Temagami supports more direct delivery of EMS services

·3 min read

By Jamie Mountain

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

TEMAGAMI - The District of Nipissing Social Services Administration Board (DNSSAB) is exploring the possibility of direct delivery of EMS/Land Ambulance Services.

The board says the provincial trend has been shifting towards direct delivery and DNSSAB is one of just a few municipal entities that does not currently deliver EMS services directly, but rather contracts out to third party operators such as the Municipality of Temagami, the North Bay Regional Health Centre, and Mattawa General Hospital.

“With the approval of its 2021 Budget, the DNSSAB will explore the potential of direct delivery of EMS/Land Ambulance Services,” said the board in a news release.

The board said that at various times since 2001, when the province transferred the responsibility for land ambulance to the municipalities/social services boards, “board members have raised the subject of EMS direct delivery.

“More recently, the board has directed staff to look into this in more depth. A preliminary review has indicated that the direct delivery of land ambulance services could bring benefits in the areas of centralized operations and administration, operating efficiencies, increased performance, and evolving the system to meet community needs.”

Temagami Mayor Dan O’Mara, who sits on the DNSSAB as the municipality’s representative, said that he supports having the concept of direct delivery for EMS/Land Ambulance Services looked into further.

He said that through agreements with the DNSSAB, Temagami has maintained an ambulance license “for a number of years,” mainly due to what he says is the greater control perceived with hosting the service locally.

“As well, initially, there were different policies related to non land-based calls and Temagami wanted to ensure our citizens were well served,” he said in an email interview.

SEEKING OPPORTUNITIES

“With DNSSAB's review of Land Ambulance Services, Temagami will seek opportunities for input and review the need for us to maintain this separate license arrangement. We look forward to a comprehensive review that also reviews response times, times where our resources are strained based on call volume and ensuring we have the most responsive and cost effective system possible given all of our unique circumstances.”

The DNSSAB says its 2021 budget supports “a more detailed financial analysis” and “potential transition plan” for direct delivery.

“This analysis will start in the second quarter of 2021, with a final report expected before the end of the year,” the release stated.

According to DNSSAB board chair Mark King, the intention of the review is to “consider what delivery model offers the best overall service.”

If the board does undertake direct delivery, DNSSAB says the transition plan will be executed with the goal of having the service transferred in-house in early 2022.

The status quo for EMS Services delivery will remain until a decision is made, it says.

Regardless of the service delivery model chosen, DNSSAB says its board is “committed to continuing to work with the contracted ambulance service providers and values their leadership and participation in ambulance operations to date. “The board also takes this opportunity to continue to acknowledge the invaluable work of paramedics in Nipissing District.”

Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker