ST. GEORGE - In response to the recent Recommended Final Order issued in the application bid of Gold Cross Ambulance for St. George territory, currently held by Dixie Ambulance Service, the City of St. George today issued its responsive letter in the matter to the Utah Department of Health and to the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services.
In short, the City expressed surprise and concern at the deficiencies found against Dixie Ambulance but had equal surprise and concern for the state agency’s failure in oversight and enforcement of standards. It urged BEMS to provide Dixie Ambulance time to correct deficiencies before action against it is taken.
The letter, signed by each of the five city council members and the mayor, expressed alternating concern and surprise for the findings that Dixie Ambulance has failed to meet state standards and is not financially viable.
At the same time, the City expressed concern and surprise at the failure of the state agency, BEMS, to set the standard for delivery of the emergency medical services and to provide oversight and enforcement of the standards upon Dixie Ambulance:
“While the City does not dispute the findings regarding the financial status of DAS, the City questions how a state agency, whose job it is (to) ensure that license holders are financially viable to provide this essential and critical service, only became aware of this fact at the same time as the City, and only due to the license application process initiated by Gold Cross. Furthermore, the Recommended Order states that DAS is in violation of Utah administrative rules, does not meet industry operational standards governing EMS staffing requirements, maintenance and inventory requirements, and ambulance response times, and, in addition to the aforementioned questionable financial solvency, is ‘likely unable to continue providing quality ambulance services that St. George deserves and requires in the future.’ If this lengthy process had not been initiated by the application of Gold Cross, what action would the State have taken of its own accord to discover and address these serious issues and when?”
In that the state has established protocols for correction of deficiencies and that the state has failed in oversight, the City’s letter states that it would be appropriate for the state to allow Dixie Ambulance a short period of time to correct its deficiencies before the state takes the “drastic measure of taking away the license and providing it to another provider.”
The City also acknowledged the support of its citizens for Dixie Ambulance delivered at the December 3, 2012, public comment hearing. It said that while the public did not address the statutory requirements for an EMS provider per se, it does not appear they were aware of the deficiencies discovered through the application process. “Those comments should not go unconsidered,” the letter states.
Further, the City addressed testimony taken through the hearing process concerning the St. George Communication Center, the City’s 911 dispatch service. The City’s letter noted conflicts in testimony and said it stands by the data produced by its dispatch personnel and the findings made by the hearing officer concerning its credibility:
“The City believes that the technology is available for DAS to correct any deficiencies in response times should DAS invest in such technology.”
In concluding that the state provided insufficient oversight in inspecting and informing Dixie Ambulance of the Recommened Final Order’s described deficiencies, the City requests the state allow Dixie Ambulance an appropriate amount of time to correct them and come into compliance with statutory requirements.
Read the letter here: City of St. George Ambulance Response Letter.
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