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Vilas Co. EMS Committee Looking At Expanded Paramedic Service

Ken Anderson photo

A decision by the Vilas County Ad Hoc EMS committee this week  will explore if paramedic service would be welcomed by communities where advance life support (ALS) is unavailable and what role, if any, the county should play.

The committee will look at ways to implement added ALS and other ideas on how to respond to medical emergencies but they made it clear the county would not be going into the ambulance business. Committee chairman Marv Anderson of St. Germain felt they could look at adding “fly cars” in certain underserved areas of the county. These would be staffed 24 hours a day with paramedics which could provide intercepts. “The county is not trying to sell this,” Anderson said. “It was one idea that came up for us to look at.”

Jay Sommers, regional EMS director for Ascension St. Mary's and Howard Young, felt there was a need for intercept service. “Overall more intercept service is needed and a way to properly bill for intercept service,” Sommers said. “Presently we have ALS around Eagle River and Arbor Vitae which they pay for.”

Committee member Jerry Burkett said the county was not ready to go into the ambulance business while emergency government director Jim Galloway felt recruitment and training was needed but made it clear “advanced life support is needed.”

Meeting with county municipalities will be made after a presentation on options and costs are developed. They will be asking if planning for improved ALS should continue or should it just be dropped.

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