By David Fleet
Atlas Twp.-On Sept. 1, the township board of trustees voted 4-0 in a special meeting to approve a three-year agreement for preferred ambulance service for 911 calls. Trustee Patrick Major was absent with notice.
The township joins Richfield and Davison townships along with the City of Davison with similar agreements from MedStar.
The agreement, which is at no cost to the township, is needed, say township officials, to assure faster medical response times to the township. MedStar is a non-profit agency owned by Ascension-Michigan, Henry Ford Health System, and McLaren Health Care serving 911 communities throughout the state.
“The patient is responsible for any cost associated with the transport,” said Shirley Kautman-Jones, township supervisor. “That has not changed. However, we are anticipating with this partnership, the ability to share the MedStar service with other communities that are near M-15—it’s an advantage if we work together. But, there’s nothing guaranteed however, it will provide more viable options for the residents of the township. We are relying on all the communities to help support the business model.“
Koby Miller, is Medstar’s chief executive officer.
“We have proposed service agreements with communities in the southern part of the county,” said Miller. “Based on response time performance, safety matrix, patient satisfaction feedback, local engagement and accountability.”
Due to low call volume, Goodrich and Atlas Township depend on nearby private ambulance services from Grand Blanc and Davison in case of emergency. As a result, response times in emergency situations have been a concern for local officials for many years.An established ambulance service continues to be an issue for the township and village.
Other ambulance services have not been successful.
On Feb. 1, 2016, Mobile Medical Response or MMR, announced they would locate an ambulance 24 hours a day, seven days per week at 8389 S. State Road, just south of downtown Goodrich. By July 2019, about 30 months later that EMS unit was relocated. MMR officials said that while the unit might not be in Goodrich stationed 24 per day, it is strategically located in the community and able to respond. The calls had dropped to less than two per day, with a need of about three required to be profitable, company officials said.
Miller said that MedStar has a plan for the township that shares resources with other communities at no additional cost to the residents.The proposal for Medstar Ambulance will be discussed by the Genesee County 9-1-1 Authority on Sept. 14.
“We believe by using our resources better, by spacing (ambulances) out across communities that are committed to our services, we can improve response time, clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and certainly improve the engagement of local leadership,” said Miller. The status right now is MedStar is waiting on the Genesee County 911 Authority to recognize the fact some communities that service agreements are a way to enhance 911 service in their communities, and they would like to do that, Miller added.
“I can attest that going back to 2010 how our community has suffered from lack of ambulance coverage in our community,” said Kautman-Jones. “I understand that it’s where the customers are, is where we end up.”
By David Fleet