To the editor:
Several comments in the Deseret News editorial Sept. 7 on "Private Paramedics Idea" . . . need to be questioned and corrected.The editorial discusses County Fire Chief Larry Hinman's preliminary thinking in regards to finding ways to save taxpayers money - a worthy objective in light of community attention to overall tax issues. One of his suggestions is to turn over paramedic services to a private company.
The editorial, however, makes some assertions that need to be clarified. It said:
"The county should also keep in mind some lessons learned when it disbanded the ambulance service provided by its fire department a decade ago."
"The main problem then came because county ambulances were originally replaced with ambulances dispatched from one centralized Salt Lake City location. That meant ambulance service to suburban locations was slow. The county could not afford such a problem with paramedic service."
The "lessons learned" statement is bewildering since there were no complaints by anyone during the transition in 1980 form Salt Lake County service to Gold Cross service.
The second paragraph above suggests several problems and a "main problem of dispatching from one location, producing slow service." Again, there was no evidence of any problems, let alone a service problem.
The "one centralized location" is not a correct statement of fact. In 1980, Gold Cross and Salt Lake County set up a three-year plan to phase-in ambulance services. Our immediate action included placing new stations in Salt Lake County, in addition to our Salt Lake City locations.
Vehicles were dispatched from both unincorporated and incorporated areas, such as West Valley, 33rd So. 8th East, South Vine Street, West Jordan.
Our response time was excellent - to anywhere in the area. In fact, instead of three years, we phased in ambulance service within 18 months at the prompting of Salt Lake County; Salt Lake County leaders were extremely pleased with the efficiency and "no-complaints" transition.
The last paragraph seems to infer that the county made a "mistake" in the past. Since there were no mistakes or problems in the amblance service transition in 1980 nor since that time, we are anxious for the public to understand the complete satisfaction of both public and government leaders to Gold Cross services.
We are proud of our 20-year track record - with no problems. It has been a team effort by both the private and public sectors. Both Salt Lake City (since 1970) and Salt Lake County (since 1980) have worked closely with us to produce an enviable record.
For example, together we developed a response system to types of calls with professionals and vehicles clearly identified. That system is now the standard system used in many major cities in the U.S.
R. Gene Moffitt
Gold Cross Services