Who gets to decide which EMS option is best for community?

A conversation that will ultimately determine who responds to emergency calls when local residents dial 911 is headed for a decision within the next 90 days or so, demanding the attention of anyone who calls Hamilton County home.
This issue has been in the public eye for more than a year now, if not longer, though an Oct. 1 transition deadline and the emergence of three possible alternatives promises to bring some finality to what has become a very sensitive and at times controversial topic.
The core issue involves the Hamilton County Ambulance Department, which has provided countywide emergency medical service for many years. The quality of advanced life support (ALS) service has never been questioned, and in fact is unanimously applauded, though the cost for that service has been documented to be higher than that of other communities of similar size.
Much has been said and written about this issue in the past year, though the tone of conversation changed in February when the county board voted to end its ownership/management role of the existing service effective Oct. 1. Since that time, three different alternatives have surfaced. One involves a fire-based system, which would be tax supported and run by the city of Aurora, with potential but as yet undefined partnerships involving other local entities. Neighbors Helping Neighbors involves a private group of local investors now working to raise money for an Aurora-based service, while the third option involves Midwest Medical Transport Services, another private entity already established as a provider of emergency medical services.
This week’s edition reports that the city’s EMS study will conclude with a summary of findings, all of which will be available for review in a public meeting July 19. The News-Register will also be working to report details of the Neighbors Helping Neighbors and Midwest Medical proposals in the coming weeks. I invite anyone with questions to submit them via letter to the editor.
One question at the top of the list at this point has to be who will make the final decision? Should it be the county board, which already voted to ends its leadership role? Should it be the Aurora City Council, which has a vested interest with one of the three proposals on the table? If not one of those two elected bodies, then who?
That’s a critical question on a critical issue, giving local residents reason to engage in a conversation that may ultimately impact you or someone you know if an emergency situation should arise.
by Kurt Johnson



Kurt Johnson

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