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HEALTH SERVICE DISTRICT INFO


SPECIAL DISTRICT

Notice of Public Meeting for North Fork Ambulance Health Service District - 12/5/18

The first board meeting for the North Fork Ambulance Health Service District will be held, December 5th, 2018 at 5:00 pm at the North Fork Ambulance Headquarters at 110 Hotchkiss Avenue in Hotchkiss, CO.  For the official agenda and official notice, please click on the link above. 


SUCCESSFUL ELECTION
THANK YOU VOTERS!!

North Fork Ambulance Thanks Community for Support

The North Fork Ambulance Board of Directors would like to thank local community members for their overwhelming support of our two ballot initiatives. Voters in the North Fork Valley approved both issues by a wide margin in the November election. 

 The passage of question 7E allows for the formation of a Special District and establishes the initial Board of Directors. Question 7F asked voters for funding of the District. The formation and funding of a special district will provide the core financial support needed to maintain quality ambulance service in three communities, upgrade and replace aging equipment and ambulances and retain and attract on-call staff members and provide them with quality EMS training.

The ambulance service is responsible for responding to all 9-1-1 calls in a 1,500 square mile area over 3 counties as well as maintaining 3 stations in the region. North Fork Ambulance board members have been researching options for financial sustainability since 2015. Through financial analysis, it became clear that the best solution to sustain quality ambulance service now and into the future was through the formation of a special district. 

 Should I renew my Membership, or become a new Member? 
The North Fork Ambulance Membership Program will continue to be in effect, with benefits for Members who are transported, until the Special District takes over actual ambulance operations. Because this transition could take three to six months, the board is encouraging local residents and businesses to send in their Membership renewals or become Members today. It is the intention of the board to maintain the nonprofit designation for the North Fork Ambulance Association, separate of the new Special District, to serve as a support organization for EMS in the North Fork valley, similar to a "Friends of the Library" group. If it is permissible for the nonprofit to offer a Membership once the Special District begins to operate, it is possible Memberships could remain in place. If not permissible, prorated refunds will be offered to any current Members.

The board will update the public as the information becomes available. If you have questions about Membership, please call Executive Director Kathy Steckel or contact any board member at 970-872-4303.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

Since 1969 the North Fork Ambulance has been challenged with providing reliable ambulance service and quality care with the fastest response time possible. Over these 49 years this service has been funded through Membership fees, grants, donations and ambulance transport fees. This vital service has never received public funding.

Today, the income sources are not keeping pace with rising expenses, causing a budget shortfall. Fortunately due to careful and conservative stewardship, reserve funds have been built to ensure the North Fork Ambulance is able to continue to function by covering the budget shortfalls and can do this for a finite period of time. Through financial analysis it is clear that for this service to continue and have the flexibility to meet the needs of the future, the current financial structure must evolve.  

The Board of Directors and Executive Director Kathy Steckel are happy to report that your ambulance service will remain strong going forward following the successful 2018 election and the formation of the North Fork Ambulance Health Service District.  Please check back and watch the newspaper for information as we begin establishing the Health Service District such as the official name and branding for the district and information on the status of Memberships and the North Fork Ambulance 501(c)(3). 

WHAT WAS DONE PRIOR TO NOW? 
WHY WAS A SPECIAL DISTRICT REQUIRED?

Over the past several years, you may have heard the North Fork Ambulance Board has been exploring its options to continue to provide reliable emergency medical services to the North Fork valley. If you haven’t heard, the community identified the following priorities through five public meetings held around the valley in 2015:

1. Maintain the fastest response time possible to every emergency .
2. Raise the level of care provided .
3. Become financially sustainable.

To address these priorities, the following actions have been taken:

First, to maintain the fastest response time it is vital we have adequate, trained staff available to keep the ambulances operating from all three stations, Crawford, Hotchkiss and Paonia. Up until 2009 the EMTs and Drivers were truly volunteers who gave freely of their time to be on-call in their community, responding from home, work or play at a moment’s notice. Today, in order to attract and retain crew members who are committed, competent and confident in serving their community’s emergency medical needs, North Fork Ambulance must deliver the necessary leadership, training, tools and support needed, as well as provide a financial reward. The first On-Call pay was established in 2009, at $1.50 per hour with success in the desired effect of attracting and maintaining adequate staff to reliably respond from all three stations. The On-Call system works and pay has risen to a graduated scale up to $6.00 depending on certification level. Investing in our crew members is essential, and expectedly, is not without financial consequence.

Secondly, raising the level of care has been met with enthusiasm by crew members who were willing to go back to school to raise their level of certification. Simultaneously, several grants were received to purchase three Quick Response Vehicles for the specific purpose of getting the Advance Life Support crew to the scene of emergencies quickly and safely. The North Fork Ambulance is now able to administer EKGs on scene and start cardiac medications, as well as manage pain, seizures and more, sooner than ever before in the North Fork valley. Early access to treatment is essential in beginning the healing process.

The third priority, that of financial sustainability, has proved to be a little more complicated. In 2015 the Board changed the Membership terms to capture medical billing income while still maintaining benefits for their Members. In 2016 and 2017 the North Fork Ambulance worked hard to increase Membership, with 34% of the residents and businesses becoming Members. Grants were written and many approved. Donations from the community and local service clubs were at an all-time high. All things considered, the budget remains at a break-even status. The Board realizes these efforts, while great, lack long-term sustainability.

 SERVICE PLAN
Going Forward...

Address

110 E Hotchkiss Avenue
PO Box 127                   
Hotchkiss, CO 81419

Contacts

Email: office@northforkambulance.com 
Phone: +1 (970) 872-4303