Big Valley loses ambulance service
July 9, 2013 — For nearly a year, concerned residents of Big Valley — Adin, Bieber, Lookout and Nubieber — have been trying to figure out how to provide ambulance service to the almost 2,000 people who live there. Sighting a $150,000 annual loss, Modoc Medical Center discontinued ambulance service to Big Valley as of Sunday, June 30.
According to Clinton Davis, a Big Valley resident who helped form the Big Valley Ambulance Working Group in January 2013 to address the issue, Modoc Medical Center let the community know in July 2012 that it may have to drop the ambulance service they had provided for 64 years. Since then Davis said the group has been “looking at all the options.”
According to a letter written by Diane Bouse, a resident of Adin, the first attempt to find a solution came when a Joint Powers of Agreement was formed between the three fire districts of Big Valley. After a few months of discussions, Davis said they couldn’t come to an agreement this past March and “we were back to square one.”
“The difficulty of getting three different districts to pass a tax via three different elections was one of the stumbling blocks that led to the failure of this plan,” wrote Bouse in her letter.
After the failed Joint Power of Agreement, Bouse said another group worked with Mayers Memorial Hospital on a temporary solution involving taking over the ambulance service for three months. But, since Big Valley is not a part of the hospital’s district and the hospital was looking at possibly shutting down part of their long-term care facility, Bouse said the agreement was not feasible.
Davis said the working group has been meeting with Lassen and Modoc County Local Area Formation commissions and are “just getting started” on finding a permanent solution.
“We may have to start a whole new district,” said Davis. Available options include creating a special district, a Joint Powers of Agreement, leasing equipment or contracting with a private source to supply ambulance service, said Davis.
Bouse wrote in her letter that she feels “ambulance service will not resume in Big Valley unless we are willing to tax ourselves to pay for it.”
As it stands now, if anyone in Big Valley needs an ambulance, they will have to wait for one to drive from Fall River Mills, Alturas, Burney or even as far away as Susanville.
“Right now the (ambulance) response time is 45 minutes to an hour,” said Davis. “It could mean the difference between life and death.”
For more information, call Davis at 640-1663, or plan to attend a Big Valley Ambulance Working Group meeting at 9 a.m. every Thursday at the Veterans Memorial Hall in Bieber.
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