EMS to get new oxygen system

By Julie Clements
Butler County Times Gazette – June 25, 2015

The Butler County EMS Department is continuing to look for ways to cut costs. One of those options was presented to the Butler County Commisison during their meeting Tuesday morning.
“We’ve been researching for close to the last year, looking through expenses, trying to figure out where we’re spending our money,” said Chad Pore, EMS director. “Last year, one of the things that jumped out at me was our oxygen expense. I started looking at that and what I noticed was we had two expenses on that – one was for the actual oxygen and two was for all the bottles.”
They are spending about $15,000 on oxygen and a little over half of that is for the rental of bottles.
“We’ve been trying to figure out ways to cut our expense with long-term oxygen,” Pore said.
They were looking for a way to fill their own botbottles, but most systems were either for a home or larger, for a hospital. They found one company in the United States that offered machines to generate medical grade oxygen that was the size they wanted – OGSI.
“We started exploring with OGSI a little bit deeper, trying to figure out the system and how everything works and costs,” Pore said.
They studied it for about eight months.
In addition to cutting cost, they also wanted to reduce the safety risk of transferring the larger cylinders out of the ambulances now when they have to be refilled.
“We can purchase a system that goes on the wall in the station and plugs into a regular outlet and generates it’s own medical grade oxygen,” Pore continued. “It has four large tanks hooked up to it it keeps filled and we will fill our own bottles there. We can use a cord to fill the big canisters inside the ambulance without having to take them out.”
He said they won’t need as many bottles because they won’t have to rotate them as they are filled. Now they also waste oxygen because when the bottles get to about 500 psi, they pull them out so they don’t run out on a call.
“With this system we would be able to fill our own bottles and we would be able to make sure we are using oxygen up and not wasting it,” Pore said.
The system costs just over $24,000, so it would pay itself off in roughly a year and three-quarters.
“They have agreed to throw in $3,000 worth of D cylinders, which are the smaller ones,” Pore said. “Over the course of time, it will save us significantly.”
They are looking at savings $45,000 or more over five years.
For maintenance, there will be filters that need replaced, but it is something they can do themselves. The machine also has an oxygen analyzer in it and that will be calibrated every year as well.
“The company will come out and change the seal if they need to or locally, they can run the certification process,” Pore continued.
For the larger bottles, the cost will be $500 to $700 and that will be taken out of a different part of their budget.
Pore said it would be right at $25,000 to replace the system and get all the bottles. That will come out of the equipment line item, which will overspend it, but they will be about $25,000 to $30,000 under budget in fuel.
The purchase was approved 5-0.

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