Scott County (IA) Urged to Transfer Ahead with Takeover of MEDIC – JEMS: EMS, Emergency Medical Providers

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Sarah Watson
Moline Dispatch and Rock Island Argus, Ailing.

Scott County is able to transfer ahead with the takeover of the nonprofit ambulance service MEDIC, in line with pitch leaders it can guarantee an ambulance arrives when Scott County residents name 911.

The primary of three votes will happen on April 13, however the five-member board on Thursday indicated its help for the county to maneuver ahead after listening to a presentation from a marketing consultant who reviewed a possible transition.

The county employed Public Consulting Group, a Massachusetts-based human assets agency that advises public sector companies in December. The group was tasked with placing collectively two experiences on the impacts and logistics of how the county would soak up MEDIC. Thursday was the primary presentation of the group.

Jason Fuller, a PCG consultant, assured supervisors the merger may have challenges, however none are a roadblock.

“From what I’ve learn and what you have introduced, there isn’t any downside; are there solely challenges? Is {that a} right assertion?” requested board chairman Ken Beck.

“That may be very right,” Fuller replied.

Begin date much like January 1st

Fuller mentioned the county might formally take over MEDIC on July 1 of this 12 months or January 1, 2024.

Beck mentioned he thought the county would do higher with a January 1 date to permit extra time to deal with the challenges encountered as MEDIC strikes into the county.

Beck added that he “totally supported” the continuation of the Part 2 research and the introduction of MEDIC as a division. He appeared on the different 4 supervisors, who nodded in obvious settlement.

Scott County employed an organization earlier this 12 months to conduct a nationwide search to discover a director for MEDIC, which County Administrator Mahesh Sharma mentioned was underway.

What would the funding be like?

Based on a report by PCG, the estimated funds for a brand new county division can be $13.5 million in 2024, lower than it could be if it continued as a nonprofit. Estimated $13.17 million in income, about $1 million {dollars} greater than if it continued as a nonprofit.

The marketing consultant additionally predicts that MEDIC as a county division would qualify for state and federal funding, together with the Iowa Offset Program and ground-based emergency medical transportation funding.

Different methods the county might fill any gaps to compensate for losses in service charges may very well be by the overall fund or a voter-approved extra tax levy. State lawmakers in 2021 handed a invoice permitting counties to declare EMS an “important service,” permitting counties to levy a voter-approved tax of $0.75 per $1,000 of rateable worth.

Problem: MEDIC understaffed

MEDIC’s staffing ranges have declined since 2017, when the nonprofit reported that 100% of full-time staffing positions had been stuffed. Now, MEDIC is at 76% power, using 58 full-time workers out of 76 licensed positions.

This implies workers need to work additional time or be picked up from different areas of MEDIC, akin to its dispatch middle, MED-COM.

The report notes, nonetheless, MEDIC is in place with paramedics, in 37 out of 38 positions, requiring extra coaching and taking longer to rent than EMTs.

Staffing was a serious concern that MEDIC Government Director Linda Frederiksen dropped at the Board of Supervisors a 12 months in the past. On the time, she mentioned, MEDIC couldn’t sustain with wages in a aggressive job market, particularly as Medicaid reimbursement for sufferers remained low.

Fuller mentioned the county might promote state-supported retirement as an attractive perk of working for the county’s ambulance service, fairly than a nonprofit MEDIC.

A priority of Davenport and Bettendorf is the power of the ambulance service to deal with future progress in name volumes with future inhabitants progress. The report really useful evaluating station places and reallocating assets to the place the best name quantity is. Bettendorf, for instance, has added a number of senior housing amenities, which are inclined to require extra emergency providers.

At present, MEDIC has eight stations in Eldridge, Blue Grass, LeClaire, Davenport and Bettendorf. One in Clinton is a part of an settlement with Mercy One to offer hospital transportation.

Providers for Northwest Scott County

The report recommends {that a} county-operated MEDIC increase its protection in northwestern Scott County to “guarantee a stage of care that’s equitable all through the county.”

Northwest Scott County is served by three volunteer departments: Bennett Ambulance Service, Durant Ambulance Service, and Wheatland Emergency Medical Providers.

All three providers reported answering 95 p.c or extra of the calls they had been positioned on, in line with the report, “however every acknowledged an growing old employees and no readily current plans for future sustainability.”

Rural Ambulance Providers have additionally famous that it’s “more and more difficult” to recruit new volunteers and maintain a dependable volunteer base, the report mentioned.

Rural ambulance providers present “important worth to the folks of northwest Scott County,” in line with the report, “however their place within the continuum of care ought to be thought of.”

At present, a rural service might name for help from a MEDIC ambulance, who then cost a charge to reimburse response prices. Some rural companies have reported experiencing a loss in calls when MEDIC assists, which, in line with the report, raises considerations {that a} supplier might attempt to deal with an emergency past its capabilities to stop ambulance service from struggling a loss.

The report recommends, with a county-based system, eliminating the fare and sending a MEDIC ambulance with each name, which the volunteer ambulance might cancel from a scene or name.

Merger of Scott Emergency Communication Heart and MED-COM?

Though municipalities and hearth departments would love the 2 delivery facilities to merge, Fuller mentioned, a whole merger may very well be extra hassle than it is price.

Scott Emergency Communication Heart dispatches legislation enforcement and firefighters. MED-COM is an arm of MEDIC that handles ambulance dispatch in addition to transfers and billing for the nonprofit. Each reside in the identical constructing however use totally different laptop aided dispatch techniques.

Scott County might be able to enhance the quantity of Iowa floor emergency medical transportation funding, a grant permitted in Iowa in 2018 that offsets prices related to offering ambulance help. However, the report mentioned, it might nonetheless be potential to unlock extra funding even with out a merger of the 2 organizations.

Some considerations a few merger relate to the present staffing scarcity, seniority rosters, job satisfaction and tradition, in line with the report. Issues about delayed dispatch expressed by exterior stakeholders “weren’t substantiated” when the pc aided dispatch information was examined.

“Whereas a merger appears potential, an instantaneous and extra applicable answer to most of the considerations can be for MED-COM to change its CAD system to the system utilized by the SECC,” the report mentioned.

However the MEDIC system additionally does billing and ought to be thought of earlier than any adjustments to the system, in line with the report.

Second research coming quickly

A second research this summer season, Fuller mentioned, will contain extra organizations and folks, together with workers, proceed conversations in regards to the SECC and MED-COM, and extra in-depth monetary and benchmarking evaluation.

This report is because of supervisors by the summer season of 2023.


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