A new ambulance service in Clearfield may hinge on the Davis County Board of Health.
Officially, the new service would need approval from the Utah Emer-gen-cy Medical Services Council. That council, however, usually follows the guidance of the local government body that oversees the services.In most cases, said Dr. James Saunders, director of the Davis Health Department, that has been the county EMS council. Even in Davis County, tradition has held that the EMS council makes that recommendation.
That may soon change.
"It seems that the EMS council has acted autonomously and then advised the Board of Health of their actions," he said.
The Board of Health feels that the EMS council is acting inappropriately, however. Instead of apologizing after, the board would like the EMS council to ask for permission first.
Igniting the issue was the request for the city of Clearfield to operate its own ambulance service, independent of the sheriff's service. The city based its request on studies showing it could reduce costs and improve service.
The city approached the EMS council, which subsequently approved the request, Saunders said. The EMS council then prepared a letter of recommendation for the state EMS council and asked for the Board of Health to back its recommendation.
The board, however, balked at the request and requested more data to back the shift of services.
"I don't see how we can support this with the information provided," said board member Monte Keller, explaining that he didn't necessarily oppose the move. He simply wanted better data.
Other members took issue with the EMS council - composed of an assortment of locally elected officials, county leaders and emergency service personnel - essentially telling the board their decision and not requesting the board's opinion.
"They're an advisory board to us, and we should approve these actions," said board member Richard Lemon.
The board plans to study any additional data during the next month and address the issue again at its next board meeting. That meeting is scheduled for Sept. 15.