A Brief History
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 CEO of the company.
Ron went on to have four kids, and his second son, Jason, 34, is now the President, having returned to work in the family business after college at age 23.
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 a national company 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, Vice President, Business Development, 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, now Vice President, Operations, Scott Wildenheim and former Chief Paramedic, now Lead Medical Director, Dr. Don Spaner, began a wave of growth that is still in motion today.
Today Physicians Ambulance is one of the largest private ambulance companies in Northern Ohio, with over 60 vehicles and just shy of 300 employees. Their Critical Care, Advanced Life Support, Basic Life Support and Wheelchair Divisions service 14 Medical Centers, 120 Skilled Nursing Facilities and Assisted Livings, 4 Professional Sports Teams, 5 Colleges and Universities, 25 High Schools for Football, Track and Swimming, 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 2 heavily involved Medical Directors, Physicians Ambulance is the only private EMS organization in the State of Ohio 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.
Anywhere you chose to work, you get back what you give in. This is why Physicians Ambulance’s hiring practices center around the individual, who hopefully embodies the characteristics to not only join the Physicians Family but, in time, advance the Physicians Initiative by making their own lasting impact. Simply put, 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 Elyria, Kent, Ashland, Warren, Youngstown, Smithville or, soon, Chardon). Everybody in Leadership believes in and lives by 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. We know are better together.
The individuals who gravitate to Physicians are passionate, genuine, professional and caring. Physicians operates in busy systems, and work ethic is paramount. 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 recently upgraded their North Ridgeville office to Elyria, opened up in Warren and Youngstown, as well as in Smithville near Wooster, Ohio. The future is bright, but the future has and always will center around the clinicians and support staff that Join Our Mission.
Take a first-hand look inside of Physicians Ambulance by viewing their video library here: