Tucker EMS receives recommendations

PARSONS – Officials heard the recommendations Tuesday of a consulting firm hired by the Tucker County Commission to assess the practices of the Tucker County EMS.

The Tucker County Commission voted in July to give the county’s Ambulance Authority Board $40,000 to carry the agency through the next 90 days. The funds were earmarked as $20,000 for a 40-cent hourly raise for employees for the year and $10,000 for additional ambulance coverage for 90 days. In addition, Commissioners agreed to pay for an assessment to help the Tucker County EMS.

J.R. Henry Consulting Inc. from Pittsburgh was tasked with assessing the organizational, administrative, operational and financial practices of the Tucker County EMS. The assessment was completed Jan. 8.

The report by J.R. Henry offered the following findings:

“Tucker County EMS covers 87 percent of its call volume demand with a single crew.”

“Based upon the current call volume, transport and turnaround times, the statistical call volume demand can be covered by a single ALS crew 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

“The current EMS staffing model appears to be more than adequate and clearly exceeds the current EMS call volume demands of Tucker County.”

“Additional crews are simply not justified.”

“Hiring of additional crews will dramatically increase labor and related costs. Furthermore, additional crews will exacerbate and further lower crew utilization and productivity.”

The report also outlined personnel recommendations including:

“Developing a new part time job to help manage the administrative and operational aspects of the Tucker County EMS.”

“Restructure and revise the director’s salary.”

“Consider reducing the second crew from 12-hour staffing four days a week to eight-hour shifts seven days a week.”

“Consider implementing a new structured on

call scheduling.”

“Develop enhanced recruitment and retention methodologies.”

Tucker County Commission President Mike Rosenau said he thought Tuesday’s meeting was productive.

“The Tucker County EMS has already started working on some of the recommendations contained in the report,” Rosenau said. “Working on these recommendations will put the Tucker County EMS on level footing.”

Commissioner Diane Hinkle said the consultants were very complementary of the Tucker County EMS and 911 Operations Staff.

“J.R. Henry officials said the staff members were very forthcoming and were quick to provide them with any forms they requested,” Hinkle said. “They said Tucker County EMS faces many of the same challenges as all rural emergency operations. It is difficult to meet the demands of a small county, especially when the population balloons each weekend.”

Hinkle said the meeting offered good dialogue; however, there are no simple solutions.

“The Tucker County EMS plans to make three-, six- and 12-month goals,” Hinkle said. “Once they have a plan of action, they will report back to the Commission with the action taken at those points and report on the progress.”