As the Hardy County Emergency Ambulance Authority looks to the future, the rotation of vehicles and equipment and the time it takes to secure grants for them makes the process long and arduous.
It was Hardy County Commission President Harold Michael who got the ball rolling. At the October meeting of the commission, Michael suggested the HCEAA begin the process of pricing a new ambulance. “If you’re looking to purchase an ambulance in the future, remember it takes a year to go through the grant process,” he said.
“Basically, we have two choices,” HCEAA Executive Director Derek Alt told the board of directors. “We can remount the box we have in storage or we can purchase a new ambulance.”
The HCEAA Board of Directors met on Wednesday, Oct. 14.
When an ambulance was retired two years ago, the box – the part in which the patient is transported – was removed from the vehicle chassis. It is currently in storage.
“We could remount the box of a 2020 F450 chassis for $176,038,” Alt said. “Turnaround time is a year.”
Rick Podolinski of J Yurick’s Emergency Equipment & Ambulance Sales, the West Virginia Osage Ambulances dealer, said the box would be refurbished with new paint, doors, seals, flooring, electrical system and lighting.
“The other option is a new 2021 F550 with a new Osage box,” Alt said. “It would cost $213,615 and we could have delivery in 270 days.”
In previous years, a third option was a demonstrator model, but there are none available, according to Podolinski.
A USDA grant will pay a maximum of $50,000 towards the purchase of a new ambulance.
Currently, the HCEAA is using insurance, Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements to fund capital equipment purchases. The authority recently paid off an ambulance two years early, saving more than $4,000 in interest.
Osage Ambulances participates in the federal bid process, so the HCEAA does not have to send out for bids.
The board approved a motion to pursue the purchase of a new 2021 F550 ambulance.
Currently, the HCEAA provides Paramedics, EMTs and drivers with two polo shirts and a jacket, all with the HCEAA logo. Employees are required to wear EMS pants, belts and boots. Alt requested the board consider providing a clothing allowance to employees to cover some of the cost of the required clothing.
At the September meeting, Alt suggested a $200 clothing allowance for full time employees and a $150 clothing allowance for part time employees. The allowance will be added to the employees payroll beginning in January 2021.
The board approved the request.
Medical Director Dr. Carmen Rexrode was asked to investigate foggers to disinfect the inside of the ambulances after each call.
Rexrode said Pendleton County uses a backpack-type fogger.
“The sprayer costs about $200,” she said. “The disinfectant is $37 a gallon, but it is very high concentrate. They can dilute it seven or eight to one.
“The problem they’re having is that it leaves a greasy residue, so they’re cutting back on the frequency. It isn’t a substitute for wiping down the surfaces.”
Podolinski said he’s aware of a UV light system that kills the coronavirus. “You just hang it in the back after a call,” he said.
Rexrode did not make a recommendation.
• Alt reported and HCEAA Board President Paul Lewis confirmed, total calls for service were down in September.
Alt reported EMT Training in Wardensville was coming to an end. New EMTs should be available in the coming weeks.
Modems for the heart monitors have been ordered. Several people asked about their connectivity to Grant Memorial Hospital. Alt said GMH does not have the capability to receive the transmissions and heart patients only go to GMH to be stabilized before going on to Rockingham County or Winchester.
Alt requested board permission to investigate the purchase of a 4-wheel drive UTV for the entire county. He said during the past three years there have been three or four instances where it could have been used. He will pursue grant funding to pay for it. The board granted the request.
The next meeting of the Hardy County Emergency Ambulance Authority will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 11 beginning at 6:30 p.m. The meeting will be held at the 911 Center on Freedom Way in Moorefield. The public is invited to attend.