County and Communities Join Forces to Provide Faster Emergency Ambulance Service
May 06, 2004
Sharyn Wisniewski, Dane County (608) 267-8823
Janet Piraino, City of Madison (608) 266-4611
In a move to provide the closest available Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance service to people experiencing life threatening injury or illness, Dane County and local communities have reached a cooperative agreement to send ambulances across jurisdictional boundaries, Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz and other local officials announced today at Madison’s Fire Station Number 7 on McKenna Blvd. on the city’s southwest side.
“What we have done is to make sure that our citizens get the best, fastest ALS service in matters of life and death,” said County Executive Falk.
“I am pleased to be joined by leaders of our community in announcing a new era of regional cooperation which will help save the lives of many of our residents,” said Mayor Cieslewicz.
The plan is a cooperative initiative between Dane County and the City of Madison, City of Middleton, Town of Madison and Fitch-Rona EMS. The four providers will provide county-wide service in life-threatening situations. (Basic Life Support ambulances respond to situations deemed by dispatchers to be non life-threatening.) A pilot program, running from June through the end of 2004 will test and refine this new level of coordination.
The idea is simple: the Dane County Public Safety Communications (911) Center will dispatch the closest available appropriately equipped ambulance to life-threatening emergencies, regardless of any geographical boundaries. All ALS responders are licensed paramedics who have received advanced training in emergency response.
The Dane County 911 Center and the ALS ambulances are being upgraded with Automatic Vehicle Location (AVL) technology. Automatic Vehicle Locators will be installed in all 15 of the municipal ALS ambulances, which allows dispatchers in the 911 Center to see where all ambulances are located at any given time. Dane County is contributing $130,000 in state Homeland Security grants and the City of Madison has budgeted $65,000 for the technology upgrade.
Dane County, in exchange for the ALS service provided by the City of Madison and other providers, is contributing $50,000 in one-time start up funding for the pilot. All participating ALS providers are eligible to receive $150 per ALS patient contact for the duration of the pilot. The $150 fee will be discontinued on the last day of the pilot or when the funds are exhausted, whichever occurs first. Participating ALS providers will also continue to bill insurance, Medicare, Medicaid or the patient.
A steering committee will monitor the progress of the pilot project, evaluate its success and study needs and benefits of the collaboration. A data collection committee will review and analyze the data resulting from the pilot program.
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