Our View: Service important

 

November 20, 2019



Ambulance service once again was a major topic of discussion this week with the Sweetwater County Commissioners.

This time, the discussion focused on a rate increase Sweetwater Medics of Rock Springs plans to initiate.

Providing a cost-effective ambulance service in Sweetwater County is a conundrum for everyone involved.

When Sweetwater Medics was first established, the company’s representatives proudly boasted they would not need government subsidizing to support their business. In the years that followed, the company would be forced to take back those claims and seek county subsidies. Despite the fact it enjoys a monopoly in Rock Springs, Sweetwater Medics is unable to operate without county assistance.

Meanwhile in Green River, Castle Rock Hospital District’s service costs $35,000 a month to operate and has also needed county subsidies to help provide the service.

While no one will doubt that an ambulance service is needed in the county, it seems difficult to find a sustainable answer to the funding problems those services face. However, things can’t go on as they have.

Months ago, we proposed tying the ambulance services with local fire-fighting agencies, as they’re often dispatched to many of the same calls ambulances are sent to

The argument against this would focus on government getting into an area provided through private enterprise, but those private enterprises haven’t been able turn a profit without seeking government aid.

While this means fire-fighting agencies taking on this role would need more funding to establish the ambulance services, we think money would be saved in the long term.

This would also leave a hole for transportation services from Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County to Salt Lake City that doesn’t involve the sky-high rates charged for helicopter flights.

We think ground transportation service provided by MHSC would be the best answer to this issue, but that would depend on MHSC’s willingness to initiate it.

With the costs of that service, it wouldn’t be hard to see MHSC pass on the idea unless administrators knew it would generate revenue.

We need a solution to this issue and the situation can’t continue the way it has. It’s time to pave the way for a sustainable ambulance service in Sweetwater County.


 

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