Letter: IFTs hurt local operator
The big question throughout the Rifle area right now is, what is the Fire Department doing with Interfacility Transports? IFTs are essential in the county because certain patients require a higher level of care that often is unavailable at the local hospitals, requiring transportation by ambulance to a hospital with the capability of mitigating complex issues. Many times, the hospitals that accept the patients are in the Denver-Metro area.
In Garfield County there is an ambulance service that specializes in doing long-distance transports and maintaining critical patients for long periods of time thanks to specialized protocols, automatic ventilators, pumps to administer IV medications, as well as personnel with specialized training for critical care transport.
The company in Rifle, TransCare, has taken a huge hit budgetarily since the fire department’s attempt to gain revenue by doing IFTs. The private company, owned and operated out of Montrose, saw a decrease in cash flow in 2017. And, 2018 will be tight financially if the government entity, Colorado River Fire Rescue, continues to do IFTs in hopes of extra revenue.
TransCare Ambulance has been operating in Garfield County since 2010, providing these services to GRMC as well as VVH. Colorado River Fire Rescue is now serving VVH, a hospital that is out of their service area, as well as GRMC in Rifle. There are times the local fire department sends multiple ambulances to the Denver-Metro area, leaving few resources in district to cover emergencies. At times, the department sends up to three transports out at one time. This action leaves fire stations with minimum staffing and fewer ambulances in district to provide 911 service over the 851-square-mile fire district.
The fire department’s actions to step in and take over the IFT business has threatened the private entity, making them cut staffing and put local providers out of work.
Allen Hughes, CEO