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Yes on EMS levy

Editorial for May 10, 2007

Skyline Hospital is asking voters in the community to support the Emergency Medical Services renewal levy.

The ballots have been sent out, and it's up to the voters to cast their votes and return their ballots by May 15.

The Skyline Hospital EMS question is the only question on this special election ballot. But even though it is the only measure on the ballot, the election is very important. After all, there is little that is more serious than the health and safety of our citizens.

Mike Madden, administrator of Skyline, recently pointed out that the total cost of renewing the existing EMS coverage for the entire hospital district -- which extends over a wide area, including communities such as Glenwood, Dallesport, Trout Lake, Bingen, White Salmon, High Prairie Appleton, BZ Corner, and Lyle -- is about $380,000. That translates into just 42 cents per $1,000 of assessed property valuation.

"For a $200,000 home, that's $84 a year. It's pretty cheap for what we're getting," Madden said.

Truer words were never spoken. Think about it. The EMS levy allows Skyline to keep two emergency crews on duty at all times. That's essential in an area as large and with as many people as are in the Skyline Hospital District, which covers roughly half of Klickitat County.

One ambulance crew with an EMT and a paramedic is based in White Salmon, and another ambulance and crew is based at Dallesport.

With a busy highway running through Klickitat County, it's not unusual for there to be more than one car wreck at the same time, or for there to be a fire and a heart attack call at the same time. Two crews is really the minimum the people living in this area need.

Having two crews also serves to keep response times down. If there is a call in Murdock, having a crew stationed at Dallesport saves critical minutes in reaching the scene. In so many medical emergencies, just a few minutes can make a huge difference to someone's prognosis.

Further, the Skyline personnel are a real blessing. We have a well-trained, highly skilled EMS staff with a professional attitude. That applies to all of our hospital personnel, as well as to the Mid-Columbia Family Health Center. We're fortunate to have them here, and it's great to know they are on duty to take care of our medical needs.

None of us can ever know when we might need emergency medical help, and it's a lot better to have an ambulance crew available and not need them than to need them and not have them available.

Skyline's EMS teams might someday be the ones to save your life or the life or someone you love, and they deserve all of our support. This levy is vital, and it is money well spent. Please vote to approve the Skyline Hospital EMS levy.



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