Vail Daily letter: ‘Yes’ on Ballot Issue A
I served as the first chairman of the ambulance district board formed in 1982. Over the past 34 years, I have watched with pride as the district has grow from one station at each end of the valley run by two districts and staffed by part-time emergency personnel to the current unified district with five stations staffed 24 hours by full-time paramedics. In a medical emergency you can now expect a rapid response by highly trained professionals who provide the best service available in our state.
I currently work at Mountain Family Health Center, serving many under-insured patients. While the Affordable Care Act has been a safety net for many of my patients who now qualify for Medicaid, an unfortunate consequence of the Affordable Care Act has been a drastic decrease in reimbursements for ambulance services (seven cents for every dollar billed). Despite efforts to trim its budget in every way possible, decreased reimbursements have resulted in a $1.8 million shortfall annually. The only remaining choice is to cut services and personnel. The district is asking voters to approve an increase in homeowner taxes (from its current low 2 mill tax support) by an additional 0.75 mill, or $6 per $100,000 assessed valuation. To me this is the best “insurance” for our community that in times of medical emergency, we can continue to receive the rapid response by the best personnel that we have come to expect! I encourage you to vote “yes” on A.
Kent Petrie, MD