I think you should consider how Emergency Medical Services (EMS) operate....There is the huge misconception out there, that the local EMS is funded by the tax monies collected on your property tax bill as with Police, Fire and other services operated by the cities. This is not true. The tax monies collected only cover a small percentage of the operating budgets of your local EMS agencies. The user fees (fees for service) pay for the remainder of the operating costs. These fees are subject to the rules of Medicare and Medicaid. The EMS Agencies generally have a much greater response area (locally the county boarders). Unfortunately several areas of both Ada and Canyon Counties are not covered within a City or Rural Fire Protection District. When a city decides to "do its own thing" within regards to EMS it affects a whole system. So while they may be "concerned with the best, quickest and most efficient service," they are not looking at the whole system and every area that will be affected. Additionally, the notion that we are going to “save lives” is easily misconstrued to gain the public’s sympathy. A truly effective EMS System incorporates all areas of Emergency Services including the first responders (generally fire department/quick response units) which traditionally provided Basic or Intermediate Life Support Services to begin treatment of a patient. It should be noted that the "defibrillation" to save a life is a skill that Boise Fire Department and every other Fire Department licensed by the Idaho EMS Bureau has been able to perform for many years. This is not a new set of skills that they can perform since they initiated their Paramedic programs.
I do find it interesting that the title of this article is "Double EMS." This is very true that there is a duplication of services with Boise, Meridian, Kuna, Parma and Nampa Fire Departments as they have pushed their "Paramedic Program" through their leaders. Prior to this they provided Basic and/or Intermediate Life Support Services to their citizens as part of their EMS System meeting and exceeding national standards for response times, etc. Many other departments in the Treasure Valley continue to provide these services as part of their local EMS System. However, the question should be asked, especially in these tough economic times with cities announcing layoffs, budget cuts, and reduction in services; why are we duplicating services already provided and cutting other services that are not provided?
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