"One ambulance would be shut down three 24 hour shifts" says Hart

    Pendleton County Ambulance Director talked with Falmouth Outlook the day after he and Board Member Dale Beighle about the ambulance issue.
    Q: How short is the ambulance district for funds?
    A: It is in the neighborhood of $125,000 to fund the ambulance services that we offer now. Revenue is around $525,000 from the tax base, $475,000 from billing revenue and the fiscal court budget was going to give us $168,000. There is some other little grants that we receive.
    Q: How much time are we talking about on a weekly basis that one ambulance would be shut down.
    A: We have to  shut down enough hours to cover the amount we are short. It would be one ambulance for three 24-hour shifts.
    We cannot cover the ambulance runs with one ambulance.
    Budgets are estimations. If we save somewhere, we might get to the end of the fiscal year and have some more room. But we have to address it at the beginning of the budget and not just wait to the end.    
    Q: Are there other things that you are doing to address the shortage?
    A: The audit report that was presented to the court indicated that the district is being operated efficiently. The audit reported that there is no waste.
    We looked at moving one ambulance from ALS to BLS as the report gave us an option but it would not save enough to cover the shortage.
    Q: What is the protocol in responses if only one ambulance is working and they are not available.
    A: Each ambulance service has a protocol. Northern Pendleton would be the first to receive the call and would cover it throughout the county. Harrison and Bracken County would be the next ambulance services.
    As the volume of runs increase that these out of county ambulance services are called into Pendleton County, you could easily see them decide to not respond and be away from covering their communities.
    Campbell County has indicated they will not respond and help cover in Pendleton County if the fiscal court decides to not fully funding ambulance services.
    They have indicated that they feel it is not fair that their taxpayers are paying to cover their costs and for them to be called out to a community that has decided to not do the same.
    We cannot cover the ambulance runs with one ambulance.
    Q: How will the cutting of 72 hours affect your present staff?
    A: It will cut the hours of everyone. Presently, we are about half full time employees and half part time employees. Of course, we will protect the full time employees first. Part time will most likely take the brunt of the loss of hours.
    When they lose their income to pay their bills, they most likely will find jobs elsewhere.