Editorial: Another step forward for the ambulance service

Proposed by administrator on Fri, 21/10/2022 – 14:41

There are no other entities where elected officials in the region would open their checkbooks twice in a year. The Ely Area Ambulance Service has been rescued twice by local governments and most recently by Ely-Bloomenson Community Hospital.
The first time was for a building that would provide a garage for ambulances and housing for employees. This was a $461,000 undertaking that improved morale and response time. But for Morse, Fall Lake and Ely, it was a $150,000 commitment in the middle of a fiscal year. The town of Winton also contributed $11,000.
A few months later, the nonprofit board that runs the ambulance announced that it was in serious financial trouble, with a projected loss of more than $260,000. Again government entities were asked to put money on the tables and again they delivered. The burden was eased by the donation of $62,500 from the hospital, such as Morse, Fall Lake and Ely. Winton invested $3,380.
This will financially keep the ambulance afloat through 2023, so when one of us calls 911 or needs transportation to another hospital, our local ambulance can be there when we need it. .
A meeting of the Ambulance Joint Powers Committee last week muddied some funding issues, but ultimately an agreement was reached to move forward with the financial contribution.
What was encouraging were the words of the hospital CEO, Patti Banks, who is working to help right the ship and get the ambulance back on track, not only financially but also operationally. This was good news for all present.
It’s a lot to ask a volunteer, non-profit board of directors to oversee the operation of an ambulance service. Ely Hospital must be a collaborative partner every step of the way. Due to Covid, administrative turnover and other issues, the non-profit board had no recourse but local governments for life support.
The healing of problems is now prescribed and will soon be administered. The future of how the ambulance service will operate is likely to change from what it is today. Elected officials have been willing to help, but care must be taken that this is not due process.

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