One ambulance has been operating in the county 24 hour per day, seven days a week, since Nov. 15 when Enloe Medical Center reduced ambulance services due to reported financial losses.
As of Thursday, Enloe’s only Advanced Life Support ambulance has been stationed in Williams during the day, and will be stationed only at night in Colusa, where paramedics have access to sleeping quarters.
“It’s still just the single ambulance,” said Colusa County Administrative Officer Wendy Tyler, on Monday, clearing up an erroneous social media assertion that ambulance services have been restored to what they were two months ago.
The decision to divide the base locations between the two cities was that of Sierra-Sacramento Valley Emergency Medical Services Agency, which provides contracted ambulances services to Colusa, Glenn, Butte, Sutter, and six other Northern California counties.
Tyler said that the county would continue working closely with SSV to monitor ambulance services, including the amount of backup that is being provided by ambulances outside the area.
Meanwhile, local fire officials are dealing with the shortage the best they can, but hope the pubic will support efforts to find a long-term funding solution so that when they dial 9-1-1 in an emergency, there will be an immediate response.
“The ambulance shortage is a crisis,” said Williams Fire Chief Jeff Gilbert. “We just don’t know what is going to happen there. But to the average person, it’s not a crisis until they call 9-1-1 and I have to explain to them that it’s going to be 30 minutes for an ambulance. Then it’s a crisis.”
The county expects to soon receive its revenue analysis from AP Triton on the current ambulance system in the area, which serves largely Medi-Cal and Medicare patients.
Once completed, AP Triton could be contracted to do a long-term feasibility study to determine what revenue shortfall will have to be met in order to provide a countywide ambulance service.
The studies will cost about $70,000 for both, officials said. ■