(Newaygo County, Michigan, May 23, 2016) –Life EMS Ambulance Paramedics Dan Degen and Rob Benson figure they have saved the lives of dozens of local men and women during their lengthy careers as first responders.

MI Paramedics of the YearWhile the duo believes ALL life-saving events are memorable, they won’t soon forget the July 1, 2015 shift they worked together. That’s when Degen and Benson were attending to a patient onboard their ambulance. The patient, who had earlier experienced cardiac arrest, was being transported emergently from Geber Memorial Hospital in Fremont to the Meijer Heart Center in Grand Rapids. During the 46-mile emergency transport, a vehicle heading in the opposite direction veered off M-37 near Sparta and directly head-on into the ambulance. The impact of the crash killed the other driver instantly. The EMT driving the ambulance suffered multiple leg fractures, with Degen and Benson also incurring serious injuries.

Despite having suffered significant injuries, the experienced medics continued to provide highly skilled, life-saving care to the patient, who was able to maintain stable vital signs and experienced no changes in her cardiac condition.

Degen and Bensons’ efforts have earned them the 2016 Michigan EMS Practitioner of the Year award. While the prestigious honor is bestowed upon one medic, the Michigan EMS Practitioners Association (MiEMSPA) extended the award to include both Degen and Benson.

“This award truly epitomizes the extent of their life-saving work, as well as honors the exceptional on-board safety practices in place which tremendously reduced their likelihood of more serious harm,” said MiEMSPA’s Executive Director, Angela Madden.

“Their ability to provide highly skilled care after being seriously injured themselves kept this patient alive and ultimately led to her successful discharge, following cardiac catheterization,” said Jeff Stockhill, northern Michigan operations supervisor for Life EMS Ambulance.

Added Mark Meijer, founder and president of Life EMS Ambulance: “This was an extraordinary circumstance, with an extraordinary response and outcome to a truly tragic event. We are proud of their skills, professionalism and patient focus at all times.”


About Life EMS Ambulance:

Founded in 1980, Life EMS Ambulance has consistently reduced response time while providing compassionate emergency care. Life EMS Ambulance was the first ambulance service in West Michigan, and among the first in the country to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Ambulance Services, the gold standard in the EMS industry. Life EMS Ambulance responds to medical emergencies throughout 3,600 square miles of West Michigan, including Grand Rapids/Kent, Portage/Kalamazoo, Ottawa, Ionia, Newaygo, Lake, Mason, Allegan and Van Buren counties. The company has also earned consecutive distinctions as “West Michigan’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For.” Additional information can be found at www.lifeems.com.

Life Care Plus Membership Agreement

I understand that I am responsible for payment of ambulance services. The annual $49 membership fee for Life Care Plus discounts my out-of-pocket cost related to ambulance transports covered by insurance ($79 membership fee for those without insurance coverage) for medically necessary ground ambulance transportation provided by Life EMS.

I understand that my membership is effective upon receipt of full payment and signed membership contract, and coverage is through April 30th of the year following my sign-up.

I understand that Life Care Plus is not insurance and that Life Care Plus will bill for payments from my insurer or third party agency, (e.g. Medicare, BCBS, etc.) including any supplemental or complementary insurance. If the insurance company sends me a check for services rendered by LIFE EMS AMBULANCE, I agree to promptly forward that check to LIFE EMS AMBULANCE. I hereby authorize payment directly to LIFE EMS for ambulance services otherwise payable to me. I authorize any holder of medical or other information about me, to release to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), its agents, other insurance carriers, or LIFE EMS, any information needed to determine these benefits in the past, now or in the future.

I understand that Life Care Plus Membership Services are restricted to “medically necessary ambulance service”, defined as the specific need for ambulance service transportation to and from a hospital within the LIFE EMS service area in Kent, Ottawa, Kalamazoo, Newaygo, Lake, Ionia/Belding, Mason, Allegan counties, Georgetown/Hudsonville/Jamestown areas and NE Van Buren County (specific coverage area description available from the LIFE EMS business office), where use of alternate forms of transportation (wheelchair van, private car, taxi) would be medically inappropriate given the patient’s condition. LIFE EMS may require physician certification of the medical necessity of ambulance transport. I understand this membership can be terminated by LIFE EMS if it has evidence of abuse of this program. Ambulance transport to such places as a physician’s office is not covered.

I understand that if long-distance, non-emergency ambulance services are required outside the LIFE EMS service area, additional fees may be charged to me by LIFE EMS.

Wheelchair/Mobility Transportation and other services are available at special “member only” discounted rates. Please contact the business office for details.

The Life Care Plus program covers those residing in your household. A “household” is defined as self and spouse, or single parent, their children under the age of 26 years living at the same address, or a single individual household. I UNDERSTAND THAT I MUST USE THE SERVICES OF LIFE EMS AMBULANCE IN ORDER TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS.

I understand that my initial membership payment covers the time period from the date on which Life EMS receives my signed contract and my full payment, and continues until April 30 of the year following my sign-up. Membership fees are not refundable, even if I attempt to terminate during a term.

Serving you throughout the Greater Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo/Portage, Ionia/Belding, Newaygo, Lake & Mason Co’s, Allegan, and now Georgetown/Hudsonville/Jamestown areas and NE Van Buren County.