Local stakeholders move forward with Moffat County EMS District
Partnership would aim to alleviate financial challenges
A little over a year after announcing it could no longer sustain the current Advanced Life Support (ALS) service line (EMS), Memorial Regional Health and its partners — Craig Fire/Rescue, city of Craig and Moffat County — are progressing in a plan to solve a serious funding issue regarding the critical community service.
During the Feb. 24 MRH Board of Trustees meeting, an update regarding the future EMS district stated that the EMS partnership is still in the process of establishing service area boundary lines and has settled on a name for the district: Moffat County Health Services District.
Much still needs to be worked through with the district though, the updated said.
The goal of the intergovernmental task force that is overseeing the district plans is to come up with a sustainable 5-10 year budget for the district, create a service plan, and develop a mill levy that community members will support.
“We feel like we’re making a lot of progress,” MRH Chief Executive Officer Andy Daniels said. “We’re pretty hopeful that we’re going to get this thing right for a sustainable future.”
EMS first started in Craig in 1920 through Craig Fire/Rescue, which was under city management. After being unable to sustain EMS financially, management was transferred to the Moffat County commissioners in 1952, where EMS lived until 1990 when it was transferred to Memorial Regional Health.
“MRH has been sustaining it for a long time,” Daniels said. “In 2014, SEMTAC (State Emergency Medical and Trauma Services Advisory Council) studied EMS services in Moffat County and found that there was a lack of funding and a single county-wide EMS system was extremely fragmented.
“In 2018, MRH used another outside consultant who came up with similar observations as the 2014 study,” Daniels added. “It’s extremely fragmented here; no other rural area is trying to do it the way we’re trying to do it. We need a solution, and I’m happy to see everybody at the table nodding their head that this needs a permanent solution.”
The task force continues to work with Special Districts Attorney Paul Wisor on establishing the district, which should help eliminate unstable, fragmented care through an essential service to all 4,754 square-miles of the county.
In addition to MRH’s EMS division, Maybell has a volunteer ambulance service, while Trapper Mine and Craig Station have an in-house ambulance service. Craig Fire/Rescue has EMT’s on staff, but does not have an ambulance, while Classic Air Medical also operates in Moffat County. Maybell and Trapper Mine/ Craig Station routinely rendezvous with MRH’s ambulance service in the field for care.
In 2020 alone, Memorial Regional Health’s EMS division lost more than $675,000.
Through the potential EMS district, the task force hopes to sustain the EMS service and set up the district for financial success long term.
Members of the task force who are working through options and figuring out how to make sure this service remains viable include: Terry Carwile and Todd Jourgensen of the BOTs; Commissioner Melody Villard; City Councilor and Fire Board member Chris Nichols; EMS Supervisor Stayton Mosbey; EMS Manager Sarah Moore; MRH Chief Financial Officer Sam Radke; EMS Medical Director Jeff Womble, and MRH Medical Staff Coordinator Sherman Romney.
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