Reader believes Life EMS was the right move.

October 23, 2018

Reader believes Life EMS was the right move.

Letter to the Editor by Kerry Krentz.

Losing one’s job can be a scary thing.  Recently our Oceana County Commissioners voted to disband Oceana County Emergency Medical Services (OCEMS) and to hire Life EMS.  Life EMS guaranteed a job interview to all former OCEMS employees. And everyone who interviewed with Life EMS and was offered a job accepted it.  In addition, the new employees were all given healthcare benefits effective the moment the Life contract took effect.

Newago County employs Life EMS but pays nothing for its services.  (Its services are covered by two area hospitals.) Life EMS in Mason County has two ambulances and pays $48,000 per year for its services.  Life EMS in Lake County has one full time and one half time ambulance, and they pay $300,000 per year for services. OCEMS had three full time ambulances, and we paid them $1.3 million per year for services!  You can do the math.

OCEMS was paying full time paramedics 43% more than the median salary for full time paramedics in Michigan and 74% more than the median salary for full time paramedics nationwide.

OCEMS was unable to service the east side of our county and had to hire another company for that purpose.  Life EMS is covering our entire county and has plans to build an ambulance garage on the east side in the near future.

Life EMS is currently leasing Oceana County’s ambulances and ambulance garage.  They updated our ambulances even before the contract started, and they take care of ambulance maintenance.  The contract states that 90% of calls will be reached within 15 minutes starting at the point of dispatch.

OCEMS was government run, and OCEMS employees belonged to a union (SEIU).  

Most of us agree on two things:  union workers are generally paid higher wages than non-union workers, and nearly all government run programs are inefficient and not cost effective.  But all of us agree that it is the citizen who pays the higher price for both of the above.

So with Life EMS we have the same ambulances, the same employees, better contract conditions, upgraded technology, and expanded coverage for less money.  Sounds like a win to me.

Three of our county commissioners have challengers in November due solely to this issue.  I believe they have done their jobs well. They were looking out for “We the People.” And I will vote to reelect my county commissioner.  I hope you will vote to reelect yours as well.

 

Kerry Krentz

Rothbury, MI  49452

Letters to the Editor are the opinion of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinions of this news service or its staff. 

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