Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Putnam County Legislature Takes Away Lifesaving Service From Its Citizens

As some of you may know, the Putnam County Board Of Legislators has decided that it cannot afford the increased cost of providing Advanced Life Support (Paramedics) to it's citizens.

Empire State Ambulance has been providing ALS for the county under contract, as well as some BLS ambulances, for about a year now. It is a money losing operation, and they have chosen to opt-out of their contract effective October 1st. What does that mean? That the rural Putnam County will be without professionals who's critical medical interventions can spell life or death for victims of illness or injury.

Things can pan out in a number of ways. Pressure from Emergency Services agencies and citizens could push the legislature to increase funding. The indvidual muncipalties could hire their own ALS. They could steal ALS from other neighboring communties. Or, Putnam County could take a very progressive step, and start their own, countywide ALS system.

Advanced Life Support availabilty is standard in mostly all communities in the Hudson Valley. Putnam County is developing, and has a large and diverse population. The decision by the legislator to take away this service is wreckless endangerment, in my eyes. I may not know the full politics behind the move, but I hope I'm hearing wrong and someone steps up to the plate.

EMS should not be delivered by FOR PROFIT agencies!!! This is a fine example of why. We don't contract out for our Police or Highway departments to for profit agencies, so why EMS?

Putnam County, do the right thing. Spend the money, set an example, and start your own County-run ALS system. Lives depend on it. Also, give EMT's and Paramedics what they deserve-job security, proper training, quality pay, and pension. Care for those who care, please!