Volunteerism is down for the ambulance service in Lincoln County, according to Missy Rowe, County Ambulance director.
“Currently we have 16 volunteers in the county,” she said at meeting of the County Commission in April.
She said eight people are currently taking an advanced course in Alamo and Panaca and will soon be certified to start IV’s and help further on the ambulance.
Rowe was asking the Commissioners for ideas on how to recruit more volunteers. She admitted it is difficult to become certified because the training program is quite lengthy and national tests have to be passed. “They are not the easiest tests either, and that probably has a lot to do with it.”
She said if a person lets their certification lapse, they have to recertify, “so I value the ones we have currently. But we only have 14 in the county and two of those are first responders and it gets a little touchy from time to time.”
Rowe said the Meadow Valley Ambulance averages about 220 trips per year, with Caliente being the busiest, followed by Panaca and Pioche.
She said collections were up from last year, being at $92,222.97, compared to $61,000. “Our revenues are about $100,000 a year or more. It’s productive, and that is a good thing for the County.”
Meadow Valley Ambulance purchased a new ambulance, which Rowe said is due for delivery in August or September.
She also said a current bill in the state legislature (AB 305) by Assemblyman James Oscarson, allows County EMTs to do a little bit more. The bill is “relating to public health, authorizing the holder of a permit to operate an ambulance service or firefighting agency to obtain an endorsement on the permit to allow certain employees and volunteers to provide community paramedicine services, requiring certain health authorities to prepare an annual report concerning the provision of community paramedic services, repealing a provision which prohibited certain fire-fighting agencies from obtaining a permit to provide intermediate or advanced medical care, providing a penalty, and providing other matters properly relating thereto.”
Rowe said the program is being tried on a trial basis in Humboldt County and “seems to be working quite well.” They also use it for a patient after discharge from the hospital, to have a paramedic or EMT visit the person at home to be sure they are doing alright, taking their medications as directed and making follow-up appointments. “I think it could be a really good Rowe also expected that in the next year, ambulance rates would need to be increased. “We haven’t had an increase in about five years. It’s time to bump it up a little bit.”