Partnership for the People

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					                       Guest Editorial
                                                                                                                                                       By Thom Dick



                        Partnership for the People
                        Brighton’s hospital-based paramedics now respond from fire stations

                           People are so angry today. Angry at the president, angry at           ment of Platte Valley Medical Center, based on a contract with
                        Congress, angry about the war, angry about their health insurance        the fire district. His people also enjoy a relaxed environment,
                        and angry about the economy. Worst of all, they’re angry at each         despite his use of military supervisory titles that parallel those
                        other. When you enter almost any blog about anything, you can’t          of the fire department. Responding from four locations, they field
                        help noticing their unprecedented disrespect.                            two 24-hour crews and a 12-hour day crew seven days a week,
                           Of course, bloggers are like radio talk-show hosts. They know         along with a paramedic captain in a fly car. They keep six clean,
                        they can say (or misspell) just about anything they like without         ALS-stocked ambulances. If something big happens, like an inci-
                        accepting responsibility for it. But talk to just about any EMSer        dent at nearby Denver International Airport, they can split their
                        from just about anywhere, and they’ll tell you that kind of anger        crews and pair them with firefighters to double the number of
                        (and disrespect) has been common for many years between EMS              available medic units.
                        agencies and fire departments—even where both functions are                 Brighton’s fire, ambulance and police departments use NIMS in
                        performed by the same agency. These are people who have been             their daily operations, and all three are dispatched (along with
                        dying alongside one another for years, yet in so many ways they act      services from other municipalities) by ADCOM, the Adams County
                        like enemies—afraid of one another. What a shame.                        Communications Center. They’re all capable of 800-Mhz commu-
                           Brighton’s a little town 20 miles north of Denver, where the          nications with just about anybody they need to contact.
                        absence of that kind of fear has had a powerful effect on the rela-        On-duty EMT/paramedic crews from Platte Valley Ambulance
                        tionships between the town’s BLS first responders and ALS trans-          have been “living” in Brighton’s fire stations since September 1,
                                                                                                 2009. That was Bodane’s idea, and when he first proposed it, not
                                                                                                 everybody was thrilled. But when the EMS contract came up for
                                                                                                 renewal last year, he also proposed a 10-year term. The hospital
                                                                                                 read that as evidence he wasn’t just trying to build an empire.
                                                                                                   The reason for the move-in was that Brighton had been growing.
                                                                                                 Once a whistle-stop for farmers along the front range of the
                                                                                                 Rockies (the eastern side), the city’s shape has changed from
                                                                                                 small and round to long and rectangular. The ambulance service’s
                                                                                                 central “big-barn” deployment became obsolete enough that the
                                                                                                 hospital had to consider building not one but two new stations at
                                                                                                 once. Beset by a recession and transport collection rates of less
                                                                                                 than 33%, that seemed impossible.
                                                                                                   Craigle worried that moving crews into fire stations would
                                  
				
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