Lake EMS transitioning into county department to save time and money

Lake County residents can expect improved emergency response times, increased service, and a savings for the county as Lake Emergency Medical Services transitions into the county government.

County commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved the move, which is expected to save $500,000 in the first year with additional operational efficiencies in the second and third years, a news release states.

“This is truly a great accomplishment for the county and our citizens,” Commission Chairman Tim Sullivan says in the release. “By completing this transition, we will be able to eliminate costly duplication and reach patients faster, offering an enhanced service to our citizens at a lower cost.”

Lake EMS, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and its board ultimately will be dissolved, and the transition of Lake EMS into the new Office of EMS is expected to be completed by February 2019.

The move comes after a consultant’s study suggested three alternatives to enhance emergency medical services. Lake EMS and county staff met with municipalities, fire chiefs, local hospitals, and other key stakeholders to ensure that their needs would be met through this partnership, according to the release.

“The public will continue to receive the same quality, professional care that Lake EMS has always provided,” says Lake EMS Executive Director Jerry Smith, who will serve as the Office of EMS director. “In fact, the transition will improve response times in both rural and urban areas, and keep transport community-based.”

County and Lake EMS staff will work together under a two-phased approach to ensure a smooth, streamlined transition without any disruption in service to the public. Additional projected savings were identified through reduced turnover, use of facilities, IT hardware and software costs, travel expenses, and redundant equipment.

“Lake EMS already provides a valuable service to Lake County in coordination with Lake County Fire Rescue and municipal fire departments,” Assistant County Manager John Molenda says in the release. “We look forward to the opportunity to further enhance service for all residents and visitors.”