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COTATI – ProTransport-1 has recently expanded its ambulance services into Sacramento and Santa Clara counties and expects to move into Yolo, Sutter, Placer, and Santa Cruz counties later this year. This growth is in response to increased call volume for the type of ambulance transport the company focuses on as part of its business strategy.

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Cotati-based ProTransport-1 provides dedicated Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance transport for patients with urgent but less acute needs relative to life threatening emergency or 9-1-1 Advanced Life Support (ALS) transport. Because calls for ALS ambulance service always take precedence, BLS transport is frequently subject to delays depending upon the availability of ALS-capable ambulance rigs and crews at any given time

ProTransport-1 fields separate rigs and crews for both ALS and BLS transport services. Although Medicare reimbursement for BLS service is lower than ALS, ProTransport-1 does a high volume of calls by filling the BLS niche and focusing on customer service. The company has built its business by contracting with hospitals and health care facilities to service their regular BLS transport needs.

Current partners include multiple skilled nursing facilities in the North Bay, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Methodist Hospital in Sacramento, numerous Sutter Health hospitals, and other health care facilities, hospitals and health systems.

In addition to providing ambulance transport service, ProTransport-1 has also developed tools that enable partner health care facilities to place transport orders online and monitor the availability of beds in other facilities.

“Not only does this make us more efficient and able to handle more calls per shift, but these online services also help create greater efficiency for hospitals and health care facilities,” said Pro-Transport-1 spokeswoman Carly Clements. The company has a 95 percent on-time percentage, Ms. Clements added, referring the frequency at which Pro-Transport-1 ambulances come within 15 minutes of requested pick up times.

The company also came up with the concept of offering partner facilities the opportunity to customize Pro-Transport-1 rigs with their logos for marketing purposes. Currently 13 of the company’s fleet of 100 ambulances are branded.

Now a $35 million business, ProTransport-1 is one of the largest ambulance providers in the state. When founders Elena Whorton and Mike Sechrist started the company back in 2000 out of a garage with a single van, they were two paramedics simply looking to earn a decent living and fill a need they saw for their industry, said Ms. Clements.

In 2011, ProTransport-1 expects to go from 400 to 650 employees and add to its fleet of ambulances. The company is currently hiring and orienting about a dozen new employees weekly.