I am writing to clarify items cited in the March 11 article regarding the proposed Maalaea special response vehicle paramedic unit, and I urge the public to support the bill (SB 498).
The addition of 911 EMS resources in Hawaii requires an act of the state Legislature, and historically is only successful with grass-roots support from the public.
As noted, however, it has been nine years since a paramedic unit was added to Maui's EMS system. Meanwhile, call volume and out-of-district responses are increasing. This means, for example, that when the two busy West Maui units are out, a patient in Napili could wait for an ambulance from Kihei or farther before receiving advanced life-support care.
Adding this SRV paramedic would offer emergency care to Maalaea - where no EMS resources are currently stationed - and it would provide rapid ALS response to West, South and Central Maui as needed.
As a specialized unit, it would serve an incident command role at major emergencies, and it could be utilized for expanded scope clinical care and public health outreach.
The article implied that this unit would not go into effect until 2050. We were advised by our legislators that the date change is actually a commonly utilized legislative device, and that the bill was still "alive and moving forward" for potential implementation in fall 2013.
This bill's momentum, however, depends on the active support of Maui's citizenry. Please track and support SB 498 at capitol.hawaii.gov.