End of Boundary Volunteer Ambulance?
August 15, 2013
By Idaho state law, each of the 44 counties in
the state are required to provide ambulance
service. For 47 years, the county didn't have to
think of it Boundary Volunteer Ambulance did the
job for a pittance. It was service the
volunteers have long been proud of, but BVA
fears their dedication, and service, may be at
In 2011, at BVA's behest, an ambulance taxing
district was formed in Boundary County to bring
to the county needed services it could not then
provide as a separate and all volunteer
organization. They knew they needed to do
better; laws were changing. Even though they
were volunteers, local EMTs faced the risk of
lawsuit every time they they answered a call.
BVA asked, and was assured, that their long
years of service would be remembered in the
formation of this district.
Less than a year later, they fear the end has
come, and that it's not the association, but the
community that will suffer.
It appears to revolve around a single
requirement and a contention over how best to
provide: Advanced Life Support.
BVA is an Intermediate Life Support unit; they
can respond to all manner of medical
situations in Boundary County, and carry them to
Boundary Community Hospital, but they can't yet
transport the most gravely ill to hospitals
According to BVA Chief Ken Baker, that's a
situation soon remidied.
On October 1, the contract with the county
necessary to keep BVA alive is set to expire,
and county commissioners, he fears, are tending
precariously toward letting Boundary Volunteer
An offer of a 2014 contract for $220,000, less
than the tax money authorized, which would give
BVA the capabilities needed to provide advanced
life support and transport, he said, has not
been approved; it appears, he said, that county
commissioners seem to be favoring a full Bonner
County contract, under which BVA turns ownership
of its assets over to the county, letting
Newport Ambulance take over operations here, at
a considerably cost, under a contract with
Bonner County, which by all accounts has a long
and storied record of failure as regards EMS.
It might work. But local EMTs might no longer
sit in a local ambulance at Badger football
games, local rodeos, mudbogs or other events
And even though taxpayer funded, payable to
Bonner County, there's no doubt that those
unfortunate and needing an ambulance in Boundary
County won't get a bill.
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