Ambulances keep rolling with new deal

Published on Thu, Apr 12, 2001 by Soren Velice

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Ambulances keep rolling with new deal

By Soren Velice

After six months of uncertainty about Medic One ambulance service in Whatcom County, county council has unanimously voted for a new plan to keep emergency existing medical service alive.

“I think it’s a good compromise and it’s going to give us an opportunity to work on issues we’ve had in the past,” said county council member Barbara Brenner at the April 3 meeting.

After the city of Bellingham threatened to withdraw from Medic One last November if the county didn’t accept the city’s proposed budget, a compromise was reached to keep the program running this year. In January the city again prodded the county to make a longer-term decision by the end of March.

The new agreement needs to be passed by Bellingham city council before taking effect. Brenner said she is still concerned about how costs are determined by the city, but she was happy the new agreement would give the county and city time to work it out without worrying about a lapse in service.

Fire district #13 chief David England said he was relieved. “I’m glad to see that an agreement has been signed from a standpoint that we now don’t have to worry that fire departments will have to provide that service without adequate preparation,” England said. “It also takes some of the pressure off the county-wide strategic planning effort to provide a plan quickly; now we don’t have to do that in preparation for Bellingham pulling out.” He added his only disappointment was that fire districts were not asked to sign the agreement. “The only thing I might say at all negatively is that this directly affects the fire districts and we’re not signatories,” he said.

Brenner said the financing of Medic One is still the biggest issue in her eyes. “It’s been like a parent-child relationship,” she said. “The cities are getting more and more revenues and it’s like they’ve grown up, so they may need to think about paying a share of the medic service.”
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