Austin Chronicle: Austin/Travis County Emergency Medical Service Growing Pains

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Jordan Smith of the Austin Chronicle filed a comprehensive piece this week on the growing pains of the Austin/Travis County Emergency Medical Service. This is literally a life and death issue, so we must move aggressively to solve the problem. That’s why we need an experienced County Judge who understands the complexity of the medical, tax and management issues as well as the interests of the parties, a leader who can most effectively use the talents of county managers and mediators to achieve the most effective, efficient and fair system of emergency health care delivery for all Travis County residents. The best intentions and hard work of city and county management and labor will go for nought if leadership at the top is not setting and enforcing expectations for collaboration, asking hard but respectful questions within the collaboration, and staying fully engaged in the outcome.

I believe a publicly funded system of emergency medical response is the only sure method of achieving a fair distribution of resources county-wide. As County Judge, I will not entertain privatization within the Austin/Travis County partnership. I will insist upon and fully support efforts to collaboratively evolve a unified system to serve the emergency medical needs of every Travis County resident, wherever she lives and whatever her income. Additionally every municipal taxpayer, county taxpayer and Emergency Service District taxpayer has a financial stake in seeing that this on-going collaboration is financed efficiently and fairly

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