Letter to the editor: Vote yes for EMS
Numerous inaccuracies have been raised surrounding the Health Services District. Allow me to address a few of those. In 2014, local EMS systems were reviewed by SEMTAC. “Develop a county-wide ambulance structure,” was one of many recommendations. Another consultant in 2018 described Moffat County as “a fragmented system of ambulance deployment which is found to be both costly and ripe with opportunity for improvement.”
An intergovernmental task force gathered in early 2020 to research the future of EMS and sought to secure permanent financial sustainability of ambulances within Moffat County. This task force received representation from Craig Fire, City Council, Moffat County Commissioners, Emergency Management and Reserves Ambulance, Maybell Ambulance, Moffat County’s EMS Medical Director, Artesia Fire, Dinosaur Marshalls Office, and Memorial Regional Health. All were invited to provide valuable feedback, though not all parties engaged, there were no exclusions and no one lied. The task force communicated with every Colorado ambulance service operated by a critical access hospital, researched dozens of deployment models and explored a multitude of funding avenues. Options weighed by the task force were published by the newspaper beginning Feb. 24, 2020, and the topic has been regularly covered since. The heavily researched process was highly organized and progressed slowly. An HSD was determined to be the most logical and economical manner to permanently sustain EMS county-wide in preparation for the difficult years ahead.
MRH is not approaching the community for additional tax dollars. A five-member board will direct the HSD, completely independently of MRH. MRH agreed to temporarily provide support services, but the HSD board will have the challenge of outsourcing those functions. We can all agree that MRH should not gain any additional control or collect any additional taxes.
The $600,000-plus price tag to MRH for operating Craig EMS is no secret. MRH has been clear and public about their inability to fund EMS. Moffat County suffers too. Since 2019, The Reserve Ambulance and Maybell Volunteers have operated at an estimated loss of $157,683 combined. Moffat County has some very difficult decisions. Will the two volunteer services survive the next decade at that expense? Will Craig EMS survive even another year without measures 6A and 6B? For those who “don’t believe” that EMS services will be cut, remember the billing, labor and delivery, and crisis advocates departments?
Voting YES on 6A & 6B ensures an ambulance continues to show up.
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