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Alberta Health Services rejects contract for MD of Willow Creek medical response units

Alberta Health Services declined a contract in which the MD of Willow Creek would use its medical response units to assist ambulances with the transport of patients.
Council reviewed a letter Nov. 10 from Nicholas Thain, executive director of emergency medical services clinical operations in Alberta Health Services’ Calgary zone.
“After substantial review it has been determined the services are not required and the unsolicited contract . . . is not warranted,” Thain wrote.
MD of Willow Creek emergency services manager Travis Coleman provided a report.
Coleman told council the municipal district has three medical response units in Claresholm, Nanton, and Fort Macleod.
Coleman said the last transport with one of its medical transport units, which are outfitted like ambulances, was Oct. 25.
It was five to six blocks from the Fort Macleod Health Centre.
An ambulance was coming from Pincher Creek, but was still 20 minutes away so Coleman made the call to transport the patient.
“I think our program is a huge asset to the MD and all our towns,” Coleman said, adding he would like to keep it going.
MD of Willow Creek chief administrative officer Cynthia Vizzutti said the agreement was created using the municipality’s lawyer.
The same contract is used in Pincher Creek and elsewhere, where municipalities supplement Alberta Health Services emergency medical services.
Vizzutti quoted sections from the recent provincial rural health review, which encourage what the MD of Willow Creek has been doing to support emergency medical services.
The MD of Willow Creek is also concluding a pilot project with Alberta Health Services covering the medical response units, and Vizzutti is unsure that project will be continued.
Reeve Neil Wilson said the municipality has been responsible in creating this program to back up ambulances.
“I think it’s irresponsible of us not to continue on this endeavour,” Wilson said.
Coleman emphasized the purpose of these units is to fill the gaps when no ambulance is there.
Coleman also pointed out the MD of Foothills, which surrounds Okotoks and High River, has contacted him about doing the same program for their area.
Vizzutti added the agreement the MD of Willow Creek submitted is a hybrid of 63 agreements that exist around the province.
“They fit the agreement to suit the service,” Vizzutti said.
MD of Willow Creek officials were to meet Alberta Health Services on Nov. 20 to discuss the medical response units.
Depending on the outcome of that meeting, council will decide at its Nov. 25 meeting whether to seek a meeting with the health minister.