Mercy EMS wants to move to fire station

By Jason E. Silvers
Fort Scott Tribune – May 17, 2017

Bourbon County Commissioners on Tuesday learned of a proposal for a new home for the Mercy EMS department.

Fort Scott Deputy Fire Chief Dave Bruner and Mercy EMS Manager Danny Hall spoke to commissioners regarding a proposal to move the Mercy EMS department from the emergency room at the hospital to the Fort Scott Fire Department station one at 1604 S. National Ave.

“We wanted to bring a proposal in front of you regarding a change in where EMS is housed,” Hall said. “Instead of the hospital ER, we’d be moving to the fire station.”

Hall said the “driving force” behind the proposed change is a need to make changes that will hopefully aid in the recruitment process for new EMTs and paramedics. He said one paramedic position has been open for nearly two years and there have been “very few applicants” for the position.

“We want to do whatever we can do to increase the chance of someone applying for a position here,” Hall said.

Hall said he currently has two full-time paramedics and three full-time EMTs on staff who work varying shifts. He said there are several part-time staff members. Hall said ideally, he would like to have one additional full-time paramedic.

“We have a lot of full-time staff working lots of overtime, and some part-time filling in,” he said.

Through research conducted on similar services in surrounding areas, it was discovered that “paramedics don’t want to work in an ER. They want to be on a truck or ambulance.”

Several Fort Scott firefighters are EMT certified, which can help the Mercy EMS department, Hall said.

“And if the fire department hires reserves to be EMTs, they could be part-time for Mercy,” he said. “Hopefully, there’s give and take on both sides there.”

Bruner said the EMS department would be housed in station one, where the fire department runs the “second out” ambulance, which is the ambulance that responds if Mercy EMS is on another call or transfer.

“We would reconstruct an office and make a couple of bunk rooms,” Bruner said. The bunk rooms would be similar to what firefighters currently use.

Hall said currently, there are two sleep rooms for staff located near the hospital emergency room.

“When they’re here, those rooms are available,” he said. “Currently, the policy is that in the afternoons, and certain time periods if the ER is not busy, they can go have down time and be out of the ER. From 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., it’s the same thing.”

Hall said staff are on duty for 12 or 24 hours. He said he tries to run a work schedule where staff “work a 24 and off a 48 (hours).”

Commission Chairman Lynne Oharah asked about funding and a timeline for the proposal.


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