Colusa County’s only 24-hour duty ambulance will soon return to its staging quarters in Williams, which should cut wait times significantly on the west side of the county and on Interstate 5.
The Board of Supervisors turned over the residence, located at 810 C St., to the City of Williams on Oct. 13, after the City Council offered to repair the house for Enloe paramedics, who work on call in 48-hour shifts.
Enloe Medical Center, in Chico, provides the only Advanced Life Support ambulance in Colusa County, but was forced to move its staff out of the house about nine months ago, when the house fell into ill repair.
“It’s really not liviable anymore,” said Williams City Administrator Frank Kennedy.
While the land is owned by the City of Williams, the modular home belonged to Colusa County, who provided quarters for many years.
Since moving out, paramedics have been staging in Colusa, even though the need was greater on the west side, because the Colusa Fire Department operates a basic ambulance that rolls out to all calls within the city limits.
“Meanwhile, our response times have gone from about five minutes to 16 minutes,” Kennedy said.
The Williams City Council last week agreed to renovate the house, which they estimate will cost about $20,000 if city employees perform the labor.
“The house will need significant work,” Kennedy said. “Renovations will include new windows, flooring, bathroom and kitchen repairs.”
While response times on the west side may drop with the return to staging the ambulance in Williams, the shift of residence is not expected to solve the ambulance shortage.
“I’ll make no bones about it; there are still significant issues to be worked out with the ambulance service,” Kennedy said. “We still have only one car in the entire county.”
City, Colusa County, and Fire District officials are still working on a solution to the ambulance shortage, which is the result of a small payer volume and low reimbursements rates by Medi-Cal and Medicare.
The shortage has resulted in Enloe having to juggle a limited number of ambulances that serve Butte, Glenn and Colusa counties.
City Councilman John Troughton said just recently there were three calls for an ambulance at the same time, two in Arbuckle and one in Williams, at a time the Enloe ambulance stationed in Colusa was dispatched to a call in eastern Glenn County, above Princeton.
“There was no ambulance,” Troughton said. “Two ambulances came from Woodland for the Arbuckle call, and eventually we got someone for the call here. Had the ambulance been stationed here, it would not have been dispatched up there because it is too far away.”
Once renovated, the Williams facility will be available to Enloe paramentics for as long as the company provides service, or for any future public benefit, officials said.
The City Council at their Oct. 21 meeting authorized Kennedy to enter into an agreement with Colusa Colusa to take over the residence.
“I think it’s a no-brainer,” said Mayor Alfred Sellers Jr. “It allows us to have the ambulance here.” ♣