Do the right thing, Plymouth Township
May 8, 2019 PLYMOUTH VOICE.
Plymouth Michigan News
Sadly, not everyone in Plymouth Township likes the supervisor. He’s the guy who came in 2 years ago and in a sweep, cleaned house, mended fences and fixed broken barns. Some folks say he’s the right guy for the job; nobody owns him and he’s not indebted to anyone. Others say they’d like to have his job and will work hard to get it, at any cost.
One thing for sure, the township firefighters love him–just as we think the residents should. That’s because Kurt Heise kept his promise to rebuild their fire department after years of neglect and political wrangling. He re-opened the long shuttered Lake Pointe Fire Station No. 2, called firefighters and other laid-off employees back to work. Under his leadership, the Board of Trustees fostered a public safety millage that won with overwhelming support, agreed to settle up with City of Plymouth on pension legacy costs, and replaced antiquated, unsafe fire engines, ambulances and equipment.
No one will argue that every second is precious when it comes to saving a life. In recent years we’ve witnessed and reported on people in our community who had more than a fighting chance to live but who perished waiting for an electrical shock from a common medical device known as a defibrillator. We’ve also told of people in sudden cardiac arrest who needed more than a shock, but a heart-starting intraosseous injection that can only be administered by paramedics.
Fortunately, our township fire department employs all certified paramedics and our ambulances are all ALS, Advance Life Support, rigs. But, the system we’ve inherited, one that’s been in existence and sanctioned for the past 28 years, has one big flaw. We rely on an outside ambulance company to transport patients to hospitals. We have every reason to expect them to arrive on time to accident scenes and medical emergencies and transport our residents and citizens to the nearest hospital.
That system, however, is outdated and is not working. The township board members know this, but some are unwilling to accept the changes necessary to fix the problems. Their reasons are varied and for some, deep rooted in past conflicts. It’s not that HVA, Huron Valley Ambulance, is less than a reputable service. They’re good at what they are set-up to do; move Mrs. Jones from the nursing home to a rehab facility or transport Mr. Smith to St. Mary Hospital. Not all HVA Ambulances have licensed paramedics on board who can push the drugs during a life-threatening event. And this is a problem when they send the wrong crew to a scene where real medical help is crucial to saving a life.
Almost all of our neighboring communities with professional fire departments transport the patients they treat and then collect the revenue for providing that service. Having qualified medical help to immediately treat and transport those with medical emergencies to hospitals where they can get care, rather than waiting for a second ambulance to appear from wherever they might be, like South Lyon or Wixom, go through the entire triage again, and then transport the poor patient who easily may have suffered more severe harm or even death from the delay, is inefficient, life threatening and too costly for taxpayers. What Heise and the trained paramedics want to do is a necessary step to modernize the fire department and equates to better serving our community members when they are at their most vulnerable.
As we said, every second is precious. Tension and fights between emergency medical crews and misunderstandings are costing precious time and causing our township to lose approximately $600,000 annually. That’s the amount of revenue Plante Moran estimates having our fire department transport the patients they treat would generate annually, an amount that is now going to HVA. Heise asks if we want our money to go to private ambulance company based in Grand Rapids, one with whom we don’t have a contract, or do we want those funds reinvested in the township to benefit the community and taxpayers.
We think the answer is eminently clear.
If you care about the safety of Plymouth Township residents, as we do, you need to show-up at the Board of Trustees Meeting, Tuesday, May 14, when a vote on “hospital transport” is scheduled. Tell your representatives on the board you are concerned and that you care about our emergency services. If you make your opinion known, you could just be the one to help save the life of your neighbor or someone in your own family.
BOARD WILL NOT VOTE ON FIRE DEPARTMENT TRANSPORT ON MAY 14.
The powers that be have removed, withheld or placed the controversial issue of patient transport in abeyance and will not vote at the May 14 Board of Trustees Meeting, as expected. Perhaps, because of all the attention generated by the issue they hope to hold a discussion and vote when the public is less involved or aware…the very antithesis of transparency in government. Township Trustee Jack Dempsey openly requested the vote to be postponed at the May 7 board meeting, stating he needed more time to study the proposal. How much more time do they need; is HVA making the “delay” profitable or advantageous to any of the board members; is horse trading involved with the Supervisor to get the votes? Plymouth Voice will continue to review every agenda in an attempt to notify residents as to when this vote might be scheduled. (Updated: 5-10-19)