By: Jennifer Britt
The Parsons Advocate
The Tucker County Commission and Ambulance Authority hosted a work session to go over the final price of new lift cots for the ambulances. And they are expensive! Two different options were discussed. One being a year-old refurbished cot and the other a brand new one. Ambulance Authority President Dennis Filler said, “The acquisition of a new cot lift system is paramount.”
Currently the cots being used by EMS are an estimated 17 years old and have only been serviced once or twice since being acquired by EMS. Also, the cots were used when purchased in 2008. It will cost $1,000 to service the three cots currently in use.
The year-old lift system would cost $60,482 and come with a two-year warranty for the stabilizing plate and a three-year warranty for the cot. EMS Director Amanda Simmons stated that during her research and talking with other entities it was advised not to use the refurbished cots. A refurbished cot without warranty would cost $54,000.
The newest Stryker cot lift system would come with extendable legs for taller patients and sides for more patient comfort. The new system with all the bells and whistles would cost $76,000. That is $58,000 for the cot with plate and $18,000 for the warranty. The warranty would cover the plate for five years and the cot for six years.
After Commissioner Fred Davis voiced that the price of the warranty was high, Simmons stated that recent warranty quotes for the monitors in the ambulances were $5,000 per device yearly and service fees were $500. In an effort to save money the EMS staff has figured out a way to service the monitors themselves, but the staff could only do so much with the cots.
The warranty covers many necessary items such if a battery or charger no longer work a new one would be shipped overnight. The warranty covers a set number of service calls per year as well.
The Tucker County, WV Ambulance Authority and EMS Facebook page stated, “TC EMS is being shown some of the latest patient cot/loader systems from Stryker. The age of our prior cots systems is reported to be 17 years. New electric lift cot systems will potentially reduce our need for additional lifting assistance and certainly our workman’s compensation claims for back injuries sustained by our EMS crews. These are extremely expensive pieces of equipment that we are trying to procure through a variety of mechanisms to upgrade our existing ambulance fleet. Keeping our short-staffed crews healthy and safe is important for us to be able to provide as much service availability as possible with the staffing we can presently sustain. Quicker and safer patient loading means that we can get the patient to the hospital as expeditiously as possible.”
Commissioner Mike Rosenau asked if the warranty could be cut in half after Simmons explained that EMS would budget in the amount needed to cover the remainder of what was not obtained from the Commission. Simmons answered yes the cost could be spilt in half making the total $67,000 that would cover $58,000 for the cot with plate and $9,000 for the warranty. Rosenau said, “We just want some numbers that we can understand and go forward with.”
Rosenau explained that if approved by the Commission the funds would come out of grant funding not the taxpayers money. Rosenau said, “It is a win-win for everyone and worth our while to go for the new cots.” Simmons was asked to bring all information to the next Commission meeting on March 8 and present it to the public and the Commission.
In other EMS news, Simmons reported that emergency preparedness CPR classes would begin soon through the Community Outreach program. The first class will be held in the mountain top area and then every three months in a different area throughout the county. Rosenau asked Simmons to prepare a quote of what the operation cost of the classes would be for a year to see if it could be added to the Commission’s yearly budget.
Also on the Tucker County, WV Ambulance Authority and EMS Facebook page it was announced that 5,500 EMS packs were allocated. The post stated, “As part of the EMS WV ‘Answer the Call’ program TC EMS received their allocation of the state wide 5,500 EMS packs. These are large, sturdy bags containing essential EMS equipment and supplies. They are being delivered to every EMS worker in the County with the tools they need to be successful in the field. These packs are for the EMS workers so they can be equipped to provide timely assistance even when the ambulance is not on scene.”