LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Maintaining a high quality EMS service requires investment – Leader Publications

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Almost every person in this community will have to rely on emergency medical services (EMS) to help someone they love at some point in their life. When you call for help, you can be sure someone will always show up. Our Southwest Michigan Community Ambulance Service team takes this responsibility very seriously. We have been providing EMS services in this community since 1976 and we work hard to maintain the service you expect and deserve.

That’s why we’re asking for an increase in the special levy that helps pay for our services. Currently, every package in our service area pays $20 per year for emergency services.

This rate has not increased in over 25 years, while the cost of protecting our community has increased dramatically. We’ve seen the cost of recruiting and retaining high-quality EMS teams rise dramatically as the national EMS staffing crisis hits home. Our supply costs have increased by 63%. And of course, everyone knows how high gasoline prices are. We’ve done everything we can to maintain our services, but now we need your help.


The increase in the special assessment would take place over the next five years. In the first year, the assessment would increase from its current rate of $20 per year to $30 per year. It would then increase by $5 per year, until it peaked at $50. That works out to just $4 a month for guaranteed ambulance service in your community.

Every dollar invested in SMCAS goes back into the community. We are a not-for-profit, municipally owned and operated ambulance service, which means our main goal is to be there for our community when needed. All funding goes directly to our operations so that we can serve the community. The additional funding would be used to recruit and retain new and existing staff for the SMCAS. They work very hard and deserve to be paid industry standard for their work.

We do not take a request for a raise lightly. In fact, we delayed doing that for a long time. With our costs continuing to rise, this is the best option to ensure the EMS services you all expect and rely on. Our application will be reviewed and approved by local officials in your township/city this summer. Please let them know that you support increased funding for SMCAS. We’ve always been there for you, and now we hope you’ll support us too.

By Brian Scribner, Executive Director of Southwestern Michigan Community Ambulance Service

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