Where we are today
Gunnison Valley Health Paramedics has a rich history that navigates several organizational models, personnel demographics and service delivery models. In the early 1970s, the majority of the Western Slope’s emergency medical services were privately owned businesses. Understanding this model was unsustainable, County Governments and Fire Protection Districts soon took over emergency medical services. This was a successful situation in Gunnison for approximately 20 years until the County could no longer sustain a healthy emergency medical services team.
In the mid-1980s, local physician, Dr. John Tarr, advocated for a regional emergency medical services team to be managed by the local hospital in Gunnison. During this time, Dr. Tarr successfully transferred Gunnison County’s Emergency Medical Services to a hospital run system, and Gunnison Valley Health EMS (now Paramedics) was formed.
In the 1990s, Gunnison Valley Health Paramedics employed one director with a staff of volunteer EMTs and paramedics, many from Western State University. In the early 2000s Gunnison Valley Health Paramedics were still responding from home with a scheduled 32-hour work week. In 2014, Gunnison Valley Health Paramedics became a 24-hour onsite response service due to growing call volume and have experienced more than a 10 percent increase in volume year-over-year since 2017. This rapid expansion is caused by increased tourism in the region, as well as expanded service lines including critical care level interfacility transports to larger metropolitan hospitals outside Gunnison County.
Today, Gunnison Valley Health Paramedics is the largest, most stable 24/7 response group within the Gunnison region providing 21 full-time employees and another 15 PRN responders as needed. The team responds to approximately 1,500 calls per year and transport approximately 260 interfacility transports annually equating to over 70,000 ambulance miles.
Named Colorado’s Ambulance Service of the Year for 2020.
Gunnison Valley Health Paramedics is recognized and honored by the State of Colorado as, “an ambulance service which has become a leader in patient care, medical control, quality assurance, public education, public access, training and education.”