Fairfield Ledger
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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Consider publicly run ambulance

By Bob Palm | Mar 08, 2018

To the editor:

Many of you like me may have become aware of an ongoing conversation regarding our local ambulance service. It seems that there are areas of concern over many facets of the operation.

One of those areas of concern has been that of staffing shortages, and those shortages being covered by EMTs from Des Moines that do not know Jefferson County, and so consequently slowing response times because of a lack of knowledge of the area.

Also, ambulance maintenance has apparently been an issue as well, leaving at times our local ambulance service with only one rig or no operating rig at all, meaning that the ambulance service could potentially be unable to respond to the needs of the residents of Jefferson County.

Like you, I have read in The Fairfield Ledger, heard on our local radio station KMCD, and seen on KTVO the debate over private versus public ambulance service. Recently, the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pursue the public service option.

In an interview with KMCD Radio, Supervisor Lee Dimmitt laid out the board’s reasoning behind moving from a private vendor to a public run service.

One concern Supervisor Dimmitt expressed was the lack of paramedics on every ambulance that went out, explaining that if a unit arrives on scene without a paramedic, then all of the life-saving opportunities allowed by law are not available to the patient because the EMTs are not certified to perform those needed life-saving functions. So, if you needed one of those services, then I suppose you would have to wait until you were at the hospital to receive the needed care.

Now, I understand that a private company needs to be profitable to exist, and I also know that Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements are ridiculously low, and coupled with the state of Iowa’s moving to Managed Care Organizations, the Medicaid funding stream is even worse, but still, I wonder sometimes if a company’s bottom line has superseded patient care.

It does appear to me that moving from private entities to a public service may be better overall for our families, friends and neighbors by giving us a better level of service. It’s not like Jefferson County residents have not given private ambulance operations the opportunity to succeed.

We have had private ambulance service for nearly 50 years, and it seems that we have always had issues of one sort or another.

So I would ask that those of you who feel as I do that some type of city/county-run public service would provide a more reliable level of care and certainty that we currently lack, then please contact your Jefferson County Board of Supervisors, its chair, Dee Sandquist, Dick Reed and Lee Dimmitt, and Fairfield City Council members Martha Rasmussen, Katy Anderson, Tom Thompson, Daryn Hamilton, Michael Halley, Paul Gandy and Doug Flournoy as well as Mayor Ed Malloy and City Administrator Aaron Kooiker.

Also contact Jefferson County Ambulance Agency board members, JCHC CEO Bryan Hunger, and hospital board rep. Julie Greeson.

All of these individuals represent us, and I am sure they will listen to our concerns if we are willing to voice them, so please call or write to make a difference.

 

– Bob Palm, Fairfield

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