DAVISON AREA — The three local units of government – Davison, Davison Township and Richfield Township – all unanimously approved a contract for emergency medical services with MedStar ambulance this week.
Davison City Manager Andrea Schroeder said she and Davison- Richfield Fire Chief Brian Flewelling had the chance to meet with representatives from Medstar and were presented with a package she described as a “win-win situation.”
She said with the recent announcement by the Genesee County Medical Control Authority, which oversees 911, that there have been 13 or 14 instances where the county has three or fewer available EMS units to respond to a 911 call since Halloween, the contract would help guarantee service to the Davison area.
“There’s a problem and it’s getting harder for everyone to take care of and to handle,” she said. “It might be a good idea to explore a contract with Medstar.”
Schroeder said the leaders of the three municipalities in the Davison area hope this is something the community can move forward with.
“If we don’t like it, there’s clause that we can opt out of it with so many days in writing,” she said. “It’s not going to cost any of our entities any money because (Medstar has) done the research to known that there are enough medical calls in the area to allow it.”
Davison-Richfield Area Fire Department Chief Brian Flewelling said until recently, Genesee County 911 didn’t honor municipal contracts for emergency services, creating what he called a “cutthroat, free-for-all atmosphere” between ambulance companies in the county.
Also, with no way to guarantee ambulance service in a community, it led the issue in the Davison area of the fire department being sent on an increasing number of medical runs, which brought the three local municipalities rising costs for emergency services.
Flewelling said the county recently changed its policy on recognizing municipal contracts, opening the door for the Davison Fire Authority to negotiate a contract with Medstar Ambulance for coverage of the community with a guaranteed 8-minute, 59 seconds response time at no cost to the community.
“As far back as I can remember, 911 never honored municipal contracts for EMS, even though public health code lays out that that’s how you’re supposed to do it,” he said. “Private companies were never interested in contracts because there was no promise of profit.”
He said Medstar has successful contracts with other counties surrounding Genesee County. Because of the contract 911 will recognize them as a quasi-governmental agency, similar to police and fire, and when a medical call comes in it will go to Medstar.
He also cited several advantages a contract with Medstar will offer the Davison community:
• Over the last 18 months Medstar has handled the majority of EMS calls in the Davison area
• Medstar covers Lapeer County so it can “backfill” from Lapeer if rigs dedicated to the Davison are transporting patients
• Medstar is dedicated to this community, he said, they will have equipment and resources dedicated to Davison
• Officials here have the personal cell phone numbers to Medstar’s top execs
Flewelling said Medstar will also handle the Davison fire fighters’ continuing education free of cost They will restock Davison fire department rigs instead of having it done through the current seven vendors the department uses.
“They can provide resupply at a lower cost,” said Flewelling. “There are many, many advantages for us.”
He said the contract could be opened to Atlas and Forest townships with no change in service to the Davison area.
Davison Township Supervisor Jim Slezak said the ability to add in other communities without a change to Davison’s service was one aspect of the contract he liked about the contract.
He said he, Flewelling, former Police Chief Rick Freeman, Deputy Chief Gerald Harris and the representatives from Davison City and Richfield Township were all part of different meetings with Medstar to work out the agreement.
“It’s all been on the positive side.” Said Slezak. “I can’t see downside…it’s performance based and there’s no cost. It also sets a response time which will probably be better than the proposed 8 minutes, 59 seconds.”