OPINION: Eden-Farson EMS Director Responds to Concerns Over Ambulance Services

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The following was written and submitted by Matt Gardner, Eden-Farson EMS Director.

On February 19, 2019, many members of the Eden Farson community were distressed to read an article published by SweetwaterNow suggesting a major change in ambulance operations in our area.

The article stated that Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County (MHSC) and Sweetwater Medics have entered into discussions regarding consolidation of all emergency medical services in the county into one entity managed by MHSC.

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The article specifically stated that any such plan “requires the Castle Rock Ambulance District to be on board, as well as the Farson and Wamsutter Districts”. This statement has understandably garnered substantial interest in our community. As such, I would like to clarify some things.

On January 21st of this year, I was made aware of a potential plan to transfer management of EMS operations in Rock Springs and Green River to MHSC. Two days later, during an informal conversation with the Sweetwater Medics Director, I was told that this exploration was in its infancy, and that any participation by Farson would be voluntary, based on our own evaluation of benefit to our residents.

On February 3rd, I had another conversation with the Sweetwater Medics managing partner that echoed the earlier statements and specified that the proposal was primarily aimed at reducing waste and duplication of efforts in the Rock Springs and Green River communities, while enhancing available services to the residents of the county.

I was again told that participation by the outlying areas such as Farson and Wamsutter would be optional based on the needs of our residents. At no other time have I been approached by the MSHC board, staff, or any other person regarding the participation of our local ambulance service in this plan.

To be clear, this is not intended to offer an opinion as to the suitability of such an agreement. At this time, to my understanding, there is very little formal vision in place for such a transition, and it would be premature to take such a position. I, and the Eden Farson Fire District board of trustees are always open to discussions of how to improve patient care for our residents.

Unfortunately, after reading that article, some in our community feel that there is currently an attempt to entirely restructure their access to emergency medical care before even reaching out to them for comment.

Although I’m confident that is not the intent of the parties involved, additional communication could prevent these misunderstandings in the future. We greatly appreciate the support we have received from MHSC and our surrounding ambulance service neighbors, and we hope to continue to build these relationships in the future.

To the residents of Eden Valley, I encourage you to communicate with your county elected officials. Let them know what expectations you have for healthcare and ambulance access in your community. I realize our current system faces some challenges, and I welcome ideas for improvement.

We truly appreciate the support of our community, and I will continue to advocate for the best possible care for its residents.

Sincerely,

Matt Gardner, NRP, TP-C
EMS Director
Eden Farson Fire District