Do your homework

Dear Editor:

My name is Dave Shuell. I am a former vice president for Mobile Medical Response, a Saginaw based ambulance service. It is clear that the current executive management at Mobile Medical Response no longer has the best interests of the patients it serves at heart but has evolved into a bottom-line driven conglomerate. Their stated goal is to put in excess of $2,000,000.00 in the bank. They have succeeded and that’s a lot of cash for a “non-profit” ambulance service. And, it has been accomplished despite the inflated salaries of their current executives.

The real hometown heroes, United Rescue Service, have suffered as a result of MMR’s greed. MMR placed two ambulances in Harrison right down the street from United Rescue. It is impossible to believe that the demand for ambulances is so great in Northern Clare County that it needs three ambulances in the city of Harrison. And, despite the glut of resources MMR must routinely defend abysmal response time performance when criticism is brought by groups like the Independent Citizens for Ambulance and Rescue Efficiency (I.C.A.R.E.) and from the general public.

There are only two reasons that MMR put ambulances in Harrison. One, to run United Rescue out of business in order to secure 100% of the lucrative patient transfer traffic out of MidMichigan Medical Center – Clare. And secondly, they will use Northern Clare County as a springboard to launch operations into Roscommon County. Roscommon County with its abundant ambulance millage money is an incredible target-rich environment.

MMR’s operations manager, Jason MacDonald, does not think that a subsidy is needed in Clare County – for now. You should know that since its inception in 1994 MMR has taken well over $9,000,000.00 in subsidies from the various areas in which it operates:
Arenac – $5.4 Million,
Tuscola – $2.5 Million + free use of buildings,
Owosso Township and the City of Durand – $1.2 Million.
And now, Roscommon County is in MMR’s sights and Northern Clare County is merely a steppingstone.

The citizens of Clare County should speak with their counterparts in Saginaw and Genesee Counties. The Saginaw County Fire Chiefs and the Township of Birch Run have been actively encouraging a nationally accredited competitor to begin operations in Saginaw County as soon as possible because of ongoing and unaddressed service issues. The Medical Control Authority in Saginaw has blocked the competitor. That Medical Control Authority is operated by both Saginaw hospitals: Covenant Medical Center and St. Mary’s of Michigan Hospital – the very same people that own MMR.

Don’t think for one moment that MMR has the best interests of Clare County in mind – they do not. Their mission is money. Dollars drive the machine and they need grease for that machine. It makes me very sad to see a once great company that I helped build turn away from the original mindset of “Patients First” to one of worship of the almighty dollar.

Do your homework. Investigate. Contact the 911 director in Genesee County. Talk with the emergency responders or have your local fire chiefs make inquiries to the fire chiefs in Genesee County. Ask them why MMR has 13 ambulance bases in an already saturated market. Ask them what their satisfaction level is regarding the service that MMR provides. Ask questions of people that know what MMR’s service has been right here in Clare County in recent years. Talk to your neighbors and to the folks of I.C.A.R.E. for insight.

Be very careful of the decisions you make regarding ambulance service in Clare County. The direction you take will affect your pocketbook. More importantly, it just may affect your health and safety, maybe even your life.

Dave Shuell