Letters: Ambulance dispute and newly paved roads
Emergency response will not be hampered by dispute
I’m writing in response to the Summit Daily News June 22 editorial, “Stop the feuding – it’s time to consolidate emergency services,” a plea with which the Board of County Commissioners heartily agrees.
First and foremost, I would like to address concerns related to our system’s ability to provide timely, high-quality emergency medical response and patient transport within the Breckenridge area and Summit County as a whole, in light of our recent decision to terminate Red, White and Blue Fire District’s authority to transport patients. I assure you that we would not have given this option even the slightest consideration if it threatened to compromise the safety of this community in any way. In fact, we are extremely confident that Red, White and Blue’s exit from the patient transport system will not have any impact on patient outcomes.
It’s important to understand that there are two distinct components of emergency medical services: first response and patient transport. In our system, like most EMS systems across the country, there are more first-response units and personnel than there are patient-transport units and personnel, at any given time. For a 911 medical call, a first-response crew is typically the first to arrive on scene. They assess the patient, provide emergency care and prep the patient for transport to a medical facility by an ambulance, which arrives shortly thereafter. If the patient is in urgent need of life-saving care, the first-response crew has the authority to provide transport.
Our termination of Red, White and Blue’s transport authority does absolutely nothing to hinder or limit the agency’s first-response duties or capabilities. Anyone who calls 911 inside the RWB district will receive care from a highly skilled EMS professional just as quickly as they would have previously. And if that patient requires immediate transport to a hospital, a RWB first-response unit will take the patient to the appropriate medical facility.
RWB has falsely argued that Summit County Ambulance Service, Lake Dillon Fire and Copper Mountain Fire are “biting off more than they can chew” by committing to cover patient transport needs within the boundaries of the RWB district. This claim is merely a groundless scare tactic with no basis in reality. Summit County first granted patient-transport authority to RWB in 2014. Previously, Summit County Ambulance Service provided those services exclusively. Since that time, Lake Dillon Fire and Copper Mountain Fire have joined us as EMS transport partners, so we now have more resources in the system than we did in 2014.
We remain hopeful that the RWB board will reconsider its resistance to being a full partner in our countywide ambulance system. We don’t think it’s right that RWB leaves its patients abandoned at Summit Medical Center when they are found to be in need of a higher level of care. It is indisputable that this community has more than sufficient resources to operate a high quality, efficient, financially sustainable EMS system that promptly delivers every patient to the level of care he or she needs, be it in Frisco or Denver. And we know from experience that we can do this without hampering our ability to respond to other types of emergencies. As the incidence of structure fires has dramatically declined over the past several decades, fire agencies have taxpayer-funded EMS personnel and equipment at their disposal that have been freed up to address other community needs. As public agencies, we owe it to taxpayers and patients to collaborate and apply all our resources as efficiently as possible in service of public health, safety and well-being.
Chair, Summit County Board of Commissioners
How long will the smooth roads last?
Kudos to Silverthorne and CDOT in getting the highway repaved in and to the north of Silverthorne. But I’m wondering how long it will be until Everist Materials will pit the road out again with their overweight trucks? How do I suspect it’s Everist? If I remember correctly the south bound lanes were rutted pretty bad before the repaving project. I don’t remember that rutting on the north bound lanes. Perhaps an indication of overweight trucks going in one direction? I’d love to be proven wrong, perhaps a poor prior paving project? Which then would beg the question why no recourse against the prior paving contractor? Anyways, it would be nice to see the State Patrol doing some spot weighing of trucks with their mobile units, to protect our newly paved road … and thanks to everyone for the smooth road once again!
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