There have been many letters to the editor concerning Medic One. Pulling at the Public Heart Strings by implying we are all going to drop dead at any moment and no one is coming to help simply cloud the facts. Inference that citizens pay an EMS Levy and money goes elsewhere is incorrect. By statute the money must go for Emergency Medical issues. I know our district complies with this 100 percent. District 2 has NEVER managed Medic One. A Board of Directors made up of three commissioners from three districts does. Per the paramedics own bargaining unit, paramedic calls covering the area of Dist. 2, Dist. 15, Dist. 20, Dist. 1, Dist. 8 , Dist. 3, average, less than three calls a day, combined. There is not the call volume here to support two medics a day on shift. The image portrayed of always having a paramedic available is a falsehood. You could hire a corps of 50 medics and I assure the time will come when you need one more. That brings up the point of South County (Toledo, Vader/Ryderwood and Winlock). When did Salkum, Onalaska, Mossyrock and Morton move to South County? Why did South County Medic One start providing service there? Simply to get more money. I know this for a fact because at the time I was a Director on the Medic One Board. "Do best for their constituents", is what fire districts are trying to do. Is it the task of constituents paying taxes here to provide services elsewhere? I say not. It is unfortunate that other districts may not have a timely ALS response, but that is not the responsibility of our system in "South County". An EMS System is not a Paramedic. The system is built on first responders, EMTS and Paramedics--a pyramid. What happens when you remove the bottom of a pyramid? It crumbles. EMTs are in short supply all across the state. Dist. 15, has both paid EMTs, funded in part by our EMS Levy, and volunteers. If we put all our money into the paramedics, we lose our paid staff. (Our response times are currently 1-3 mins). Losing our paid staff, our response times would go back to 9-15 minutes. You would get a paramedic, but lose the way to get the medic and you to the hospital, transport time increase dramatically.
Dist. 15 has supported Medic One, financially, to the tune of millions of dollars. The founding districts, Dist. 2, Dist. 5 and District. 15, were told this paramedic program would be a revenue-neutral basis, and you would not have to put more money into it, all the revenue from ambulance transports will fund it. I said then it would not work, and it has not worked, as Districts 2, 15 and 20 have had to put additional money into MEDIC ONE for years. We need to be more efficient and run the program like a business. Had this been a private business, the doors would have been closed long ago. Simply put, mistakes have been made. I sat on the board of Directors for Medic One, and I am not afraid to say mistakes were made. The biggest was fostering the belief of revenue-neutral for so long and then expanding beyond the mission statement, but at least I recognize that and do not want to repeat the same mistakes. We WILL continue to have paramedic service. I was one of the first paramedics here and I have been on the receiving end of their services as well. In the line of duty I fractured my leg and again when riding a police motorcycle in a collision with a truck. Paramedics are not the only component of a system. If we put all our money into paramedics we will not have a system, what we will have is one component, and after 38 years in the EMS Service, I am telling you that will not work, period.