|By Al Owens
Meeting in regular
session last week, the Lewis County Fiscal Court investigated the issue of ambulance
service in Lewis County.
Mike Adkins, the owner of Countywide Ambulance Service, and Lori Caldwell, the local
manager, both attended the meeting.
Lewis County resident Kermit Jordan raised a question with the ambulance service at
last month's meeting. At that time he said his grandson had been involved in an accident
on January 11 and the ambulance was 46 minutes getting to the scene.
Caldwell reported that regarding that particular incident, the company's records show
that the ambulance arrived 18 minutes after the dispatcher in Portsmouth, Ohio, received
She explained that the Adkins family had just taken over the service on January 1 and
in the transition period some confusion did exist. The Vanceburg personnel weren't sure if
they were supposed to respond to the call or if another ambulance would, she said.
Adkins said that currently no dispatch is located in Vanceburg because the
communications license had expired prior to his purchase of the service and he has to
re-apply for that license before he can put up equipment to communicate with the
Third District Magistrate Milt Stanfield asked, "Do you foresee putting a
satellite office in Tollesboro?"
Adkins replied that supporting two staff members 24 hours a day would be difficult
because the area would not have enough runs to make a profit possible. He said, however,
that he would look into that option in the next couple of months.
|Stanfield recommended that he talk to Gary
Thomas, the fire chief in Tollesboro, and that the fire department might be able to help.
pointed out that the fees for transporting patients had been reduced considerably. Prior
to his ownership, the fee was $700 per run, he said. That has been lowered to $400. An
emergency run is now $175 each way.
Judge Executive George Plummer stated that most neighboring counties had ambulance
services owned and operated by local government. Several years ago, Lewis County residents
overwhelmingly voted down a proposed tax to provide that service so the community
continues to rely on privately-owned, for-profit ambulance services.
Adkins informed the court that he wanted to upgrade a 1995 ambulance owned by the city
and put it back in operation. That would provide one more ambulance available for
operation in the county.
Jordan still wasn't satisfied with the information supplied by Adkins and expressed the
opinion that the service as it now stands cannot adequately provide coverage for the
county. He also stated that he does not support adding a tax to provide the service.
Jordan also inquired about the time the fiscal court holds its meetings. He asked why
the court did not hold its sessions in the evenings so more people could attend.
Plummer explained that the issue had been dealt with before and that the meeting time
had been changed on several occasions.
Stanfield replied that no matter when the meetings were held over the years, the
attendance has remained about the same.