Letter: Bennington Rescue thankful for support and progress

I have received a number of communications regarding the article in Wednesday's Bennington Banner about the Town of Shaftsbury's action on Bennington Rescue's request for appropriation. Based on the article, some have interpreted Shaftsbury's action as negative; however, I do not agree with that characterization and want to address any misconceptions.

Bennington Rescue approached the town of Shaftsbury — and other towns — to begin discussions about changing the current model for the funding of Emergency Medical Services. Currently, Bennington Rescue bills for these services; however, in recent years Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements — which is the bulk of the billings — are not sufficient to fund the operations of a high quality Emergency Medical Service. This is a fact that has had to be addressed all over the country. Most other communities have already had to confront this issue and provide financial support for these services. Bennington Rescue is not imminently facing collapse, but its financial reserves have been reduced in recent years by the need to cover ongoing operating losses. Action over the coming year does need to be taken as the operating model used in the past cannot continue.

What was overshadowed in the article was that the Select Board of Shaftsbury took some very positive steps from Bennington Rescue's standpoint. The Select Board did agree to make working with Bennington Rescue to better understand this issue a priority, while increasing the funding to the Squad. Further, the Select Board recognized that a long-term solution to this problem would have to be crafted-the issue is simply too important to not be addressed.

Emergency Medical Services are vital to the community's well-being. It is essential that the long-term funding issues are resolved to ensure that the high quality service that everyone deserves and expects from Bennington Rescue continues without interruption. We look forward to sharing information on our services and operations with anyone interested in understanding this issue and continuing the dialog regarding an appropriate funding model for our community. The willingness of the administrators and elected officials in Bennington, Shaftsbury, and Woodford to proactively address this issue and engage in these discussions is much appreciated and should, ultimately, yield an appropriate long-term solution to the funding challenges facing Bennington Rescue.

— Forest Weyen, executive director of Bennington Rescue



If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions