FILLING A VOID IN THE VALLEY New ambulance service is going places

The owner said about 75 percent of her business is nonemergency transportation.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Jessica Carter was a college student doing a social-work internship at a local hospital when she first noticed there weren't enough ambulances to go around.
Too often, she saw patients forced to wait for hours because they couldn't get ambulance or wheelchair-vehicle transport to their homes, assisted-care centers or nursing homes. Sometimes the transportation problem forced patients to stay an extra day.
The situation made Carter angry at first, but it also sparked an idea.
Now, the 29-year-old entrepreneur is the owner and area director of the city's newest ambulance service, Consolidated Ambulance, based at 3600 Southern Blvd.
The business, a branch office of a Columbus-based ambulance company, has 15 full- and part-time employees, including emergency medical technicians, paramedics, ambulance drivers, dispatchers and office personnel. Carter expects to hire more as her customer base grows.
Consolidated has three ambulances and one wheelchair-transport vehicle, or ambulette, and its staff has made 250 trips since it opened in April. Operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with some evening hours, but Carter aims to expand gradually to 24 hours as business builds.
Consolidated's facility, staff and vehicles are certified by the Ohio Ambulance Licensing Board and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Most common trips
Carter said agency-to-agency transportation, such as delivering patients from nursing homes to hospitals or medical offices, makes up about 75 percent of Consolidated's business; emergency transport makes up the other 25 percent.
"We've even taken people to weddings and funerals in our ambulette. Whatever they need," she said.
Emergency service is limited to within Youngstown and Boardman to ensure a quick response.
Kelly Bruner, a paramedic with 15 years' experience in emergency services, is Carter's general manager.
Mahoning County 911 is in the first year of a two-year exclusive ambulance contract with Rural Metro, so most emergency calls will go to that company, she said. However, emergency calls can be referred to Consolidated when a patient requests it.
Other business
The ambulance company is Carter's second business.
She had been operating her 4-year-old medical staffing business out of her Youngstown home, but now the business she calls Personal Nursing Care is also based at the Southern Boulevard location. Carter's husband, John, is managing the staffing company while she concentrates on the ambulance business.
The business owner is a senior majoring in medical social work at Youngstown State University. She will serve her second semester as president of the Student Association of Black Social Workers this fall, and she was president of the Student Social Work Association in the spring.

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