Moffat County Commission hears plans for proposed health services district

Ellen Fike
For the Craig Press

Moffat County is currently a “dinosaur area” when it comes to emergency medical services, and the officials at Memorial Regional Health are working to improve this situation.

Chief Financial Officer Sam Radke explained to the Moffat County Board of Commissioners this week that the need for a countywide emergency management framework was established in 2014 following recommendation from the Colorado Emergency Medical Trauma and Advisory Council.

“This was after they had reviewed the services that were being provided through the three, somewhat disjointed, services,” Radke said.

He added that over his career and working with 17 different rural hospitals, they all should have at least two things: ambulance services and a doctor’s office staffed with a nurse who can provide basic medical treatment.

Radke noted that of all the hospitals he has worked with, only one rural hospital did not have emergency management services, and it was in West Africa.

Memorial Regional Health currently has three ambulances, but the emergency services team also covers an area of 4,754 square miles in northwestern Colorado.

Radke explained that the emergency services district would essentially take what is already provided on the east side of the county and expand it. An emergency services district is basically a form of government, presiding over the county’s emergency medical services, from fire to police to medical.

The ESD is paid for through mill levies. The Moffat County district would consolidate the volunteer ambulance services, emergency medical services in Maybell and the rest of the small emergency service providers in the area.

It was also noted that once formed, the hospital would donate all of the equipment and ambulances to the district, a valuation of $950,000. The county wouldn’t be taking on any debt by creating the district, as all of it would be funded through mill levies and other taxes.

The district would also not be subject to any of the local medical providers’ budgets, meaning it would not affect the hospital’s funds and vice versa. The lowest operational budget that officials have managed to come up with that would be the least impactful to Moffat County property owners would be $2.5 million.

The follow-up hearing on the emergency services district will take place in June.

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