SOS: Save Our Squad

January 29, 2013 

We’re sending out the SOS – Save Our Squad – to Lake Wylie and fellow York County residents, and those who could be deciding its fate, the York County Council.

Council is expected to make a decision, possibly next month, on the emergency responder contract with Piedmont Medical Center and volunteer services, which would include our River Hills/Lake Wylie EMS.

So here’s our letter to Council:

The Lake Wylie community is invested financially and emotionally with River Hills/Lake Wylie EMS. These are our neighbors volunteering to come to our rescue. And we appreciate them. Our respect and gratitude is shown in the 33 years of support by individuals and organizations, and the dedication of its volunteers. According to the website rhems.org, the low volume in 1980 has increased to a dispatched volume of more than 1,144 calls in 2012. The squad has grown to include 17 paramedics, 11 intermediate EMTs, 21 basic EMTs and 10 first responders. The squad has some paid staff, too.

A main ingredient in this equation is our squad provides its service free to our community, only charging medical insurance when applicable. Piedmont, on the other hand, is for-profit.

As patients of River Hills/Lake Wylie EMS, we may choose the hospital. Under the new agreement, Piedmont would be the primary option, although other facilities are closer to us than the one in Rock Hill, including CMC-Steele Creek, and others in Mecklenburg County or Gaston Memorial Hospital. Please keep in mind, York County could soon have a new hospital in Fort Mill, too. We like options. Having options is a good thing, especially considering the changes that happen within the medical field and specific needs of patients.

Any council members with affiliations to Piedmont Medical Center should consider the conflict of interest and not vote when the contract does come to vote.

But most importantly, if the county is going to decide on this contract, should we not be privy to seeing it?

While you continue to not make a decision, the ambulance war wages on here as we see our EMS and PMC ambulances waiting in various locations around our community.

Giving Piedmont complete medical control and dispatch doesn’t sit well with us.

We hope Council will carefully consider what the Lake Wylie area residents are requesting, unlike the commercial “color code” consideration in the fall, nixed before residents and business owners could weigh in.

If you, Lake Wylie residents and others in York County, want a say, say it loud and say it now. Write or call our county representatives stating your point of view. Visit www.YorkCountyGov.com/CountyCouncil/CouncilMembers and let them know we don’t want to lose our squad.

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