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SPECIAL DISTRICT TIMELINE

JUNE 2018 
Upcoming Public Hearings for Service Plan

June 19th - Gunnison County
June 20th - Montrose County
June 25th - Delta County

JUNE 2018 
Public Booth - Pioneer Days

Come see us at the Ambulance booth at Pioneer Days on Saturday, June 9th in the park.

MAY 2018

6,830 Public Hearing notices were mailed to North Fork valley property owners in Delta, Montrose & Gunnison Counties.

Service Plan for new district formally submitted to all three counties: Gunnison, Delta and Montrose.

Open House held for new headquarters building in Hotchkiss.

APRIL 2018

Informal submission of the Service Plan to all three counties: Gunnison, Delta and Montrose.

Purchase of 110 E. Hotchkiss Avenue Headquarters:
   -Will save taxpayers $1-2 million dollars because we do not need to build a station in Hotchkiss to serve as office space, overnight quarters with training/meeting areas. The ambulances can remain at HFD indefinitely under the long-term lease agreement.

-Will become a training center for our crews, as well as offering classes to the public.

-Right timing, right price

-Allows future reserves to be spent expanding Crawford and Paonia stations

-Unanimous decision by board 

JANUARY to APRIL 2018

Service Plan was completed. Marketing plan and campaign strategy was developed and began to be implemented. Goal: November 6, 2018 election ballot.

JANUARY 2018 

Public Survey
“There were two primary objectives of this voter research project. The first objective was to measure and understand voter awareness and satisfaction levels of North Fork Ambulance services. The second objective was to measure voter support for a potential property tax increase to help fund North Fork Ambulance services. Conclusion: The survey findings indicate strong support for a property tax increase among all registered voters and major voter subgroups within the North Fork Ambulance District. However, a thorough and well-planned voter education campaign will ensure that North Fork Ambulance secures the funding they need.”

DECEMBER 2017

774 calls for service for 2017. End of year financials were better than expected, but lacking in sustainability. After much research and discussion, the Board determined that for this service to continue, the current financial structure must evolve.

The Board has determined that the establishment of a health service district is the most effective way to ensure funding for the necessary ambulance services to this community while maintaining the response times and preserving the professionalism and high standard of care that the Association is currently providing.

Survey of crew shows a high level of support for On-Call system in terms of longevity and commitment.

SEPTEMBER 2017

Over the top Membership Drive once again, including 30 public presentations and mailed 1st class letters to all property owners in our service area. This nets participation from about 34% of North Fork valley residents and businesses, which is truly amazing support. But even with over 1,800 Members, it is not enough income to offset expenses.

Grant funds are received from Colorado Trust, Anschutz Family Foundation, El Pomar, Colorado Health CREATE, and the State of Colorado. 

JUNE 2017

Task Force created and charged with research into other Special Districts, legal counsel, service plans and options. Board votes to move toward forming a Special District and seek voter approval for public funding. A marketing plan is established to increase membership, educated the public about the value of EMS and seek grant funding for operations.

JANUARY to MAY 2017

Financial Committee begins serious research into public funding for financial sustainability. Financial projections show by 2021 the Association’s savings will be spent if nothing changes

2016

Membership Drive is aggressive and includes 20 public presentations. Local donations are at exceptional levels.

Advanced Life Support providers finish training, supplies and equipment upgraded to provide Advanced Life Support Quick Response Vehicles are purchased using grant funds from State of Colorado and USDA, along with local donations, almost 100% paid for!

Reaching our goal to provide a higher level of care than ever before, as patients receive advanced care much sooner.

Prior Advanced Life Support was served by meeting Delta County Ambulance District crew on the highway, near Payne Siding.  

2015

September – Membership Drive with new brochure with clear explanation of changes in billing Members insurance

July – Four (4) North Fork Ambulance EMTs enter the EMT-Intermediate training to become Advanced Life Support providers. 

Board votes to bill Members insurance, as well as Non-Members insurance, if transported. This nearly doubled that portion of our income, as about half of our transports are Members, half are Non-Members. We change billing companies to capture more income. 

The Board votes to raise the Membership fees in an effort to increase income. 

May – Steering Committee submits a Strategic Plan that includes findings and recommendations for Action by the Board in the areas of Membership fees, Membership Drive, Billing, Collections, an investigation of the cost of full and part time paid staff vs On-Call staff, an initial look at the formation of a Special District and research into a non-emergent transport service for the North Fork valley. 

