Cole County EMS searching for additional crews, ambulances

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) is seeking additional crews to cover inter-facility transfers. 

Cole County EMS Chief Jerry Johnston proposed the idea at Tuesday's County Commission meeting. Johnston said paramedic crews are currently responding to many of the calls, and it would be more effective to have Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) crews do the transfers.

Johnston said the transfers still require medical care, but do not require paramedic care. Additional staff would make paramedics more available to respond to 911 calls.

“If we have an ambulance or two that are out on the road and that may be gone for several hours, then we’re not able to take additional transfers that come," he said.

Johnston said there is a need for more crews after 10 p.m. He said there are typically seven crews available during the day, but only four after 10 p.m.

Cole County EMS currently employs 50 full-time and 35 part-time employees

Cole County Commissioner Sam Bushman said he thinks the additional crew would pay for itself. 

“On some of this you say, 'well we need to wait and put it on the 2018 budget,' but right now, there’s times we are short-handed and what Jerry’s showing us is it can almost be a break-even proposition," Bushman said.

He said the readjusted fees and additional transfers would bring in more revenue to cover the cost of additional staff members.

Johnston also proposed a new transfer van. 

“This is a multi-layer project. Not only does it involve additional staffing, but it involves ambulance purchases," Johnston said.

The project involves purchasing equipment for the ambulances.

Bushman said the commission would meet again in two weeks to discuss new vehicle purchases.

“At the end of the day, we believe that this is the best route to go, but we’re still going to study this," he said.