Supervisors approve creating county EMS department

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“It looks doable,” Washington County Supervisor Jack Seward Jr. told fellow supervisors during their Nov. 26 meeting. 

Seward’s summary came after the board reviewed the findings of the Washington County Ambulance Advisory Committee. 

The board agreed and unanimously approved a motion to provide a county-owned and operated ambulance service with goal of it being operational by July 1, 2020.

The contract with the privately owned – and closing – Washington County Ambulance Services ends at midnight June 30.

In a related move, the board is expected to approve a job description for a first-ever county ambulance service director with the goal of hiring one by the end of the year, allowing for the person to help in setting up the county department.

The Advisory Committee, which met at early on Nov. 26 projected a 2020-21 department budget for the board showing estimated expenses of $1,618,300 and projected revenues of $1,646,000. Start-up costs, figured in that budget, are $56,542.

Kalona City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh, a committee member, noted that the newly created department will consist of two ambulances (which the county already owns) and a five-member staff, including the director. 

The director initially will be a visual part of creating structure and protocols for that department.

The Board of Supervisors had held a work session on Nov. 25 to discuss and review plans to establish a county EMS Department that included the possibility of later adding a third ambulance, possibly leasing garage space, having or leasing  needed equipment and the formation of a governing board, similar to those for the county Public Health and Conservation departments. 

The appointed posts usually require members with some background about the department and its purposes. Such a board would be responsible for long-term management of the department and also serve as the oversight group.

Much of the session dealt with the need for a director to aid with helping establish the department and to having a governing board that would be the director’s supervisor.

Supervisor Stan Stoops noted that finding qualified people for the director post should not be difficult, noting that there are several in the county who could meet the job description.

The board agreed that the key is to “replicate” the service the county still has, and that while it may look different in the county government, will still provide “top service.”

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