We live in a tangled, complicated world. TV shows like Chicago Fire and Station 19 depict the glamorous side of fire protection and life support services. If they depicted the devil in the details, we probably wouldn’t watch. Those complexities have come to northern Inyo County, focusing not on the will to provide emergency medical service, but on the financial realities of those services.
Symons has provided Advanced Life Support services but the requirements of ALS are simply not sustainable. The simplified difference between Basic and Advanced Life Support: Basic support is provided by an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and includes CPR, wound care and the use of an automated external defibrillator. Advanced support from a paramedic allows for more invasive procedures like trachea tubes and intravenous medications. EMT training ranges from six months to a year; paramedics receive two to three years of training.
Bishop Fire Department’s contract with Inland Counties Emergency Medical Agency (ICEMA) requires ALS with a paramedic on-site for responses. According to 2020 Census numbers, a fourth of the County’s population is over 65 and 10-percent of the total population has no insurance coverage. The area also draws young, healthy, athletic people engaged in mountain sports. Then, there’s tourist traffic roaring\ up and down U.S. Hwy. 395. The need for ALS in northern Inyo is obvious.
Now, the financial impacts of that contract. Insurance reimbursements vary depending on the provider but do not meet the costs. The average cost of ambulance transport in California is $589. Medicare reimbursement averages $426; MediCal has reimbursed $150 for the last 30 years with no increases. Private insurance provides a higher rate of reimbursement but still doesn’t bridge the gap.
Bishop Fire Department has been providing back-up to Symons. Chief Joe Dell began the process of a formal Memorandum of Understanding two years ago and the department has provided EMT classes for volunteers. Grant funding was secured to cover the cost of special equipment, training, and outfitting the ambulance. At that time, 12 volunteer firefighters were certified EMTs with others waiting for a test date.
Both Bishop and Inyo County have been meeting with ICEMA to identify a solution to the immediate issue as well as what ambulance service will look like going forward. Dell has been working toward a solution with the formation of a special ad hoc committee long before the announcement from Symons. Bishop and Inyo County aren’t starting from scratch to provide medical support and transport.
So how is it that MediCal has not increased its coverage amount in over 30 years? Shouldn’t we, the voting public, be made aware of this at voting time? Maybe now, without ambulance service (which is incomprehensible), the public will realize that it needs accountability from our State government–where is… Read more »
Governor Nuisance is busy giving cash back to citizens, and sending EBT (food) cards to children under the age of 18 without parental permission or request. Also to children over 18 in some cases. Also inviting more and more indigents across the border, not just from Mexico, but to enjoy… Read more »
Sounds like ANOTHER conspiracy theory from Ask a Parent to me….maybe the Democrats trying to weed-out the older American-born people, pissing them off, and replacing them with immigrants coming here and young people living here with no jobs, giving them EBT cards, money and abortions if requested so as to… Read more »
There is another story on here, where does the money go? look at Caltrans asking for “paid volunteers” in their new scam to restrict your ability to travel. That money comes from somewhere. How about the extreme gas taxes we pay. How about some of that money going to ambulance… Read more »
…And yet, ANOTHER conspiracy theory here…the Democrats trying to curtail people from traveling and driving their vehicles…hoping for the push for all-electric cars by the year 2024…wanting to make it illegal to drive or own a gas-powered car…and when that happens, they will spike the cost of electricity with high… Read more »
Oh Sh..t DD, I was worried about you. No smart-a..s answers to real problems. Glad you are still breathing and being the same old fool….
Thank you Ms. Murphy for helping us to better understand the nuts and bolts of this dilemma. As I suggested in a previous post, perhaps Inyo County and the City of Bishop, after a finding of public purpose, could use some of their TOT (Transient Occupancy Tax) revenue to subsidize… Read more »