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by Patty Cheffey
With delays and production issues inevitable, the Marion County Ambulance District is looking at all options when it comes to keeping their ambulance fleet “healthy.”
Fleet management was discussed during last week’s Marion County Ambulance District board meeting, at which the board also heard an update on staff and staff location and learned about a data collection survey.
In his report, Chief John Nemes noted he continues to look at other options in regards to fleet management and replacement.
With the latest update on the remount vehicles and the continued production issues plaguing the auto industry, the district has to consider the possibility that it may not receive new vehicles in 2022 and has to plan for that accordingly, Nemes said.
“We are looking at other options to help keep the fleet healthy, but parts have been just as hard to get with delays of several months on some items,” he said
Increasing the maintenance schedule on the vehicles and having them performed more often could be a way to keep the current fleet as healthy as possible.
Even if a vehicle becomes available, Nemes said vendors are already stating they will not honor pricing on new quotes because of the rising costs of materials.
“I have not been advised of a price deviation from the original remount quote, but I expect this to happen the longer it takes to receive new vehicles,” he added, noting the price increase will determine how many vehicles can be replaced at a time.
Also in his report, Nemes said the addition of the extra personnel from the Cardinal Glenning truck has made it easier to continue to staff an additional unit at Base 1.
“With that, we can reassign staff as needed to fill gaps in scheduling,” he said, noting that was beneficial during the January Covid crisis.
It will also allow the district to utilize a tiered-response system to separate BLS (Basic Life Support) from ALS (Advanced Life Support) calls, reserving ALS personnel to handle the more serious calls.
In another staff issue, Nemes said the operations staff is making progress on moving to Base 1 and should be in place in the next three to four weeks.
Once completed, operations personnel will be located at Base 1 and billing and training personnel will be at the administrative building.
“The ultimate goal for the move is to improve communications and oversight with the supervisors and crews, as well as have additional personnel in a position to use a backup ambulance if ever needed,” he said.
While personnel may be moving to Base 1, there will not be any expansion of the facility done any time soon as the costs of materials means that is put on hold, Nemes said adding he will continue to update the board on ideas or suggestions to help the district move forward in a cost-effective way.
The initial paperwork for the Medicare Ground Ambulance Data Collections survey has been submitted, Nemes said, with the reporting period running from Jan 1, 2022 to Jan. 1, 2023.
Upon completion of the collection period, the district is required to complete the CMS 13-section survey based on collection data elements, such as organizational characteristics, response time, service coverage, expenses and revenues.
The public consulting group will also be submitting information, Nemes said
Nemes also reported the assistant chiefs are conducting captain and FTO interviews and hoped to have their recommendation ready by the first of this week.
Included in Nemes’ report were the calls for January, including: Base 1, 127 calls; Base 2, 156 calls; Base 3 (Palmyra) 78 calls. There were 23 off-duty transfers.
The next board meeting will be April 20.