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Ambulance District complimented for Hurricane Gustav response
PULASKI COUNTY, Mo. (Nov. 18, 2008) — Turnover in paramedics and emergency medical technicians is affecting the Pulaski County Ambulance District and has recently cauused the loss of Johnny Burgess, the district’s assistant chief.

Burgess has accepted a management position at Fort Leonard Wood, Ambulance Director Gary Carmack reported at Monday night’s ambulance board meeting.

“He was worried, as most older paramedics do, about back problems and health concerns, so he thought it would be good to go now while he had a chance,” Carmack said.

Burgess will continue to do some part-time work for the ambulance district, Carmack said.

Keeping ambulance personnel has become difficult, Carmack said, but being able to pay comparable wages and provide comparable insurance benefits to similar agencies helps.

“It’s a competitive market, but we are competing,” Carmack said. “Johnny told me that his insurance out there won’t be better than he has now, and his salary will be about the same, though out here he has to do overtime to make it.”

Carmack reported that he’s also attended a regional meeting of Missouri emergency personnel who responded to Hurricane Gustav in Louisiana this year for a mutual aid request. Carmack told board members that it appears the full cost of $41,000 for the Pulaski County Ambulance District’s work in Louisiana will be reimbursed, provided that receipts are submitted and found to be in good order.

“The history here is there is full reimbursement unless they see a receipt that looks like it’s more for personal expenses,” Carmack said. “In fact, they thought so much of our response that they are looking at having a series of meetings … Missouri has a pretty good incident management system. We hope it doesn’t happen again, but if it does, Missouri may be asked to respond again.”

The incident commander system used for Missouri disaster response was particularly impressive to Louisiana officials, Carmack said.

Pulaski County Ambulance District personnel submitted bills of $3,060 for regular hours, $13,763.70 for overtime, $1,915.75 for auto rental and gas mileage, $1,915.84 for lodging, $707.63 for meals, and $19,680 in equipment for a total of $41,042.92, according to reports submitted at Monday night’s board meeting.

In other business:

• Two ambulance board members, Larry Salveter and Cindy Walters up for re-election to subdistricts III and VI. While ambulance board positions are rarely contested, anyone wanting to run against Salveter and Walters in the April 7 election, which is held on the same day as school board and city council elections, should pick up candidacy papers at the ambulance district offices between Dec. 16 and Jan. 20. The last day to register to vote in that election is March 11.

• Carmack said he’s met with Dr. Barton Warren, the ambulance district’s medical director, to review ambulance protocols, and said things are going better between ambulance district personnel and emergency room officials at St. John’s Hospital in Lebanon after a meeting between Carmack, Warren, and medical officials at St. John’s Hospital addressed problems that had happened between the two agency’s personnel when taking patients from Pulaski County to St. John’s Hospital.

• Ambulance district personnel made 446 calls in October, with the major pickup locations being 149 in Waynesville, 118 in St. Robert, 58 in Richland and Swedeborg, 24 each at Crocker and Fort Leonard Wood, and 13 at Laquey. Other pickup locations included 17 in Rolla and nine in Lebanon, which are generally patient transfers; seven in Dixon, which are usually either mutual aid calls to the Dixon Ambulance District or calls to the portion of Highway 28 south of the Gasconade River Bridge that’s still in the Pulaski County Ambulance District; four in Devil’s Elbow, two in the Evening Shade/Plato area; two in Stoutland; and one in Big Piney. The district also reported two calls to Osage Beach and one to Jefferson City, which are generally patient transfers, and 15 other calls.

• Major patient destinations for October were 96 transports to Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla, 73 transports to General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, 67 transports to St. John’s Medical Center in Lebanon, 20 transports to Lake Regional Medical Center in Osage Beach, and nine transports to St. John’s Medical Center in Springfield. Statistics show 114 calls resulted in nobody being transported; no other hospital received more than four transports.

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