STANTON — A decrease in response times, an increase in run volume and a number of unmet calls are resulting in new hires at Montcalm County Emergency Medical Services.
EMS Director Dave Feldpausch recently updated the Montcalm County Finance & Personnel Committee about the need for additional EMS staffing.
Feldpausch said EMS has seen a decrease in response times and a “significant” increase in run volume over the past 16 months, as well as a “significant” number of calls that were not being captured in the unmet needs category (mostly hospital transfer requests).
“At this point, all three indicators suggest that our current service levels have reached their capacity,” Feldpausch said. “The only option to provide additional service is to hire additional staff. We have been working on expanding our equipment and fleet over the past few years, so we have the necessary resources — except staff — to expand and provide the needed additional service.
“I’m not satisfied,” he said. “I want better response times.”
On Monday the Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to grant Feldpausch’s request to hire two full-time paramedics and one part-time emergency medical technician (EMT). The new hires will add 17 hours to the week and 12 hours to the weekend.
Hiring two full-time paramedics would cost $44,242.67 each, while hiring a part-time EMT would cost $15,579.63. Additional fuel and maintenance would cost $19,000 for a total of $123,064.97 for the new hires.
The new hires will be funded by EMS picking up at least one new call per day. The average reimbursement per chargeable call is $450. With an increase in run volume, Feldpausch doesn’t think funding the new hires will be a problem.
“The cost of it is pretty straightforward,” said Montcalm County Controller-Administrator Chris Hyzer. “The question is, is the call volume going to support the personnel and right now the numbers indicate yes. Is it sustainable? It appears it will be, but that’s something that he (Feldpausch) will track and we’ll watch it from that end. There is a need out there to have that extra trucking. We’re hoping incoming will outdo expenditures.”