Umatilla County could face a critical loss of ambulance services in and around the city of Milton-Freewater if the county can’t find a way to help a private company operate in the black. Most ambulance services are provided by private companies, and it can be tricky for them to operate a successful business in sparsely populated rural areas. Rural ambulance crews get fewer calls than those serving rural areas and therefore, can’t spread their costs out as easily. Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement over the past few years has compounded the problem.
Do you live in rural Oregon? Have you ever had to ride in an ambulance? Did you have to pay for it? If you didn’t, do you know who did?
- Rick Saager: President of Milton-Freewater Emergency Medical Service and the Milton-Freewater Rural Fire Department
- Jim Stearns: Emergency Manager for Umatilla County and former Hermiston Fire Chief
- Shawn Baird: Paramedic, co-owener of Woodburn Ambulance and president of the Oregon State Ambulance Association