Moffat County dissolves EMS task force

After nearly a year of working to find a framework for countywide emergency medical services, the county-appointed EMS task force was dissolved by Moffat County commissioners this week.

On Tuesday morning, Oct. 11, county commissioners officially disbanded the task force that was assembled in January in response to the failed 2020 ballot measures 6A and 6B, which would have created a special services district for countywide EMS. 

There were originally nine community members selected to serve on the task force, which included proponents on both sides of the ballot measures. The task force was asked to gather and review data from existing EMS providers in Moffat County and make a recommendation on how to move forward. 

After gathering and reviewing available information for existing EMS, task force members recommended that EMS go under the county so it would be responsible to taxpayers and service all of Moffat County. However, the recommendation would require buy-in from other local entities to pay into a shared service. 

Some task force members and community stakeholders worried that the task force’s recommendation did not include a solution to start EMS in Dinosaur, and they felt like the efforts should focus more on starting services in Dinosaur and improving EMS in Maybell. 

Officials at Memorial Regional Health have said the hospital has no plan to stop its EMS services, so existing services will be maintained while county officials work to find a solution for Dinosaur. 

In Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioner Donald Broom said that because of these factors, commissioners have come to the conclusion that the task force is no longer needed. 

“I think the EMS task force did a great job,” Commissioner Tony Bohrer said. “They crunched numbers, they worked together for almost a year and I thought it was pretty productive. They brought a bunch of agencies together.” 

During the September EMS meeting, where the task force made its recommendation, County Commissioners agreed to continue working on Dinosaur and Maybell EMS. After that meeting a couple of task force members and stakeholders withdrew from the task force efforts. 

“When we talked at that meeting our next steps, as commissioners, was to take that on but we weren’t very clear on that,” said Commissioner Melody Villard. “I also didn’t want it to pass that the task force just fell apart, we appointed them and we appreciate the work that they did.” 

Over the last 11 months, task force members reviewed financials, call data and staffing models for Memorial Regional Health EMS and Maybell EMS. Maybell EMS currently receives $30,000 per year in funding from Moffat County, while MRH does not.

There is currently no EMS service in Dinosaur, which is 87 miles west of Craig, so there was no financial data to review. Emergency calls in Dinosaur are serviced by an ambulance in Vernal, Utah, 40 miles further west from Dinosaur. 

Gold Cross Ambulance, which administers the Vernal ambulance and is headquartered in Salt Lake, Utah, did not respond to the task force requests for call data and financial information for services to Dinosaur. 

Several community members in Dinosaur are working toward their EMS certification through a training program in Vernal, Utah. The next step for County Commissioners is to meet with leaders in Dinosaur to determine what will be needed, and Commissioner Bohrer said that it sounded like the hospital would be willing to jump in and help with the effort.

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