Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

Home > Topics > EMS Management
All Articles

EMS News in Focus
by Arthur Hsieh

Of territory, rights, and EMS

The dispute between Bonita Springs and Lee County over who should run the EMS service spills over into court

By Arthur Hsieh

The ongoing feud between a Florida city’s EMS department and the county historically charged with providing its ambulance service continues to simmer. In December, Bonita Springs bounced the Lee County units out of its fire stations, even though the county is still required to provide EMS services. It appears that nothing has changed since then. Both sides are inching toward their day in court, with one more attempt to try to resolve the contentious issues.

To be clear, I’m not taking sides on this issue — I’m sure that much of the discourse is not being reported in the media, so there are plenty of nuances and concerns that are unique to this situation. However, the city’s rights to provide its own emergency transportation must be balanced against the need of the region to preserve its ability to respond in an effective, efficient manner.

EMS left its provincial roots a long time ago; frankly, fire suppression has also been undergoing the same evolutionary process. For many towns and small cities across the country, consolidating their public safety services has yielded greater cost savings while preserving — or improving — services. It’s simply not cost-effective for these governments to maintain that level of self-identity.

And, at the sake of stating the obvious, given the cost of providing emergency care and transport, and the lack of adequate reimbursement, it seems odd that local officials want to burden themselves with providing another city service. Besides the direct costs, integrating those services into the regional plan so uniform coverage is achieved will create additional financial pressure.

Who will win this fight will come to light, in all likelihood, in the legal system. Until then, it’ll be the citizens who continue to be on the short end of the stick.

About the author

EMS1 Editorial Advisor Art Hsieh, MA, NREMT-P currently teaches at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. Since 1982, Art has worked as a line medic and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook author, has presented at conferences nationwide, and continues to provide patient care at an EMS service in Northern California. Contact Art at
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Erika McDermott Erika McDermott Friday, January 31, 2014 5:00:09 PM This article is not correct. EMS removed their paramedics and emts and housed them in hotels due the rent Bonita was trying to charge. Bonita did not bounce them out. Please read the articles in the News-Press to get you facts straight or the minutes from the meetings. As of Monday the trucks are back at the firestations and out of the hotels.

EMS1 Offers

Sponsored by

We Recommend...

Connect with EMS1

Mobile Apps Facebook Twitter Google+

Get the #1 EMS eNewsletter

Fire Newsletter Sign up for our FREE email roundup of the top news, tips, columns, videos and more, sent 3 times weekly
Enter Email
See Sample

Online Campus Both

EMS Management Videos