As reported in the March 4, edition of the Pioneer Review.
Thank you (Pioneer Review) for reporting updates on the ambulance shortage in Colusa County. It’s apparent that the County and cities are working together to finding a permanent solution, by conducting a revenue analysis of the current ambulance system to see if a government run ambulance program is an answer. Although an analysis a great plan, it still leaves the community with uncertainty of 9-1-1 ambulance response. The county’s limited ambulance services must be equitably shared among the local residence.
Urgent life-threatening events should take priority over unnecessary ambulance transports for primary care related incidents.
One possible solution is telehealth. A three-year study conducted in Houston Texas by Champane-Langabeer et al. (2019) found that telehealth offers a strategy to address potentially unnecessary ambulance transports. The study found that after 15,067 patients received a telemedicin triage consultation from an emergency medicine physician only 11.2 percent of the patients received ambulance transportation. Majorly, 75.6 percent of the patients used alternative taxi transport, and 13.2 percent was either self or no-transport.
Having a reduction of unnecessary transport related to primary care can help better utilize the one Advance Live Support (ALS) ambulance available to the county. Only one 24-hour ALS ambulance is expected to serve approximately 22,000 residence that live within 1,2000 square miles. Even after the county’s analysis project, the funding for the second ALS ambulance is uncertain.
As a concern citizen, I believe the county should make efforts on improving the utilizing our scarce emergency medical transportation by using telemedicine. Additionally, a focus on patient education and access to primary care can potentially ensure the demand of ALS ambulance doesn’t increase among the county’s residence.
Colusa County Resident