Hello everyone. I would like to address some recent concerns regarding ambulance service in Henry County.
Over the past few months, HCHC has been examining the possibility of a regional ambulance service, otherwise known as Emergency Medical Services (EMS), between Henry and Jefferson Counties. Unfortunately, the possibility of working together regionally will not happen at this time. However, I do believe a regional service in the future is a solid solution for the region.
A statement was made recently in the local press regarding the future of HCHC’s EMS services. Our number one priority is the safety and health of the residents of Henry County and the patients we serve. I want to be perfectly clear—Henry County Health Center would NEVER cease ambulance services without a plan in place for another entity to take over this important service.
In fact, we believe that EMS services are such important services they should be deemed essential services in rural communities like ours, just like police and fire services, and should be funded and managed in the same way.
As part of our membership with the Iowa Emergency Medical Services Association (IEMSA), as well as the Iowa Hospital Association (IHA), we have lobbied for EMS to be an essential public service. Local, state and federal government authorities must share the responsibility for funding EMS and integrating EMS in our nation’s preparedness, response and recovery infrastructure to make sure it remains viable in rural counties.
Henry County Health Center is among few Iowa hospitals (19 percent) that still manage the ambulance services within their county. Like other rural hospitals facing unprecedented Medicaid reimbursement rates and other financial constraints, we must review all services and determine what services make sense to be housed within our community hospital and what restructuring must be done to ensure the long-term viability of our hospital.
HCHC’s leadership team and Board of Trustees, as well as the Henry County Board of Supervisors, have been in discussions and are looking at various new models for the county’s EMS services. We all have the best interests of county residents, our patients, and our associates at the forefront of these discussions.
Once the right EMS model for our county is determined, we will share it with you. But, please be rest assured, if that right model is not found before the end of our fiscal year, June 30, 2020, Henry County Health Center will continue to provide the residents of Henry County with this life-saving public service. Again, we would never cease ambulance service without a plan in place to ensure EMS continuity.
If you should happen to have any questions, please feel free to contact Shelley Doak or me and we will be happy to follow up with you.