Belington EMS in need of funds

Editor: Since taking the position as director of the Belington Emergency Squad in 2005, this year has been the worst year financially we have ever endured throughout my employment.

We currently have nine employees who are on layoff because of low call volumes and slow reimbursements.

We are taking every precaution to continue to provide the citizens of southern Barbour County with 24-hour ALS coverage.

I fear without your support, more cutbacks may be necessary.

Many of our plans have been put on hold for the year, such as remodeling our recent purchase of a larger building which, when completed, will house all our equipment plus provide mandatory requirements for employees as required by the West Virginia State Office of EMS. Some of those requirements are bunk rooms, handicapped accessible bathrooms and a training center, along with showers and handicapped accessible billing office.

A much-needed ambulance also was purchased in May of this year. This 2005 unit was bought used and had only 30,000 miles. The purchase price for this unit was $37,000, compared to the $130,000 for a new unit. The unit was purchased to help take the load off our first-out unit, which is a 2003 that has in excess of 250,000 miles. Total cost of the unit from purchase to completion with the necessary equipment was in excess of $50,000.

We now have a total of four ALS-equipped ambulances housed in Belington, of which it is very common to see three on the road at any given time. Some days, they never leave the building. Other days, four will not handle the call volumes.

As far as employees, we now have three full-time paramedics, five part-time paramedics, three full-time EMTs, five part-time EMTs and 12 part-time drivers who make up our excellent staff, that provide you fast quality emergency care in your time of need.

The only funding we receive outside of what we are able to collect from insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid, comes from the Barbour County Commission, which is normally used to pay toward our fuel bill for the year. The amount we receive is $10,000, which helps out. Our normal fuel expense for each year is between $30,000 and $40,000.

Soon we will be knocking on your door asking for a donation. If you can find it within your hearts to help us reach our goal of $40,000 it would be greatly appreciated.

Joey Bolyard

Belington Emergency Squad