You are the owner of this article.
Letter to the Editor

A hurtful veto

To the editor: The final round of vetoes by the governor also included one that gets little mention in the main news articles but has a huge impact on rural emergency medical services. He vetoed the funding for the Code Blue Project, or CB, which has been a rock-solid grant program for 19 straight years and strongly supported by both the House and Senate. Very few communities in the state haven’t benefited from CB during that time.

The CB Project began in the late 1990s as aging or nonexistent equipment and transportation needs became acute. The $500,000 allocated by the state was used as seed money for other grants, loans and local matches to purchase essential EMS equipment across the state. The eligibility determination and award process are one of the most stringent in the state in order to guarantee that grant awards are given based on need, not on want, regardless of the legislative district.

During its 19 years of existence, the state contributed $7,757,000; the U.S. Department of Agriculture, $8,830,000; the Denali Commission, $1,561,000; and the Rasmuson Foundation, $1,226,000, all of which was combined with local community matches of $4,873,000 for a total of $27,795,321 of EMS patient care, training, transportation and communication equipment. The state funds accounted for roughly 25% of the total dollars contributed to the project.

With the vetoing of the seed money, CB will come to a halt. And with the cost of an ambulance delivered to the bush being nearly $180,000 and the cardiac monitor/defibrillators costing $35,000, it’s devastating to EMS services in rural communities, many without a tax base.

Four 1990s model ambulances across the state were approved for replacement in 2020 with a plan to use state CB dollars for each of $55,000 as match money to seek other funding partners for the unmet need. Now that option no longer exists.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy said “budget changes are not meant to harm Alaska or Alaskans” in his video, but in this case, it not only harms Alaska residents but also the millions of visitors to the state who expect and depend on EMS in their communities.

Locations

Guidelines

The Daily News-Miner encourages residents to make themselves heard through the Opinion pages. Readers' letters and columns also appear online at newsminer.com. Contact the editor with questions at letters@newsminer.com or call 459-7574.

Community Perspective

Send Community Perspective submissions by mail (P.O. Box 70710, Fairbanks AK 99707) or via email (letters@newsminer.com). Submissions must be 500 to 750 words. Columns are welcome on a wide range of issues and should be well-written and well-researched with attribution of sources. Include a full name, email address, daytime telephone number and headshot photograph suitable for publication (email jpg or tiff files at 150 dpi.) You may also schedule a photo to be taken at the News-Miner office. The News-Miner reserves the right to edit submissions or to reject those of poor quality or taste without consulting the writer.

Letters to the editor

Send letters to the editor by mail (P.O. Box 70710, Fairbanks AK 99707), by fax (907-452-7917) or via email (letters@newsminer.com). Writers are limited to one letter every two weeks (14 days.) All letters must contain no more than 350 words and include a full name (no abbreviation), daytime and evening phone numbers and physical address. (If no phone, then provide a mailing address or email address.) The Daily News-Miner reserves the right to edit or reject letters without consulting the writer.

Submit your news & photos

Let us know what you're seeing and hearing around the community.