COLORADO (KRDO) -- Today, the state launched a new Emergency Services task force, bringing together experts from across Colorado to evaluate the current state of the EMS system and make recommendations for improvements.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment's Emergency Services Division, it's the first system review in over two decades. He says it's timely as the state struggles with a lack of paramedics and resources.
"We're losing EMS agencies in our rural communities at a rate that I've never seen in my four plus decades of EMS service,” said Randy Kuykendall, the Division Director.
He says the dissolution of rural agencies and manpower shortage is just one thing the 20-member task force will tackle.
Additionally, it will work to identify the individual needs of rural communities to determine where the state resources should go. Kuykendall says that by giving more authority to actors on the state-level, it will ensure Coloradans don't slip through the cracks.
"It's pooling our resources at the state level, and state level resources may be available or can be made available to local communities,” said Kuykendall.
Members of the task force include doctors, paramedics, fire chiefs, and other community health leaders who will advocate for the needs of the counties they represent.
Another key need the task force will work to address is the implementation of a state ambulance licensing system.
Colorado is the only state in the nation without a licensing system on the state-level, but according to Kuykendall, not for long.
"Taking that step forward is to establish a statewide framework, minimum standards and consumer protection across the state for EMS agencies to adhere to," said Kuykendall, "and in partnership with the counties that have been doing that on a county by county basis all these years."
Further emphasizing the importance of factoring in individual county perspectives, Kuykendall says the task force is bringing in expertise and the voices of Coloradans in rural and urban areas.
"Not one solution fits all, and we recognize that," said Kuykendall. "I think that's what's really so exciting about the creation of a task force and the ambulance service licensing effort, is these regulations and recommendations are going to be built by the people who are going to have to live by them and who going to apply them."