Wednesday, March 29, 2023

After Ballot Loss, Colorado’s Second Largest County Has No Plans to Maintain Ambulance Service

The second-largest county in Colorado has no sustainable funding plan for emergency medical services, following Tuesday’s sound defeat of a pair of ballot measures that would fund future ambulance workers.

Even now, when people in Moffat County, on the northwestern corner of the state—particularly those who live in the most remote areas—call for an ambulance, there may be no one available to take the call, or the response time. Can be dangerously slow, say the official. This is a trend in Colorado and other rural parts of the country.

And it could possibly be even worse.

Jennifer Riley, interim CEO of Memorial Regional, said, “The reality is that this is a service that is taken lightly, and I don’t know how to make it a reality for people where people suffer life-changing consequences. ” Health in Craig, Moffat’s population center.

As of noon Wednesday, ballot returns showed voters in Moffatt, roughly the size of Connecticut and home to about 13,000 people, against a ballot proposal to give the average homeowner $35 more tax per year to fund EMS services. Two by one swung. About 58% of voters rejected a related proposal to reorganize emergency services in such a way that it would have been funded as its own district, similar to the setup for multiple fire departments.

This means that the county is continuing to operate a thin, patchwork EMS service. A crew at Craig works out of the hospital, but members of that crew say they are often overwhelmed and sometimes unable to call quickly.

About 30 miles west, the community of Mabel has a volunteer-only crew that isn’t always available. Even in the west, around the dinosaurs, residents have to rely on ambulances from Utah, which take some time to arrive, if they are available at all.

“We’ve failed the dinosaurs,” Melissa Dobrava, organizer of the failed campaign to create new EMS funding, told The Denver Post late Tuesday. “When someone is in an emergency, they rely on an ambulance from Utah. They live every day knowing that emergency medical help is 45 minutes away — and that’s if Utah has the ability to respond. There shouldn’t be a reality for our neighbours. We can do it better.”

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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