PARAMEDIC & EMERGEMCY MEDICAL SERVICES FACT SHEET
PAST – Background
In 2014, Western Sierra Medical Clinic (WSMC) terminated emergency medical services and advanced life-support backup for the Downieville ambulance. The clinic also reduced office and after-hours coverage.
At that time, WSMC offered $50,000 to fund a paramedic on the condition that said paramedic would function as a medical provider in the clinic. The problem was that under California law, a paramedic can only operate from an ambulance, and WSMC does not have an ambulance.
Western Sierra Medical Clinic also terminated the Enloe Base Hospital Agreement. This agreement had designated WSMC in Downieville as an alternate base station for Enloe Medical Center in Chico, and thereby had allowed the Downieville Ambulance to take patients to the clinic.
The clinic then announced reduced hours and that it would no longer provide emergency care. Since WSMC had been the vital link with the ambulance for advanced life-support services a huge vacuum in emergency care was created.
PRESENT – What are we doing now?
Sierra Frontier Medical Resources (SFMR), a local non-profit organization formed in 2014 to rebuild the infrastructure of emergency medical services for western Sierra County. This group has sponsored the following:
Training 17 Homemaker Health Aides
Training 13 Emergency Medical Responders
Training 14 Emergency Medical Technicians
Initiating & Funding the Current Paramedic Project with Community Support
Training 12 Advanced Emergency Medical Technicians
Encouraging our community members to obtain Medical Helicopter Insurance
In 2017, SFMR developed the Paramedic Pilot Project (PPP) and raised $56,000 in community donations to fund it. The first paramedic was hired in June; Rachel Defibaugh is highly skilled and provides advanced life support services from the Downieville Fire District Ambulance which serves both Downieville and Sierra City. She works with our volunteer EMTs and rescue personnel. The program is very successful, but it has only sufficient funding to run through December, 2017. A long-term solution is needed to sustain the service.
Sierra Frontier Medical Resources has applied for two grants through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and both were approved but not funded. Currently there are no state grants available to support rural paramedic development.
The remaining option is to ask the community to support a tax for paramedic and advanced emergency medical services. We need a skilled professional on-duty 24/7 to work alongside our trained volunteers in acute medical and trauma situations. The proposed tax would fund these vital services.
Why do we need a Paramedic?
Many essential Advanced Life Support procedures and skills are only in the scope of a Paramedic. These include:
Advanced Cardiac Life Support
Medication for Seizure Intervention
Advanced Respiratory Care Procedures
Pediatric Advanced Life Support
Advanced Treatment for Trauma & Shock
FUTURE – What are we planning?
We are relying on public support of this vital program to provide emergency care to our community and our tourists and visitors. We must develop a reliable sustained funding source in addition to our community donations and grant options.
Proponents in the Downieville Fire Protection District and the Sierra City Fire District, respectively, plan to submit a ballot measure in June, 2018 to the voters of each of their districts establishing a parcel tax to sustain paramedic and emergency medical services.
The special annual property tax will be as follows: Single Family Residences: $100; Mixed Residential, Commercial and Industrial: $150; Vacant/Agricultural/Open Space: $60; TPZ (without residence): $25; Government, Public Utility, Community Service, Churches, Fraternal Organizations are exempt. In the case of multiple dwelling units, the tax could possibly be shared with tenants.
We need to obtain public support for the Paramedic & Advanced Emergency Medical Services or we will face real and significant risk for increased morbidity and mortality.