Providing EMS to western Moffat County too costly for Rangely

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— The rising cost of doing business has not spared Rangely District Hospital's Emergency Medical Services.

For the past 47 years, Rangely ambulances have served much of western Moffat County, from the Utah border halfway to Maybell and north to the bottom of Echo Park, said Shanna Kinney, Rangely District Hospital ambulance director.

"The cost has gone up and increased," Kinney said. "We have our own mill levy through the hospital. The problem is, we don't get any tax money from Moffat County.

"These are costs we just have to eat."

In the past three years, Rangely ambulance calls to Moffat County have increased more than 100 percent, Kinney said. It's up to more than 300 calls per year.

"We cover a huge area," Kinney added.

She estimated that area to be about 3,600 square miles.

Rio Blanco voters recently striking down funding for a proposed hospital district in the November election further squeezes circumstances for the ambulance service.

Without that funding, and without help from Moffat County for serving its population, the future doesn't look good, Kinney said.

"There are times when I have two rigs out on Highway 40 and that leaves our Rangely area uncovered," she told the Moffat County Commission. "We're not getting compensated for that."

Adding to the cost, it's now a policy that the Rangely Fire Department accompany ambulances on their calls, Kinney said.

"It's a hit-or-miss if the Dinosaur Fire Department or the (Moffat County) Fire District respond," she said.

The Commission sympathized with Kinney, but said money is tight everywhere as counties in Northwest Colorado are trying to keep up with costs related to the energy industry - such as keeping up with road maintenance and repairs - and also needs stemming from population increases.

"I think for us, as the commissioners, we ought to evaluate the situation and come up with something, if somewhere (in the county budget) we can help, I would support that," Commissioner Saed Tayyara said.

If the Rangely hospital has been all right for the past 47 years, though, it stands to reason they could be all right for a little while longer, Tayyara added.

"We've tried doing things where we didn't have to (ask for money)," Kinney said. "But it's getting to the point where we just can't do that anymore."

Tayyara recommended Kinney do what Moffat County has done recently and seek Colorado Department of Local Affairs grants.

Moffat County emergency calls have risen dramatically, also, said Tom Soos, The Memorial Hospital Emergency Medical Services director.

Between more highway collisions and additional illnesses and accidents from an increasing number of oil workers, Moffat EMS sees about 60 to 70 more calls each year.

The increasing needs further illustrate Northwest Colorado's needs for DOLA energy impact grants, Tayyara said. Recent speculation in Denver has suggested severance tax dollars, which make up the majority of DOLA's energy impact fund, might go toward statewide concerns such as higher education in the next state legislative session.

"We have to protect our interests and push for them," Tayyara said. "Just because there is more money in that (DOLA's grant) fund, doesn't give the governor the right to raze that fund."

Comments

rangelyrifleman 6 years, 8 months ago

The comments made by a 'respectable' member of the MoCo County Commission really steam me. Maybe it's time those commissioners started taking care of their own citizens instead of letting another county do it for them. Yeah I know know you've gotten away with it for forty some-odd years and another 50 or so shouldn't make any difference, but after all you have to take care of yourselves right. I just hope it's not my family that needs EMS services on CO 64 or 139 in RBC while our EMS rigs are in MoCo on US 40 servicing Saed Tayera's family. I cannot imagine the unmitigated gall of that clown telling Ms Kinney to 'apply for a grant' to cover his county.
I know the EMS people here, I trust them, they will go where and whenever they are called to serve. But as citizens of RBC we cannot afford to let Saed Tayera and his cohorts use them without being charged full and complete costs for hourly and mileage rates as well as replacement costs, our own lives and health are at stake.

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lonelyone 6 years, 8 months ago

I agree the whole issue sounds kind of petty. I would hope tho that we could continue to be neighbor helping neighbor. The people way out west are so far from Craig, that by the time our EMS got there, it would in all likely hood be too late. I think Moffat County should pay you back something, some how, but I also know that your EMS people don't do this for nothing. They have to be charging something to the patient. Ambulances do not run for free! Nor do the EMTs do anything for free.

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grannyrett 6 years, 8 months ago

I had assumed that the cost of using an ambulance was billed to the patient. Am i wrong? I know Moffat County is so big that they need help from their neighbors. It doesn't seem right not to compensate them for this. But-again I go back, isn't it billed to the patient? If not, it should be. We carry insurance that should cover these costs.

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rangelyrifleman 6 years, 8 months ago

Points well taken. perhaps the victims are paying the bills. In any case Tayeras tone and his attitude really jacked me up. We'll see what happens when the majority of RBC citizens get wind of his comments and attitude, I don't think I'd want to be him. I forwarded his comments and the Craig Daily Press article to the Rio Blanco Herald Times.

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lonelyone 6 years, 8 months ago

Native, good points. I had not thought of our neighbors to the north nor Colo-Wyo, when writing my comment. I hope this can be worked out for all parties, because as you say, this is a much needed service to so many people.

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grannyrett 6 years, 8 months ago

rangelyrifleman-Please come back and post when you get more on this. We know what a valuable service the Rio Blanco ambulance does. It is comforting to know that if we need them in that area, they will be there. The ambulances from Craig are so far away, we would be dead before they could make it down there. Let everyone down in your neck of the woods know that not everyone agrees with Tayera. We appreciate the service and training these people do for all our benefit. Thanks

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rangelyrifleman 6 years, 8 months ago

After doing what I do best, that is, indulging in research, I discovered that there is more to this than was reported. First off, the CDP reporter didn't report the conversations completely. He did what reporters are paid to do, he printed an article designed to sell newspapers.
The Rangely EMS provides a service primarily to western RBC, but they are available to people in need in western MoCo, as well as Garfield County, and portions of Mesa County. So I guess you can see my concerns after reading the comments attributed to Mr. Tayera, which as reported, were incomplete. The reporter for the Craig Daily Press should retract his original article and reprint the article with it's full truthful content. I apologize to Saed Tayera for any rude or untruthful comments regarding this subject.

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jraehal 6 years, 8 months ago

Thank you for your comments. I want to let you know the paper takes your concerns seriously. Therefore, we contacted the County Commissioners to see if they believe we "did not report the conversations completely," or if the story was incomplete or lacking information. We also viewed the meeting minutes on the commissioners Web site, and we are scheduled to have the tape of the meeting at our office. The commissioners told us that they believe the article was truthful and the conversations were reported accurately from the meeting. Saed also said if someone has questions about it, he would gladly discuss it with them, 824-9155. If there is another angle we need to look at this story, please let me know Again, thank you for your comments, debate and points raised.

Jerry Raehal Daily Press editor

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