The Cambrian

Cambria ambulance crews moving to Lodge Hill temporarily

Ambulance crews displaced by a mudslide at the Cambria Community Heathcare District’s building on Main Street are moving from Park Hill to Lodge Hill temporarily.
Ambulance crews displaced by a mudslide at the Cambria Community Heathcare District’s building on Main Street are moving from Park Hill to Lodge Hill temporarily.

Cambria-based ambulance service is moving its temporary location from Park Hill to Lodge Hill this month as repairs continue at the Main Street station following a January mudslide.

Bob Sayers, administrator of the Cambria Community Healthcare District, told board members that “just about 100 percent” of urgent, immediate repairs had been completed to the district buildings at 2535 Main St., but that long-term work remains to be done.

The district has contracted with a civil engineering firm, Coast Engineering and Survey, to do a preliminary analysis of two possible designs for a retaining wall. The structure would replace a wooden debris wall that failed during a mudslide in early January.

Coast Engineering will also analyze drainage on the hillside and property, and conduct a survey to determine the precise boundaries of the district’s land.

Sayers also said bids have been sent out — and most have been received — for electrical, plumbing, roofing and pest-control work that needs to be done.

The administrator said the district has already received one check from its insurer for $11,000 to defray costs associated with the mudslide and expects to receive a second check soon.

In the meantime, ambulance crews have been housed away from the property in a residential neighborhood on Park Hill. That arrangement expires Saturday, March 25, and Sayers said the crews would be moved to a location on Lodge Hill that has better parking and will allow for better ambulance response times.

Sayers said the district has permission to stay at the Lodge Hill location as long as necessary, but added that he had discussed another long-term option — housing ambulance crews at the Cambria Fire Station — in a “very positive” dialogue with Cambria Community Services District representatives. A modular building would probably be involved if this option were to be explored, he said.

Monterey County

Sayers reported the district has reached a new agreement with Monterey County to pay for ambulance services provided there by the CCHD, which sometimes provides transports to and from that county’s southern reaches.

Under the previous agreement, CCHD was unable to collect reimbursement for 911 dispatches to Monterey County unless they went directly through that county’s dispatcher, American Medical Response.

The problem lay in the fact that some 911 calls didn’t go to Monterey County, but instead were passed through San Luis Obispo County.

Going forward, there’s no reason we should not be paid for all of the responses we make to Monterey County.

Bob Sayers, Cambria Community Healthcare District administrator

Sayers said a meeting with AMR produced “some changes in the agreement language,” whereby CCHD ambulances would be able to respond directly to calls that went through SLO County and have those calls validated by the county’s Emergency Medical Services Agency. This would allow CCHD to be reimbursed even for dispatches that Monterey County did not request.

“Going forward, there’s no reason we should not be paid for all of the responses we make to Monterey County,” Sayers said.

At present, the district is making no such responses because storm-caused closures to Highway 1 have cut Monterey County off from Cambria.

Other business

Sayers said he met with Ron Castle, CEO of Community Health Centers, reporting that Castle said he was “very interested in bringing an optometrist to the suite” vacated a year ago by Limberg Eye Surgery, as well as expanding medical and dental services.

Castle “wants to continue to be a tenant on our property,” Sayers said.

Board member Barbara Bronson Gray said the district continues to receive “high-level interest in securing property for an urgent care” center, adding that more meetings are planned on this subject in the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, the district is preparing to tackle its budget for the coming fiscal year. Sayers said he had spoken with board President Bob Putney about the possibility of putting on a public budget workshop in the spring.

In another discussion, the board deadlocked 2-2, with Vice President Mary Anne Meyer absent, on whether to change its members’ designation from “trustees” to “directors.” Bronson Gray and Shirley Bianchi voted in favor of the change, which failed when Putney and Jerry Wood voted against it.

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