley Medical Center—and 16 clinics located throughout the county from Palo Alto to Gilroy, according to county officials. 

“This investment today means that, for almost 2 million residents…this is access for our residents, for our neighbors, parents, uncles, aunts, to get…medical care in a timely manner,” Santa Clara County Supervisor Sylvia Arenas said at the May 9 fleet unveiling event. 

“I’m thrilled that we’re here today in Gilroy to see this new investment that will improve the quality of care and timeliness of treatments for our most vulnerable residents, across all of Santa Clara County and especially in areas like South County,” added Arenas, who represents South County on the board of supervisors. 

After comments spoken by Arenas and other local officials, along with supporters of the hospital, paramedics and staff of Westmed Emergency Services—the county’s EMS contractor—drove the 12 new ambulances onto the front lawn of the Gilroy hospital for photo opportunities and to offer more information about the fleet. 

Nine of the new ambulances are converted Sprinter vans that are specifically designed for basic interhospital transfers, SCVH staff said. One of the new ambulances is an advanced life support vessel; one is designed for neonatal intensive care transport; and one is a critical care transport ambulance. 

The new fleet will be particularly helpful in carrying patients from South County more than 30 miles for specialized treatments at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and O’Connor Hospital, county staff added. This could include non-emergency transfers from hospital to hospital, for behavioral health needs, Custody Health Services, or providing safe and secure travel from a skilled nursing facility and back.

Gilroy Mayor Marie Blankley said at the May 9 ceremony that she is grateful for the county health system’s attention to South County. 

“We, the community, appreciate not only keeping this hospital…but also the continuing investment in the area,” Blankley said. “Celebrations like this today show the county, its board of supervisors and (SCVH) leadership truly value healthcare that reaches everyone.” 

Paul Lorenz, CEO of Santa Clara Valley Healthcare, added in a statement, “This new ambulatory fleet provides increased flexibility and ensures patients are transported in a timely manner to the designated care location. This was made possible through a private and public partnership with Westmed Ambulance Service and we thank them for their support.”

A portion of the cost of the new ambulance fleet came from donations from the community to The Friends of Saint Louise Advisory Board, which is part of the Valley Health Foundation. 

“It was our donor base in South County that initially responded and they played a significant role in bringing us to this point,” said Michael Elliott, President and Executive Director for Valley Health Foundation.

Michael Moore
Michael Moore
Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.

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