I applaud the Skagit County commissioners for their decision to transition to a fire-based Emergency Medical Systems ambulance delivery model, removing a layer of government between you and your medical emergency. In a nutshell, countywide ambulance service will be run out of the cities' fire departments. Over the past 17 years, three consultant reports recommended this nationally adopted, efficient structure to Skagit County. There have been many attempts at reform, including efforts of the EMS Commission in 2013 and EMS Delivery Model Advisory Group of 2016. Anyone can read the reports on the county website.
An EMS delivery system under a fire-based model will enhance response times. A fire-based model, such as the model that the City of Anacortes operates, allows for the deployment of the right resource at the right time as efficiently as possible — particularly as we move to implement a system integrating effective closest unit and criteria-based dispatch.
The cities of Skagit County serve the public with accountability, structure and efficiency, employing personnel ready to respond to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In fact, the cities already respond to EMS calls outside city limits as a partner in the current system. Providing emergency care has no governmental geographic boundaries.
We have now moved past baseless political rhetoric: There have been dozens of public meetings discussing EMS. The cities have developed implementation plans for countywide service and look forward to working under carefully crafted contracts that dictate national standards; currently serving paramedics are offered the first chance to interview; the cities will form a consolidated billing model, training is already standardized, and quality assurance factors get even better with oversight.
Please join me at the next weekly mayor's coffee to talk more about fire-based service.
Jill Boudreau, mayor