By Jean A. Flanagan
During the discussion about purchasing new equipment for county ambulance squads, Medical Director Carmen Rexrode, MD voiced her opinion.
“With a two-person crew, a Lucas device is not a luxury.”
“If you want to save on worker’s comp, buy the cots to do the lifting.”[private]
“The McGrath device, you won’t use all the time, but when someone can’t breathe and seconds count, it’s worth it to have it.”
“All this equipment will benefit the whole county.”
The Hardy County Emergency Ambulance Authority met on Wednesday, Dec. 13.
HCEAA Director Derek Alt presented information at the October meeting from bids received for the equipment. They include two power cots, two stair chairs, two Lucas CPR devices, a McGrath intubation device and three heart monitors. The heart monitors are required by state code.
The total cost for all the equipment is $194,000. The HCEAA will finance the equipment through the distributors and will pay $40,454 per year in monthly payments. The costs include maintenance agreements and a credit for old heart monitor trade-ins.
“This is an awful lot of money going out,” said Board member Patty Shoemaker. “We will have three ambulances sitting over there, fully equipped and no one to run. It doesn’t seem like we’re covering the whole county, like we say we are.”
“The second crew has always a question,” Vice President George Crump said.
“We can’t find people to run,” Alt said. “There are paramedics that live in the area that won’t come out.”
Fraley Ambulance Service relies on volunteers to cover a second crew, board member and County Commissioner William “JR” Keplinger said. “We don’t have that situation on the east side.”
The Wardensville Rescue Squad operates totally with volunteers, but relies on other agencies when a second call comes.
While the board voted to purchase the equipment, George Crump with the Wardensville Rescue Squad and David Pratt with Fraley Ambulance Service abstained.
In related business, the HCEAA voted to accept the package with the lowest interest rate in financing the ambulance purchased last month.
According to President Paul Lewis, the ambulance is due to be delivered in January.
The ambulance dealer has presented a financing package, but the board requested rates from local banks. Not all had responded as of the meeting.
Board member Bill Collins and HCEAA employee Deric Haines presented options for employee retirement plans.
There are basically two options. A 403C plan is basically like a 401K plan, but for nonprofits.
The state retirement plan for EMS workers is different from regular state employees in that employees are eligible for retirement in 20 years rather than the normal 45 years. “EMS workers retire earlier,” Haines said.
Employees are vested after five years and the employee, county and state contribute.
The board will discuss the issue further at the January meeting.
Additions to the Board
Crump reported he asked Commission President Harold Michael about appointing Doug Coffman to the board. Crump recommended Coffman be appointed to the HCEAA board to represent the Baker community.
“Harold said he wanted to hold off until the conflict of interest issues are resolved,” Crump said. “He also said there were others interested in serving on the board.”
“There are several board terms that are up in February,” Lewis said. “I think they want to look at all of them together.”
The HCEAA can make recommendations to the County Commission, but it is ultimately the County Commission who appoints members of the board of directors.
•Alt reported the roof on the HCEAA Baker building was repaired at a cost of $2,900. He also reported ordering chains for the 4-wheel drive ambulance to be prepared for severe weather.
•Lewis reported calls for service were down with Fraley at 84, HCEAA at 50 and Wardensville at 23 calls in November.
•Dave Pratt reported the Paramedic Class at Eastern WV Community and Technical College had 13 participants.
•Crump and Collins volunteered to review and update the HCEAA bylaws.
•Lewis reported the County Commission is discussing putting a levy question on the ballot to fund emergency ambulance service in the county.
The next meeting of the Hardy County Emergency Ambulance Authority is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. The meeting will begin at 6:30 and will be held at the HCEAA building in Baker. The public is encouraged to attend.[/private]