EMS coverage at Burning Man festival up in the air

A contract with Humboldt General Hospital has been severed; festival organizers are exploring options for emergency medical services


RENO, Nev. — A contract with Humboldt General Hospital, which has provided emergency medical services to Burning Man participants that require care at an outside facility, is now up in the air.

Festival organizers are reviewing options for patient care during the weeklong desert festival that draws nearly 70,000 people. The heat and sun exposure takes a toll on many participants, and many of them are often under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

It’s scheduled from Aug. 30 – Sept. 7, 2015.

Jim Graham, special projects senior adviser for Burning Man, said a new contract could be in place as early as April, the Reno Gazette-Journal reports. 

“We are looking at possible new medical support service providers and Humboldt General Hospital is part of that review,” he said. “We look at everything every year.”

Burning Man provides an on-site medical clinic, used by more than 3,000 attendees, and since 2011 Humboldt General has transported patients to either its main facility in Winnemucca, or other facilities in Reno for additional treatment.

Under the five-year contract signed in 2011, Burning Man paid $500,000 annually for the services.

It’s unclear if one party broke the terms of the contract or if it was a mutual agreement.

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