Guest Editorial: A yes on 6A and 6B is the right choice
Being a parent, the mom of three boys, is one of the biggest blessings of my life. The sole responsibility to love, nourish, teach, guide, and protect our children is an inexpressible joy. It’s also made me realize the role our community plays in providing basic necessities like reliable emergency response services. If you’re a parent, you know that a broken arm is just around the corner. That is why I am voting YES on 6A and 6B, and I hope you will join me in protecting our critical EMS services in Moffat County.
My family has called Craig home for 10 years. I have many roles that coordinate with EMS. I’m a 911 dispatcher, a certified training officer, shift team leader, and a medical dispatching instructor. Emergencies require support, and that often includes some level of medical attention. A cut to EMS services would disrupt the ways 911 dispatchers are able to get our community the help they need. 6A and 6B is a very conservative and reasonable measure that ensures families like yours and mine don’t have to worry about getting medical help when we call 911. The $35 per year is invaluable when you look at this measure through the lens of a parent or caretaker.
Some of you may not realize that our EMS services have never been on stable footing. Over the years, EMS has been a part of the City of Craig, Moffat County, the Fire District, and now Memorial Regional Health. Our community has tried many avenues, yet, each entity has been ultimately unsuccessful due to a lack of reliable funds to sustain and support the service. This isn’t a failure. It’s a realization that we need to do this differently. A Moffat County Health Services District will provide long term stability and certainty for all residents.
The Moffat County Health Services District, if approved, would be a local solution to sustaining EMS for our community. Moffat County would have an independent EMS district and they would no longer need to rely on an outside entity to oversee the administration and execution of EMS services. This will completely eliminate Memorial Regional Health’s control over EMS services. All existing EMS equipment, including ambulances, will be gifted at no cost to the newly formed District.
While the district would formally become responsible for EMS, it won’t take control away from local EMS providers like Maybell’s Volunteer program. The district will enhance, build, and strengthen what our county currently operates. For example, there would be dedicated and dependable funding for Maybell’s Volunteer EMS service as well as a first-ever ambulance dispatched from Dinosaur. Dinosaur residents currently depend on help from Utah. If I get a call for a cardiac arrest, where time is not your friend, it can go downhill fast.
The Health Services District will provide a sustainable, long term revenue stream to keep every community within the county safe and give residents local control over tax dollars. Moffat County is going through a lot. From the closure of the mine and power plant to the realities of living in Rural Colorado in 2021, we have some challenging times ahead. Voting YES on 6A and 6B means we will have one less worry on our plates. This is an opportunity for all of us to look ahead and prepare for what we know is coming.
There is a lot of information floating around about the health services district. Some of it has merit, but a lot of it is just gossip. People have made this campaign about the hospital and have tried to use personal misgivings of MRH to thwart support for an independent EMS service. The fact of the matter is that this isn’t about the hospital. In fact, voting for 6A and 6B completely removes MRHs control over EMS services in Moffat County.
You may have heard that this measure is exempted from the constitution. This is patently false. In no way does the ballot language in 6A and 6B allow the Health Service District to circumvent state or constitutional laws. Can we all agree that this is as bogus as it sounds? We’ve already voted to approve measures that include the same boilerplate language into law in previous elections.
Another whisper I’ve heard lingering in town is that EMS can be all volunteer. Did you know that since January of 2020, our EMS have helped 3,095 lives, conducted 221 flight-for-life missions, transported 1,894 people to needed medical care, and assisted Maybell with 18 emergency calls? It would be impossible to employ the number of volunteers we would need to cover this level of emergencies – let alone conduct a flight-for-life transport. While some parts of Moffat County have a well-trained and dependable volunteer EMS program, like Maybell, it’s not a solution for the entire county.
I’ll end with some levity because campaigns can be stressful, especially when you don’t know what to believe. EMS has a saying and a running joke to always be “body, substance, isolation, and scene safe.” This is a protocol we practice to make sure foreign substances and the scene are safe. EMTs carry this with them jokingly while not on the clock. Let’s not let the joke be on us because we deserve a safe community. Please join me in voting YES on 6A and 6B. Learn more at http://www.mchealthservices.com.
Brandi Miller, Craig Resident and 911 Dispatcher
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