Calaveras Enterprise

Emergency services group nears end of task

Calaveras County’s Emergency Medical Services Task Force has finished gathering and reviewing information and hopes to put together a first draft report next month.

Comprised of local officials and representatives of the public, the 15-member panel has been charged with drafting a proposal to improve and streamline delivery of emergency medical services to county residents.

The effort was sparked following a move in April of 2002 by ambulance companies to move into some of the county’s five service zones that previously were served by just one provider.

Since the county had no ordinance granting exclusivity, the Mountain-Valley EMS Agency, which oversees medical issues in five counties, had no choice but to approve the new applications.

However, some medical and county officials feared the drop in call volume for the existing ambulance companies would cause affect the quality of service.

During its May 8 meeting, task force members reviewed options for improving dispatch service under the present system and under exclusive operating agreements by zone and countywide.

They also discussed the configuration of a new Emergency Medical Care Committee, a permanent body to review and recommend action to the county board of supervisors.

The county previously had an EMCC, but it was disbanded when the latest effort was launched, meeting for the final time last August.

The option considered by the task force would split the new committee in two, with an “operational” body comprised of representatives from ambulance companies, dispatch, and fire districts, among others.

That committee would serve as an advisory body to the new EMCC, which would be comprised of members of the public, the county, the city, and others.

The EMCC would review suggestions from the operational panel, and then make official recommendations to the board of supervisors.

Splitting the former committee in two avoids having a conflict of interest issue that existed with the previous EMCC, said Tom Schryer from the Mountain-Valley EMS agency.

Because a fire district might eventually become an ambulance provider, such as the Ebbetts Pass Fire District is now, its representative had a potential conflict making recommendations to the county, Schryer said.

With a split-panel format, the operational group is free to discuss matters without fear of violating fair political practice regulations and the formal EMCC can make official recommendations to the county without worrying about conflicts of interest, Schryer said.

Last month the task force reviewed the county’s present ambulance service, and how it might change under exclusive operating contracts.

Those suggestions, along with ones discussed May 8, will be reviewed again May 29 and open for broader public dissection than past meetings, said task force Chairwoman Jeanne Boyce.

An official public comment meeting will be held June 26 to address recommendations in the task force’s first draft before a final report is prepared.

Meetings are held in the Cal Works Building, also known as St. Charles Place, at the corner of Highway 49 and Mountain Ranch Road in San Andreas beginning at 6 p.m.

Contact Craig Koscho at

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