Ambulance board OKs buying demo unit

With ambulances reaching five years old, the need for new units is becoming clear, and to help with that the Marion County Ambulance District board approved the purchase of a demo unit during their meeting last week.

The board also reviewed the annual audit, approved a resolution and approved the purchase of replacement infusion pumps as the ones currently being used have been recalled.

According to Chief John Nemes, with the vehicles five years old and no longer under warranty, any maintenance is the district’s responsibility.

He advised the board the total expenditures for vehicle repairs were already $12,892 over what was budgeted for the entire 2020 year.

“The units continue to have maintenance issues, resulting in days where no reserve trucks are available in the event of a breakdown or during truck decontamination after a positive COVID exposure,” Nemes said. 

The trucks are due for replacement in early 2021 and the truck committee has already been doing the research in preparation, he added.

One of the units the committee looked at, a 2020 Braun Express Plus, was available for sale and there has been a lot of discussion about leaning towards this design for the new truck purchase in 2021, Nemes said.

“The current pediatric and neonatal ambulance designated for SSM Cardinal Glennon is the same brand and box design and the district will be receiving this truck back in January of 2021 due to SSM Cardinal Glennon purchasing their own trucks,” he said. 

Despite this, Nemes told the board that the need for an additional is still a priority at the present time. 

The general thought of the committee and administration is a slightly smaller and more economical unit would be easier to navigate through narrow streets and tight areas, he said.

Asked by the board how the demo unit could be used within the fleet if it was purchased now, Nemes said the plan for the truck purchases in 2021 already included receiving the SSM Cardinal Glennon unit back and any customization recommended by the Truck Committee could be done equally on it, as well as the demo unit. 

“If the district purchases the same units in January, along with modifying the SSM Cardinal Glennon truck, the units can all be set up the exact same, which is extremely beneficial to the employees,” he added. 

After additional discussion, the board unanimously agreed that adding another unit now would benefit the district and they directed Nemes to purchase the Braun demo unit for $190,018, which includes modifications for installing the Stryker Power load system. 

In other business, the board was presented with a copy of the annual audit of the district. Other than the fixed asset policy, no other recommendations were made and the district posted a net gain of $149,651 in 2019. 

Upon the recommendation of District Attorney Frank Foster, the board approved adopting a resolution in regard to the fixed asset expensing all items $1,500 and below which is still more conservative than the state guideline of $1,000 

In other new business, Chief Nemes presented the board with two quotes for equipment. 

He reported the district’s B.Braun infusion pumps had been recalled and could no longer be used. 

“After doing some research into substitute pumps, Division Chief Eric Murfin found some recertified Baxter Sigma Spectrum pumps,” Nemes said, noting these are the same pumps used by Hannibal Regional. “Going to this brand and style would greatly simplify transfers of equipment between agencies. 

“By using the same pumps, district employees would be able to switch the patient over without changing IV tubing and adjusting settings,” he added. 

Nemes noted that B.Braun will be issuing a credit for the recalled pumps based upon the year of manufacture, but they did not have suitable replacement pump at the time. 

Upon Nemes recommendation, the board unanimously authorized the purchase. 

The board also reviewed the financial reports for June and everything was in good 

The next meeting is set for Monday, Aug. 24.