At a special meeting of the Indian Valley Ambulance Service Authority on Tuesday, Sept. 10, the directors voted unanimously to draft a contract with Care Flight to deliver ground ambulance transportation for Indian Valley.
Care Flight has run ground emergency medical services for Plumas District Hospital since 2016, and has been a partner of PDH for 38 years.
PDH CEO JoDee Tittle was on hand to present and support the proposal. “PDH is interested in this proposal in the spirit of collaboration and hope we fit the needs of the community and that we be united and not compete with one another.”
In her executive summary on the proposal, she brought up that Quincy “was recognized and designated as the first rural HeartSafe community in California.” And in 2017 Quincy was “recognized by Nor-Cal EMS as having the highest out-of-hospital cardiac arrest survival rate in Northern California.” She attributed this success to the partnership with Care Flight.
President and CEO of REMSA (Regional Medical Services Authority)/Care Flight Dean Dow, explained how the new partnership would work financially.
The Indian Valley service area costs around $530,000 a year. Medicare reimbursement will be more than it has been due to the larger service area as the districts merge.
The ambulance authority’s existing contract with PHI Inc. expires Dec. 31, 2019. PHI did not seek to offer a new proposal, and Care Flight offered the only proposal received by IVASA.
Care Flight’s proposal seeks to offer one ambulance stationed at the site of Indian Valley Health Care District at 168 Hot Springs Road across from the Indian Valley Medical Clinic and adjacent to the helipad.
The ambulance will be staffed 24 hours a day with one paramedic and one EMT.
Ambulance service from Quincy would also be available should the one ambulance be on an extended call or more than one call comes in at once. Currently calls for ambulance service in Indian Valley are roughly 200 a year.
In addition to the ambulance service, Care Flight’s proposal also offers CPR training and Community Wellness visits as well as EMT training for the Indian Valley Volunteer Fire Department and a clinic partnership with Indian Valley Medical Clinic. They also offer air and ground membership services.
Both PDH and Care Flight representatives said that there would be no lapse in coverage in Indian Valley and that PHI and Care Flight are working together to streamline the transition.
PHI is donating one ambulance to Care Flight for Indian Valley and the other two will be donated to PDH.
Outside of the directors themselves and representatives from PDH and Care Flight, about a dozen community members filled the audience of the special meeting at the Greenville Town Hall, including soon-to-be former employees of PHI who have made their home in Indian Valley.
Ambulance Authority Chair Guy McNett began the meeting by reading a letter from PHI Inc., explaining that the company did not wish to continue service in the valley. McNett also opened up the floor to comments from the audience. An employee of PHI who lives in Indian Valley explained how PHI delivered the news of the termination of the contract differently. The gentleman was visibly exacerbated by the explanations given by both his employer and McNett.
Director Dan Litchfield explained that the bidding process had been open and “whoever wanted to bid on it could have.”
Director Tanya Henrich addressed the man who worked for PHI and said, “It is my hope that those working as first responders for PHI do not lose their employment. I think the services have been excellent.”
Director Wayne Danmiller asked if Care Flight would absorb PHI employees. Care Flight representatives indicated that PHI employees will need to apply for those positions as well as test, and pass their process in order to be considered.
“The last line of defense as to whether to live in a community is whether it has emergency services,” said one member of the audience. There were many nods in agreement.