Physicians Ambulance was founded in 1958 by Robert and Patricia Hess in Cleveland, Ohio. Their three children grew up around the business, working in the office at young ages, and eventually evolving into Managers under their parents’ direction. Their second son, Ron, became an EMT at the age of sixteen and is today the President/ CEO of the company.
Ron went on to have four kids, and his second son, Jason, is now the Vice President.
It is Physicians Ambulance’s Mission “to help and care for those who cannot for themselves,” and their business has deep roots in taking care of people. In Ron’s words, “taking care of people- that’s what we do, that’s what we’ve always done. We believe it is an honor and a privilege to be asked to transport someone’s parents, or loved one. We sincerely care.”
The business sold in 1994 to national company Rural/Metro (now American Medical Response (AMR)) and Physicians Ambulance was out of the marketplace until 2001. At the time of sale, Physicians Ambulance had locations throughout the State of Ohio and, by some accounts, was the third largest private ambulance company in the United States.
In 2001, on the heels of former customer prodding, Ron reentered the business and started Physicians Ambulance once again- this time from scratch, with his new business partner, Terry Finnerty, who came over from a competitor to help guide Physicians 2.0.
With the purchase of five used, beat up ambulances, Physicians was back- and many former employees and customers quickly jumped back on board. Though Physicians remained small, serving a niche market, from 2001-2008, Jason’s entry into the business in 2009, Ron and Terry’s business savvy, and excellent clinical leadership under Chief Paramedic Scott Wildenheim and former Chief Paramedic, now Medical Director, Dr. Don Spaner, began a wave of growth that is still in motion today.
Physicians Ambulance is now one of the largest private ambulance companies in Northeast Ohio, with over 50 vehicles and 200 employees. Their Critical Care, Advanced Life Support, Basic Life Support and Wheelchair Divisions service 10 Medical Centers, 110 Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Livings, 4 Professional Sports Teams, 6 Colleges and Universities, and a plethora of specialty clients in both the medical transport field and the Event Medicine field.
Physicians focuses most intently on patient care, and their clinical track record proves it. Practicing under one of the most advanced pre-hospital care protocols in the country, under the guise of two heavily involved Medical Directors, Physicians Ambulance is the only private EMS organization in the State of Ohio that is 100% American Heart Association compliant, Level I. This distinction includes both clinical competency measures, as well as advanced equipment measures and is a perfect example of Physicians’ dedication to giving their clinicians the best tools to work with. When it comes to employee and fleet investment, Physicians Ambulance is second to none.
The culture at Physicians Ambulance is family, family, family. That is what you see and how you feel when you walk into their Cleveland Headquarters (or any of their satellite bases in North Ridgeville, Akron and Ashland). All Senior Management believe in an open door policy, so meeting with the President, Vice Presidents, Directors or Managers to discuss ideas, issues or just to say hi, is easy to arrange.
The individuals who gravitate to Physicians are passionate, genuine, professional and caring. The company is diverse, and their hiring practices center around quality employees. In the words of Jason Hess, “When we’re hiring, we aren’t hiring based on what clinical skills you already have. We are hiring based on the person you are. The ethics, the moral code you follow. We can teach you the clinical side, that’s what we specialize in here as an Accredited Learning Center, but what we can’t teach you are those intangible qualities that are already instilled in you.”
Physicians Ambulance continues to grow, having opened up both the North Ridgeville office and the Ashland office in 2016, and the future is very bright. Take a first-hand look inside of Physicians Ambulance by viewing their video library here!