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On May 29, 2008 the Government of Alberta announced that the responsibility for ground ambulance services will be transferred from municipalities to the new provincial health authority with the transition taking full effect on April 1, 2009. Since the announcement, staff have arranged monthly conference calls with the Transition Team at Alberta Health and Wellness so as to provide input and stay up to date on progress.Over the summer, the Transition Team met with all municipalities to plan EMS transitions, and submitted Business Plans to the Minister on August 29. These plans wil be made public as the minister approves them. The next step for the transition is Contract Negotiation. Municipalities will be approached soon by a Contract Negotiation Team to work out the details of individual transitions. There are concerns over the purchase and transfer of assets and while it has yet to be determined what will happen, the Minister has indicated that he is open to fair negotiations. It is also still unknown as to what the plans are for integrated fire and ambulance systems.On August 22, the AAMDC met with the Honourable Ron Liepert, Minister of Health and Wellness. Minister Liepert clarified that all first responders (fire departments, in particular) will be incorporated into the provincial ambulance system. While fire departments will remain a municipal responsibility, the refinement and development of the provincial ambulance system will consider their operations and role as first responders. The Minister assured the AAMDC that service levels will remain unchanged for one year, and any changes after that time period will be done in consultations with all affected communities. He stressed that the goal is to increase the quality of services and efficiencies by sharing the best practices throughout the province.At this point, the most recent news on the ambulance transition are the following statistics:- 80 licensed ambulance services in Alberta- Of these, 26 are currently provided by the municipalities directly and 54 are provided by private companies under contract- Of those owned and operated by municipalities, 10 (including Edmonton and Calgary) have indicated their intent to get out while 16 have indicated their intent to stay; and- Of those that have indicated their intent to stay, 12 are integrated departments.The AAMDC Board met with Minister Liepert in February 2009, inquiring about the elimination of the Emergency Medical Responder (EMR) level of service. In follow-up correspondence, Alberta Health and Wellness confirmed that ALS and BLS will be the only levels of ground ambulance operators under the new framework. However, it is further noted that it is not the intent to phase out the EMR as a catagory of EMS practiconer.