Work session leads to resolution

The Barbour County Communications Center will no longer be the “middle man” in the dispatching of ambulance transports from Broaddus Hospital after officials met in a work session last week to address confusion and conflict regarding the transports.

Hospital and emergency squad officials clashed at a recent Barbour County Commission meeting about which of two emergency squads in the county should respond to calls for transports, and what agency should dispatch the ambulances they are needed. Previously, Broaddus Hospital called the Communications Center ,which would then attempt to dispatch an ambulance.

Commission president Jedd Schola said Friday that it will now be the responsibility of Broaddus Hospital to call Barbour County Emergency Medical Squad directly when in need of a transport. The hospital will no longer call the Office of Emergency management or dial 911.

“It should speed up response time,” Schola said, adding that the emergency squad could indicate if it had an available crew.

Schola also said that Belington Emergency Medical Squad will no longer be handling the transports from Broaddus Hospital.

“That was more of a business standpoint decision,” Schola said, adding that Belington EMS currently has contracts with Davis Memorial Hospital in Elkins and St. Joesph’s Hospital in Buckhannon. “If they’re on a transport from Broaddus or St. Joe’s, or if Davis Memorial calls, they can’t take that (transport). There may be a breach of contact, so to speak.”

Belington EMS director Joe Bolyard told officials at a previous meeting that he admits to advising his employees to refuse service to Broaddus Hospital. He said that he wanted Belington EMS to be treated fairly and have its fair share of the calls, which he didn’t believe was happening at the time. Dr. Randall Turner also had expressed concern that an ambulance might not respond in a timely manner to an emergency transport, “because somebody’s mad because they didn’t get a first call.”

Representatives from the Office of Emergency Management, the Barbour County EMS, the Belington EMS and the Barbour County Commission were present for Wednesday’s meeting, Schola said, adding that Broaddus Hospital received a letter about the decisions that were made by the emergency squads at the meeting.

Schola said that Barbour County Commission was just a “middle man” in the whole process.

“We didn’t have any decisions. We’re trying to take the middle man out,” he said. “It didn’t involve us because we don’t pay the bills for Belington (EMS) or Barbour County (EMS). We were just answering the calls from the (communication) center when they came in.”