By David Fleet
Goodrich.-On Monday night, the village council voted 4-0 to approve a five-year agreement for preferred ambulance service for 911 calls. Council member Wendy Ciaramitaro was absent.
The village joins Atlas, Richfield and Davison townships along with the City of Davison with similar agreements from MedStar. The southern tier of the county including Fenton and Gaines have also signed agreements.
The agreement, which is at no cost to the village, is needed to assure faster medical response times. Medstar is a non-profit agency owned by Ascension-Michigan, Henry Ford Health System, and McLaren Health Care serving 911 communities throughout the state.
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.
Kolby Miller, chief executive officer of Medstar, attended the village meeting.
“No other place in the country uses an ambulance deployment system like Genesee County, because it does not work,” said Miller. “Every where else in the state and the country, either designated their provider (such as a fire department) or identifies a contract provider for the city or township. When you identify a provider they are responsible for the service. Rather than this random hodgepodge of who might be where. You have accountability from providers, there’s a contractor’s response time performance, and guaranteed monthly discussion regarding satisfaction. We work together to provide service.”
“Now we know we now have an obligation in these (Genesee County) communities, we can spread our resources in these communities and that service is supported by the volume,” he added.
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.