February to May - Steering Committee holds five (5) public meetings in various places throughout the valley reaching a couple of hundred people through the process. These three priorities are clear from the public input: 1. Maintain the fastest time possible to emergencies 2. Need for an increased level of care.       3. Need plan for financial sustainability 

2014

October – With over 600 calls for service annually, in order to fill On-call schedules in three communities On-Call pay is increased. A graduated scale of $2.00 to $4.25/hr, depending upon the level of certification, was implemented to attract new on-call staff members, increase retention and to encourage people to raise their level of certification. 

Also by October of 2014, it is obvious to the board full time leadership and operations becomes a full time job. These two requirements, full-time Director and increasing On-Call pay necessitated some of the reserve savings be spent to pay for it. The Board forms a Steering Committee to begin to look at the long term viability of the Association.

February - Richard Kinser steps down from the Board & Operations   

2012-2013

Application is submitted for 501(c)3 status as a Public Charity. IRS grants the non-profit status in April of 2014.

2011

Financially supported Hotchkiss Fire Deptartment by entering into a long term lease with all lease payments paid within the first ten years. This enabled HFD to successfully secure grant funding for the building. Restructuring of the Association was adopted by the Board to attempt to divide some of the work shouldered to date by Richard Kinser. 

The first Captains are appointed, one for each community. Part time Director position is established.

2000s

Membership continues, Association builds financial reserves, accumulating $900,000 in savings over 45 years. Grants are received regularly for upgrades to equipment and the occasional new ambulance.

1990s

The valley population grows as well as calls for ambulance service. Ambulance volunteer numbers grow to 75+ volunteers. Call volume has increased to 360 per year.

1980s

Crawford receives their first ambulance which is housed in the Town of Crawford shop. After a few years, North Fork Ambulance partners with the Town of Crawford and a grant for building a new town shop and is granted an indefinite lease.

1970s

Membership grows. There are about 70 calls for emergency service each year. A Region 10 grant is used for an upgrading the ambulance. DCMH offers to help with providing medical supplies that are up to date and consistent with the hospital supplies and needs.


North Fork Ambulance constructs the brick building to house the ambulances at 405 2nd Street on property owned by the Town of Paonia. This building is still occupied by North Fork Ambulance today. Similar arrangements were made to support Hotchkiss Fire Department in the early days. 


Membership income barely buys fuel and pays the bills. Crew members often bought their own medical supplies to use on calls.  

1969

The first ambulance service begins in the North Fork Valley, as a handful of locals drive to Grand Junction to for an EMT class and State certification. The first ambulance transport, with donated Oldsmobile hearse, and the Association is funded by Membership.

Emergency Medicine Prior to 1969:

Exciting time in US history, everyone wanted to help. Many volunteer EMS agencies across rural America were formed, and were often funded by Membership. 

In the mid-1960’s the first heart defibrillator was invented. 

The idea of “the golden hour” for trauma victims came about = better chance of survival is injured received surgery within one hour of the traumatic accident, often car accidents with increased population, increased speed. In response, injured people were transported to the hospital as quickly as possible by lay people, by tow truck drivers, morticians, police, etc.

Comparison to Fire Departments • There have been fire departments since the first grass hut caught on fire and a bucket brigade was formed. Fire departments have been publically funded for centuries. Not so with EMS because it came into being so recently. 

EMS transport grew from hand carried litters to horse/buggy to automobiles 

Napoleon found transporting injured during a battle saved lives! 

Prior to Napoleon – no battlefield emergency intervention – they waited until after the battle to pick up survivors and then transported them.


SPECIAL DISTRICT


MOVING FORWARD WITH A PLAN

There is a proactive plan underway to ensure funding for this vital service becomes consistent and sustainable. The North Fork Ambulance Board has determined that the establishment of a Special District is the most effective way to ensure funding for the necessary ambulance service to this community while maintaining the response times and preserving the professionalism and high standard of care that is currently provided. Plans are in place to ask North Fork valley voters this fall to approve the formation of a Special District and funding for ambulance service in the form of a mill levy.

Please check back with this site for important information and updates as this process unfolds as the necessary steps are taken to form a Special District and seek voter approval.

View Service Plan Here.

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.  

WHAT HAS BEEN DONE SO FAR?

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

Address

110 E Hotchkiss Avenue
PO Box 127                   
Hotchkiss, CO 81419

Contacts

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