The issue of who has the ultimate authority to operate ambulance service, establish medical protocol and levy taxes is headed for the courts in what can be termed as a “test case.”
Ada County Commishes passed the ordinance which was strongly opposed by fire chiefs and firefighters at last week’s meeting. The passage and resulting court scrutiny may not be all bad. But the decision may not be what the county EMS folks want to hear.
Previous GUARDIAN postings have been slammed with paramedics and firefighters sniping at each other over the ordinance which we see as a power play on the part of the county to rescue an ailing agency.
Ignored by everyone–including the mainstream media–is a provision in the existing IDAHO CODE which gives cities the power to allow a county ambulance to operate within the city limits. We assume this law would apply to “incorporated fire districts as well.”
31-3905. AMBULANCE SERVICE — OPERATION DEPENDENT UPON RESOLUTION OF EACH CITY — RIGHT TO TAX UNAFFECTED BY NONSERVICE. “All cities and villages within the county, upon resolution duly passed and approved and presented to the board of county commissioners, may authorize said ambulance service to operate within the boundaries of said city or village, but the failure of any such governing body to authorize said ambulance service to operate within the limits of said village or city, shall not affect the right of the board of county commissioners to levy the tax as hereinbefore provided.”
To our layman’s mind this says the county can indeed tax, but without permission from the cities, the EMS cannot operate within the cities.
We have no objection to a MEDICAL standard for all EMS service regardless of private, fire, or EMS offering it. It will come as no surprise if the court rules the county can set the standard, but they cannot usurp the cities right to provide services to their residents.
That state–not Ada County–should take the lead in establishing medical protocols, training requirements, and general standards for paramedics.
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