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Group forming on emergency services issue

Syringa Hospital


Syringa Hospital



— A discussion group regarding local emergency response services is in the works thanks to Syringa Hospital board member Jim May of Kooskia.

“I believe our local emergency service groups, QRUs and EMTs, are suffering due to a lack of volunteers,” May said at the regular Sept. 26 board meeting.

In addition, May said while some entities in larger areas are funded by hospitals or the city, the outlying QRUs (quick response units) are struggling.

“They are relegated to host bake sales or pick up cans, to raise funds,” he said.

Ideally, May said, Syringa Hospital and Clinics has a taxing district that he feels has a responsibility to extend its mission to care for outlying residents as well as those within the confines of the district.

“Syringa is in an unique position to champion better health care through better emergency services,” he said.

May said he wasn’t necessarily advocating “throwing money” at the issue; however, “my gut tells me we can do better,” he said.

May will help form a discussion group to identify problems and seek solutions for emergency services in the area, from lack of volunteers to the need for funds.

“Maybe we can get the state’s attention about the dearth of first responders in rural areas,” said board chair Al Bolden of White Bird. “If nothing else, we can raise awareness to the communities to the need for volunteers.”

“Although some of the problem is the reality of living where we do, it doesn’t mean there cannot be improvements made,” said trustee Jerry Zumalt of Grangeville.

Trustee Jane Carlson of Grangeville suggested going to individual communities and getting input at some point and board secretary Leta Strauss of Grangeville agreed the situation is worth exploring.

Chief of the medical staff, Dr. Matthew Told, said he feels the state lowering the age requirement of first responders to 16 will be beneficial to rural areas especially.

“My son and a couple of friends will be taking the course [starting in November], and it’s pretty exciting for our family,” Told said. “I think we’ll see some good things come out of the rule change.”



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