Commissioners concerned about Greenville athletic event standby

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 6:10 pm on Thursday, September 15, 2011

STANTON — Montcalm County officials are concerned about the public perception of which ambulance or rescue service is on standby at Greenville Public Schools athletic events.
However, County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director David Feldpausch and Greenville Superintendent Pete Haines think a new arrangement is working well so far.
Feldpausch told the Board of Commissioners’ Health & Human Services Committee on Monday that EMS currently provides ambulance or rescue standby at Carson City-Crystal, Central Montcalm, Lakeview, Greenville, Montabella and Vestaburg school athletic events. Tri County Area Schools has not requested EMS services.
However, Greenville uses EMS only at junior varsity games and uses Rockford Ambulance at varsity games.
District 2 Commissioner Tom Lindeman said he was concerned about the public’s perception of Montcalm County EMS when they saw Rockford Ambulance vehicles at Greenville games. Board of Commissioners Chairman Patrick Q. Carr said someone should talk directly to a Greenville school board member to resolve this issue.
Haines told The Daily News there was a history of concerns with Montcalm County EMS’s capacity to provide services at a level and quality Greenville had contracted. Specifically, he wants a unit on site for the duration of the game rather than stationing an on-call unit at Greenville’s game that may have to leave for other emergencies.
But Haines believes those concerns have since been resolved.
EMS provides the service at a cost of $75 for the first hour and $50 each additional hour for an ambulance and $50 for the first hour and $25 each additional hour for a rescue unit. Feldpausch said the county either breaks even or loses a little money with the fuel costs to provide the service and employees’ wages to staff the units.
“It’s definitely not a money maker for us. It’s more of a community service issue,” Feldpausch said.
Feldpausch said he emailed all athletic directors in Montcalm County this summer, including Greenville Athletic Director Brian Zdanowski on July 21. He said he had not heard from Greenville school officials since meeting with them on March 23, when he was left with the impression that Greenville would let EMS bid for all games.
He said Zdanowski told him to expect a response around Aug. 1, but Feldpausch didn’t hear anything until he received a fax on Aug. 23 requesting partial services beginning Aug. 25.
“We did what they asked,” Feldpausch said. “Hopefully we give them the kind of service they’re looking for and next year we’ll get all the games.”
Haines said sports scheduling changes this year — including cuts to freshman sports — didn’t allow school officials to finalize dates and locations until mid-August.
“I’m a bit surprised to hear the suggestion that we have not responded,” Haines said. “I sat in multiple meetings myself, at least one with Mr. Feldpausch in attendance, months ago, which are what led to this significant shift in contractor selection. That seems like about as much response as we can give until we establish a new track record.”
Zdanowski did not return a message seeking comment.
Feldpausch said he is happy EMS is being given the opportunity to provide athletic event services again.
“It is important to me that we provide these services in our community,” he said. “We had some issues with the services we provided in the past in relation to the expectations. I think we resolved those issues back in March and are now beyond them and I am looking forward to working with them for years to come.”
Feldpausch helped staff an ambulance personally during Greenville’s first game, “partially because of the short notice but primarily because I wanted to make sure we met their expectations.”

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