Employees of Northern Light AR Gould Hospital, as well as several area town managers, have been notified that the health care facility is discontinuing its 911 ambulance services sometime after the end of this year.

The decision affects the greater Presque Isle region only and has no bearing on other EMS offerings in the Northern Light Health family.

Hospital president Greg LaFrancois said the decision to shut down the ambulance service wasn't an easy one. "We have been committed to providing safe, quality emergency care to communities in our region for over 30 years.  We understand the ending of this service will cause uncertainty in some communities.”

LaFrancois adds he could see the writing on the wall after several central Aroostook towns decided to change their contracted 911 provider. “There is insufficient volume in 911 calls to maintain a service that meets our quality standards."

The Presque Isle area will not be without emergency ambulance service. The Presque Isle Fire Department has provided 911 service for the past two years, according to LaFrancois, and he feels confident they will be capable of expanding their service area.

After the stoppage, the hospital will focus more attention on its Critical Care Transport and interfacility transfer services.