Tomorrow night (March 19), the Matanuska-Susitna Borough Assembly considers whether to convert the paid on-call emergency medical services system to a full time medical provider system by reallocating the majority of already budgeted wages and benefits.
“Our rubber band is stretched to the max,” said Acting Director of Emergency Services Ken Barkley. The Borough, 20 to 30 years ago, was able to do strictly an on-call system. Responders came from home to answer the call. In recent years we’ve augmented with some full time emergency medical personnel (who would be on duty at the station when they get the call), he said. But the strong population growth and changes in society are increasing the call volumes rapidly.
He predicts that EMS will respond to 10,000 calls in 2020. The increase in overdoses from opioid use adds to the call volume, he said. Another change, is the growth of the senior population. Since 2015, 32 retirement homes were added to the Borough, for a total of 96 senior homes in the Borough, Barkley said.
According to the proposed legislation:
Watch the Assembly video from the March 5 meeting when the subject was initially discussed. Find the start of the conversation under Manager Comments 3. Emergency Medical Services System Presentation.
View the pdf of the presentation introduced by the Dept. of Emergency Services Acting Director Ken Barkley with EMS Chief Tracey Loscar presenting.
Read the proposed legislation and see photos from the March 5 Assembly meeting. The meeting gets underway at 6 pm on March 19 at 350 E. Dahlia Ave. in Palmer in the Assembly chambers.