Ambulance district seeks grant for clinic costs

by Patty Cheffey

The Marion County Ambulance District will be seeking some financial help to offset costs associated with assisting at vaccination clinics.

Chief John Nemes reported he is seeking a grant to help offset those costs during the recent ambulance district board meeting, at which the board also learned three more AEDs will be placed in Marion County, heard an update on the discussion with Cardinal Glennon; adjust a 2021 budget line item and learned of a discussion with Adams County.

According to Nemes, because the district has assisted already at several vaccination clinics and will continue to help at these, he is submitting a grant request for reimbursement to the Missouri Department of Public Safety for reimbursement of labor funds used to assist with these vaccination events. 

“The FY 2020 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Program (CESF) Emergency Medical Services COVID-19 Relief Funding provides assistance to Emergency Medical Service (EMS) agencies for support at coronavirus vaccination events in the State of Missouri,” Nemes said. “Allowable projects and purchases include overtime, equipment (medical personal protective equipment), supplies and travel expenses.”

In his report to the board, Nemes said crews continue to participate at area vaccination clinics including the Ralls County Health Department at Arch Methodist on Feb. 18, HRH clinic at the Admiral Coontz Armory on Feb. 22, Marion County Health Department at Hannibal Inn on Feb. 26, and again at Ralls County on March 2. 

There are several more events to come, and the district will continue to have a presence at each one,” he added.

In other business, Nemes said the district is placing three more AEDs in Marion County in the coming weeks. 

The Learning Pad Daycare in Philadelphia is receiving an AED and the Hannibal Police Department is receiving two AEDs as part of the district’s ongoing AED program. 

“Marion County Ambulance District has now placed over 40 AEDs in the community since starting the program,” he said. “Plus the district provides each end user on-site assistance to help ensure that each unit is always ready for use.”

In old business, Nemes reported on continuing discussions with SSM Cardinal Glennon.

Nemes said he met with their administrative staff on March 8 and will be meeting them again on March 22. 

At this time, he added, it appears Cardinal Glennon wishes to continue the contract with the ambulance district as it is but that he would keep the board updated.

In new business, the board approved an adjustment to the 2021 budget, noting that item is no longer needed.

Line 318 shows $50,192.59 budgeted for the final truck rebuilds loan payment, but since the board approved that payment in 2020, there is no longer a need for that line item.

However, since the 2021 budget does not include any funds for the Stryker cot purchases which were approved by the board recently, he asked and received permission to move that amount to the equipment purchase and replacement line. 

The board also learned Nemes authorized the Adams County Emergency Management Agency and Adams County Ambulance to access the district’s MoSWIN (MO Statewide Interoperability Network) talk group.

He said they identified a need for this after assisting with the large-scale traffic accident in Lewis County earlier this year.

“Considering the close working relationship between Marion and Adams counties, I felt they should be able to communicate directly as opposed to going through NECOMM,” he explained.

Nemes also informed the board of a proposal submitted by U.S. Cellular for the purchase of the cellular tower lease.

U.S. Cellular has provided an offer of $80,250 to buy out the lease, which is less than what the district would make if they don’t sell it.

“U.S. Cellular currently leases the tower space from the Marion County Ambulance District, and that lease brings in roughly $5,518 per year,” he said, noting their offer is slightly less than 15 years’ worth of lease revenue. “They want to maintain easement to the tower site in addition to the offer.”

The board voted to table the matter until a later meeting.

Under his report, Nemes also told the board the district answered 452 calls for emergency service in February. 

Base 1 (Hannibal) 2711 handled 105 calls; 2721 handled 93 calls, Base 2 (Hannibal) handled 152 calls; Base 3 (Palmyra) handled 76 calls; off-duty or call in crews handled 12 calls and the Cardinal Glennon unit had 14 transports. 

The board set the next meeting for Thursday, April 15.