W.Va. EMS Agency Proposes Ambulance Chase Car

W.Va. EMS Agency Proposes Ambulance Chase Car

News Oct 19, 2017

Cumberland Times-News, Md.

Oct. 18—SHORT GAP, W.Va.—The Mineral County Ambulance Authority is expected to vote Nov. 14 on a proposal to supplement ambulance service in the county's northern end with a paramedic-staffed chase car.

The contractor, Valley Medical Transport of Keyser, would cover an area from Fountain to Ridgeley and include Patterson Creek, according to Colby Simpson, chair of the chase car committee.

"It's about getting help to people quicker," Simpson said during a public meeting Monday evening at Short Gap Volunteer Fire Department. "Mineral County is the only county in the state that has all volunteer EMS personnel at this point. It's a change we were going to have to tackle at some point."

Wiley Ford, Short Gap and Fort Ashby volunteer fire departments are answering calls at an 85 percent rate, Simpson said.

"What we found is, during the day, there is a significant lack of advanced life support providers in the county," Simpson said. "There is a significant drop in ability to respond to ambulance calls."

Five members of the ambulance authority will have to recuse themselves from the vote because they are employed by Valley Medical Transport. The chase car committee requested a written ruling from the West Virginia State Ethics Commission on how to proceed.

"There are still 10 members of the ambulance authority that can vote on this," Simpson said.

The chase car would be stationed at the Short Gap station and would operate weekdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The ambulance authority would pay Valley Medical Transport $7,369.33 per month ($88,432 per year) to operate five days a week, 10 hours per day. The cost covers a paramedic from Valley Medical Transport, supplies, use of Valley's cardiac monitor and any drugs used, Simpson said.

Continue Reading

"We are going to pay for this chase car without any burden to the taxpayer and still have money left over to put toward purchases of new ambulances in the future and more purchases of equipment," Simpson said. "We feel that during the daytime, with the areas included, that it (chase car) would be involved in 250 to 300 calls a year (in the northern end of the county)."

The chase car would also be available during a mass casualty event anywhere in the county. It could be provided to make up a basic life support crew if all other avenues were exhausted.

The cost for the chase car would be covered by the county's excess tax levy.

"The money is already there, this is one way that the ambulance authority can spend that money," said Simpson.

Volunteer fire departments that utilize the chase car to either make a full crew on a transporting unit or for a paramedic intercept will be charged a flat rate of $200, with no charge for canceling the unit or placing it back in service. Also, there isn't a charge for patient refusals for service or lift assists. If a patient doesn't have the ability to pay the fee, there is an option for a fee waiver, said Simpson.

A 2018 Ford Explorer Police Interceptor would be utilized as the chase car and would be purchased by the ambulance authority at the state bid price of $27,574. The chase car would be leased to Valley Medical Transport for $1.

About a year ago, a request for proposals was sent out and Valley Medical was the only company to submit a bid.

After a year, the chase car system will be evaluated and, if there is a need in another part of the county, the chase car will provide services to the area of need, said Simpson.

If the ambulance authority approves the chase car proposal, it would be placed in service in 12 to 13 weeks. If the proposal is denied, other proposals would be considered, according to Simpson.

Elaine Blaisdell
EmergyCare is taking applications to provide two women with scholarships to pay for EMT school and textbooks along with jobs upon completion of their training.
Manatee County emergency management officials are asking 100 plus businesses to register their AEDs on the PulsePoint app so users know if there are cardiac arrest victims nearby who need aid.
Baltimore City Council has fielded complaints about 9-1-1 callers being on hold during serious emergencies caused by understaffed dispatch centers and too many non-emergency calls.
The small, military-grade sensor device detects gunshot sounds and sends alerts to police to save more lives in active shooter scenarios.
According to the American Heart Association's newest guidelines, almost half of Americans have high blood pressure.
House Speaker Beth Harwell mandated her staff to attend both active shooter survival and sexual harassment response training.
A Pafford EMS medical helicopter crashed on Sunday night, killing all three crew members on board.
Effingham County Dive Rescue Team consists of difficult but rewarding work, like rescue missions and solving crimes with police.
The 6,700-square foot center features a dispatch center, a large main room for disaster response meetings, and a media room for relaying information during emergencies.
Owensboro Fire Department employees who recently received ALS training from Air Evac Lifeteam have had 83% resuscitation success rates in comparison to the national average of 11%.
While provider safety remains a high priority in EMS education, the topic of patient safety has fallen to the wayside.
Dispatch operators in Flagler, Florida often quit within their first twelve months of work due to the high stress of the job and average starting salary of $22,000.
Government representatives are considering new legislation and higher taxes to help support agencies that are losing volunteers.
Several cities and counties are planning to sue for the excessive costs of handling the opioid epidemic, especially for medical services, fire departments, and law enforcement.
Mothers can anonymously drop off their infants in the baby box at fire departments, which sets off a silent alarm alerting EMS personnel that it's in use.