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What Is the Difference between Public and Private Ambulance Services?

Gary Reis

Gary Reis is the president of Triton Fleet Services as well as Med Tech Inc., both located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Gary Reis founded Med Tech in 1996 and grew his small private ambulance company into the state’s largest ambulance service.
The government, as part of a fire or police service, operates ambulances in many areas. This is common in rural areas where it is not cost-efficient to maintain a separate emergency medical service department. Fire- or police-linked services may sometimes send fire trucks or other emergency vehicles out with or instead of an ambulance.
On the other hand, private ambulance services have contracts with local government to provide medical services or emergency transportation. The level of medical care provided by these professional services varies by contract. In some cities, private ambulances are only under contract for transportation of patients. In other areas, private services are responsible for providing emergency medical care as well. Private ambulance services are also commonly used to provide standby for large events, when a police or fire services alone would not suffice in an emergency.                            
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