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  Full-Time EMS Services Topic  
  Exploratory Committee Cites Need:   November 14, 2019 Edition  
     BY JOHN A. DARNELL JR.
      associate editor
      Boardman Township Trustees called a special meeting for Tues., Nov. 12 to review an evaluation report on the possibility of providing full-time emergency medical services (EMS) in the community, including projected funding needed for such a service.
      The consideration of establishing a full-time EMS service was made after concerns were expressed regarding the ability of a private ambulance company to deliver timely response to 9-1-1 calls to residents in the township.
      At certain times over the past year, Lanes Ambulance, that answers 9-1-1 calls for the township, has taken up to six minutes, or more, to answer a call. A memorandum of understanding between the ambulance company and the township calls for quicker response times.
      A summary of a report presented to township trustees notes “Current 9-1-1 response [by the Boardman Fire Department]...averages 4.5 minutes. The crew is equipped to provide basic life support and must transfer care to a transporting ambulance service.”
      The summary also suggests “There is an upward trend of EMS calls over recent years, that will exacerbate delays in 9-1-1 responses to our community.”
      Late last year, township trustees formed a ten-member committee to study the possibility of the Boardman Fire Department answering all 9-1-1 calls, including for residents and visitors to the township.
      As the summary report of the committee indicates, there are several issues to be considered, primarily costs associated with establishing a full-time EMS service.
      Upwards of $1.6 million to $1.8 million would be needed to start such a service, while revenue generated is estimated to be between $975,000 to $1.09 million, leaving a shortfall of some $700,000.
      As well, there are concerns an additional tax levy would be needed to start an EMS service; and another concern is billing for such a service. In other words, would Boardman taxpayers be willing to approve a tax hike, and also get billed if they receive an EMS service they already paid to create?
      According to a summary of the EMS report, there is a “need for having start-up revenues...and understanding what billing model will be pursued.
      “Those two factors will ultimately impact how this program moves forward for sustainability of the service.”
      The Committee’s Recommendation
      The ten-member EMS committee found “the issues facing Boardman are not unique, but are, in fact, part of a trend seen nationwide.
      “The issue of increased response times is being experienced in many municipalities. It is also reasonable to assume that the problem will get worse over time, given the increasing demand for EMS.”
      The committee suggested investigating partnerships that could be formed to provide EMS services, but also noted “There is no one recommendation that will eliminate all the issues faced in EMS...We believe this is not the end, but rather the beginning of an important community conversation.”
      The committee supported establishing EMS services to operate out of each of the three Boardman fire stations, while “acknowledging this model will require funding above and beyond the expected revenues generated by billings.”
      Currently
      According to the summary report, there are, on average, 12 calls for medical emergencies every day in Boardman Township, including 122 times a month where there or two or more medical emergencies happening simultaneously.
      Currently each of the Boardman fire stations are staffed with firefighters who are trained at various skill levels. All totaled the Boardman Fire department is staffed with 11 paramedics, two advanced EMTs, 15 basic EMTs and ten emergency medical responders.
      “The fire department arrives on the scene prior to the ambulance company nearly 50 per cent of the time.
      “During these critical minutes, BFD personnel begin to provide patient care with equipment [such as] an AED, medical and trauma supplies, oxygen, drug kits, IV supplies and intubation equipment.
      “The current compliment of EMS allows crews to initially stabilize a patient,” says the summary report.
      Members of the EMS Committee
      Members of Boardman Township’s Exploratory EMS Committee included Atty. Thomas Sanborn, Daniel Segool, assistant vice-president/Chemical Bank; Teresa Volsko, director of Respiratory Care, Transport and the Communications Center at Akron Children’s Hospital (ACH); Jeff Michaelenok, former partner, Cailor-Fleming Insurance; Maryann Forrester, BNS/RN, the EMS program coordinator at ACH; Amanda Lencyk, MSN/RN, trauma injury prevention and outreach coordinator at St. Elizabeth Hospital/Youngstown; Joseph Mistovich, chairperson and professor, Department of Health Professions, Youngstown State University; as well as Boardman Fire Chief Mark Pitzer, Boardman Police Chief Todd Werth and Boardman Township Administrator Jason Loree.
     
 
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