For more than a year, he had known Washakie County’s system was unsustainable. In an effort to ensure an ambulance remained in Worland, Mr. Sypherd reached out to Cody Regional Health, a hospital system based near Yellowstone National Park, and began exploring whether the agency would take over his ambulance company.

It is a trend that is gaining traction in rural states like Wyoming: In the absence of volunteer ambulance crews or sustainable funding from local governments, some struggling ambulance services are accepting takeovers from local hospitals and health care systems.

The system is not ideal, experts acknowledge, and it could leave large swaths of rural America disconcertingly far from ambulance service. Still, faced with the alternative, many crews like Mr. Sypherd’s are grudgingly accepting the help. In May, Washakie County Ambulance Service will become a Cody Regional Health ambulance company, and will keep many of Mr. Sypherd’s original crew on staff.

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Phillip Franklin, the director of Cody Regional Health’s ambulance program.

So far, Mr. Franklin and his team have taken over two struggling ambulance companies in northwest Wyoming, and they are trying to help others with their workload.

The reality, he says, is that without help from systems like Cody’s, many of the ambulances in rural Wyoming will fail.

“Someone is always going to have to subsidize rural America,” he said.

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