Thursday, August 25, 2016

Marsh to Wellsville Town Board: "This has been my life"

Dan Marsh of Medical Transport Service (R) discusses issues with
town board member Shad Alsworth

"This has been my life." That's what Dan Marsh told the Wellsville Town Board Wednesday afternoon during a special meeting. Marsh was referring to emergency medical services. Marsh is the owner of Medical Transport Service and Medic 700. He was at the board meeting to alert the Council of potential changes to the level of care ambulance providers can offer in Allegany County. The change would have a direct impact on Wellsville and Jones Memorial Hospital. This is a complicated and technical issue. According to Marsh, the Western Regional Medical Advisory Committee (WREMAC) is considering dropping Critical Care Technicians in Western New York, although some doctors say that's not the case despite a video of the meeting in which the topic was discussed. The doctors group wants providers to move up to the paramedic level. Marsh said losing Critical Care's (CC's) would be devastating. He said CC's "are the backbone of advanced EMS in Allegany County." Speaking of the WREMAC, Marsh said "their intentions are good." The medical group wants to push providers to the paramedic level. The paramedic course is about 1,100 hours. He said the cost of the course would also be devastating. Marsh told the board "I don't think these doctors realize how rural it is down here." He added that the medical group "has drawn a lot of power over the years." A doctor from every hospital emergency department is a member of the WREMAC. However, the doctor appointed for Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville is no longer locally based which means the county has no voice at the Buffalo meetings.
Marsh drills home his point to the town board
Drilling his point to the Wellsville board, Marsh said if the CC's are lost, the lower level providers will be able to "watch you have a heart attack...but won't be able to do anything about it." (CC's are trained to give cardiac medications and to do cardiac monitoring).
Marsh then made it personal. The critical care technician, who is about to turn 63, said EMS has "been his life," noting that he first volunteered at age 12. Marsh said for him, it's personal and "not just a business decision."
After a thirty minute presentation, the town board said it wanted to gather some additional information but would "definitely" send of letter to WREMAC expressing concerns. Town Supervisor Don LaForge said he has already be in in contact with Senator Cathy Young's office.
LaForge said if this plan were to go through, then money has to flow to the county for enhanced training and the decision should be delayed for 2-3 years. "We will fight for this," he said.