TAVARES —Lake County Commissioners voted unanimously today to transition Lake Emergency Medical Services (Lake EMS) into the county organization.
The approach will improve response times and increase overall service while saving $500,000 in the first year. Additional operational efficiencies will be identified in the second and third years.
“This is truly a great accomplishment for the county and our citizens,” said Chairman Tim Sullivan. “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.”
The commission’s vote will ultimately dissolve the 501(c)(3) non-profit Lake EMS and its board. The transition is expected to be completed by February 2019. The move comes after a consultant’s study suggested three alternatives to enhance emergency medical services. County leadership, in coordination with Lake EMS, presented the board Tuesday with the proposal to bring Lake EMS into the county organization as the Office of EMS.
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, 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,” said John Molenda, Assistant County Manager. “We look forward to the opportunity to further enhance service for all residents and visitors”
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.
“The public will continue to receive the same quality, professional care that Lake EMS has always provided,” said 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.”