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Reject Ambulance Exclusive Operating Area (EOA) Proposal for Mendocino County

This petition had 484 supporters

As you know, Mendocino Coast Ambulance Support (MCAS) provides a subscription service for ambulance transports on the Mendocino Coast. While Mendocino Coast District Hospital (MCDH) retains ownership and manages the ambulance service, MCAS provides vital financial support both in operational expenses as well as equipment and new ambulances.

This support is not without purpose. MCAS believes that our local and independent hospital based ambulance service is essential in meeting the unique and important needs of our community. Local and community ownership is essential in placing the medical needs of our citizens above the financial needs of a corporation or private business.

Recently the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors commissioned a medical transportation and EMS consulting firm, Fitch & Associates, which is based in Platte City, Montana. The purpose of contracting this consulting firm is to explore the possibility of the county adopting an Exclusive Operating Area (EOA). This commission is in response to a lack of ambulance coverage in other areas of the county.

If an EOA is adopted for our entire county it would affect the Mendocino Coast significantly. EOA’s are a competitive bidding process in which the company meeting the minimum standard and submitting the lowest bid is selected. MCAS believes that the minimum standard is not what our community needs or should expect. Our exceptional level of service both in the 911 system as well as in inter-facility hospital transports should not be lowered to this minimum.

MCAS has the following concerns:

1.  The isolated geography of our community as well as the common     inclement weather often requires our paramedics and EMT’s to care for their patients for extended periods. Whether transporting to MCDH or to hospitals out of the area for specialty services, this requires experienced clinicians.

2.  Private services would not be concerned with recruiting or retaining experienced providers, rather relying on new graduates with little experience who will be willing to work for far less.
3.  Outsourcing our ambulance service damages our local economy. An outside county private business versus our local hospital will take profits. Employees will be unable to live and contribute to the county as their wages will force them to live elsewhere.
4.  Private services will place importance on profit generating transports and not base transport decisions on a patient’s medical needs. A patient in significant need could be skipped over to transport a far less critical patient who generates more revenue.
5.  A private service with a county EOA contract would flex their ambulances to cover other areas. This would provide no assurances on the level of coverage on the Coast.  This is very important as our service not only provides 911 but also emergent transports of patients to other facilities when necessary.
6.  A private service would not be accountable to the Mendocino Coast community. This accountability is essential in providing the care we need and changing to meet the evolving needs of our community.

MCAS believes It is imperative that we contact our county supervisors, Dan Gjerde of the 4th District and Dan Hamburg of the 5th district to inform them that an EOA is not acceptable for the coastal community.  Our rural geography and unique needs demand that we have adequate coverage, experienced paramedics and EMT’s, and local accountability.

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