Mont. hospital system gifted $8M to form EMS consortium

The donation from former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. will provide resources and elevated emergency services to communities in Western Montana

By Leila Merrill

KALISPELL, Mont. — Logan Health will use an $8 million gift from the former owner of the San Francisco 49ers to create an EMS consortium, the hospital system announced Tuesday.

The consortium will provide resources and elevated emergency services to communities in Western Montana.

The former 49ers owner, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., owns a home near Kalispell, Montana Public Radio reported. He was convicted of bribing a former Louisiana governor over a gambling license, and was pardoned by former President Donald Trump.

A news release from the hospital system stated that the 2021 Amtrak Empire Builder derailment led to the idea to create the consortium.

“The scope and size of this incident and the number of patients involved necessitated a large response from many different communities and jurisdictions from a large portion of North Central and Northwest Montana,” said Wynand Nel, MD, medical director and chief of staff at Liberty Medical Center.  “In the wake of this disaster we quickly identified an opportunity for more proactive coordination between agencies, hospitals, and others.”

“According to Logan Health Emergency Medical Services Executive Director Ryan Pitts, RN, the consortium will enable more interoperability and communication between agencies; provide education and training programs to emergency medical services personnel; support local agencies with equipment and supplies through service enhancement grants, host annual conferences and more,” the hospital release states.

“Our goal is to build an infrastructure focused on the needs of patients in any emergency situation,” said Pitts. “I believe the connectivity, communication and collaboration that this consortium will achieve will be a game changer for patients in our region.”

The first members of the consortium include Logan Health hospitals and EMS services, but other regional agencies and organizations could participate.

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