The continuing saga of ambulance service in Collier County takes yet another frustrating turn.
The county’s independent fire districts, with boards elected by voters in each big neighborhood, drafts legislation to merge, engage in limited emergency medical services and have their own medical director — separate from the county’s medical director, Dr. Robert Tober, a nationally acclaimed emergency doctor who wonders whether some firefighters cheated on emergency medical tests. They insist they did not.
In response, Collier County commissioners have lodged a protest — although in the past they have encouraged the fire districts to merge and go into the ambulance business.
County officials say they want uniform medical expertise in charge. They do not want medical protocol to change from one part of the county to the other.
Then why didn’t they say so ahead of time?
The only positive aspect of this is it gives us another opportunity to publicly ask whether all the posturing, looking more like turf-guarding all the time, is really necessary?
The bottom line is Collier County — all of which is in this as a community, together — is making seemingly zero progress toward emergency medical service that is efficient and safe as it can be. People who need it don’t care who’s in charge. They care only that the service is of high quality at a fair price. With fire trucks and ambulances responding to the same calls and staffed by personnel who, at least on paper, don’t seem to be getting along, our community is coming up short.
We need leadership.