Recently Tabatha Butcher (Collier County EMS) praised the quality and service given to Marco Island by Collier County EMS. She does not mention the Marco Island Fire/Rescue Department. Marco emergency personnel are certified and provide the same level of care as Collier EMS. When Marco EMS works with Collier EMS on county ambulances, they are able to give certain lifesaving drugs and transport patients to off island facilities. However, when serving on Marco Island vehicles, Marco EMS is not allowed to use these drugs or transport.
The excellent response time that Chief Butcher boasts, eight minutes travel time 90% of the time, is bolstered by the Marco EMS which is frequently less than five minutes.
Why not give the City of Marco Island authority over its own emergency medical care? CONTROL AND MONEY. Marco Island gives more money to the County than it receives. The County collects $1 million in transport fees for ambulance service from Marco. If the Island controlled its own ambulances, it would collect these fees and not the County. Presently the County controls the number of ambulances and their location.
Councilor Honig wrote that our citizens deserve the best medical care. We are 20 years older and more remote than the rest of the county. He expects that by negotiating with the County Manager, we can come to an agreement that would be beneficial to both parties. History does not support this. Collier County has consistently short changed the citizens of Marco Island. Appeasement does not work. It’s time for Marco City Council to submit the COPCN application so that we may control our own ambulance service.
Dr. Jerry Swiacki, Marco Island