By SUE? SITTER
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Pictures of Sue Sitter / PCT
Heart of America's ambulance service will move from its current location in the Bob Hartl building, located near the hospital's daycare, to the former Premier Lube building.
Progress continues as the Heart of America Medical Center works to reorganize its ambulance service for the community, according to the administrators responsible for care and fundraising efforts.
Cathy Jelsing, fundraising coordinator for the Good Samaritan Health Services Foundation, told The Tribune that the foundation recently received $ 500 from the Pierce County Endowment Fund, a charity that raises funds for projects. health.
The money will be used to fund a new four – wheel drive ambulance for the emergency medical service of the hospital.
"We are preparing to launch our Twice Blessed Campaign with the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation," said Jelsing.
The campaign will double donations of up to $ 15,000 for the purchase of the ambulance.
Jelsing said the foundation is also requesting a grant from the USDA to fund the new vehicle.
"We are moving away a bit hoping that everything will be fine," Jelsing said of the ambulance project.
Susan Price, head nurse at the HAMC, is leading the ambulance service.
"We do not plan to buy (a new vehicle) immediately," Price said.
"We are planning to raise funds, get subsidies and see where we are, but we will soon need another ambulance," added Price.
"It only makes sense to get the safest standard ambulance because I want to protect my staff and my community, and we live in North Dakota, so for me, do not having four-wheel drive ambulance is a bit strange, "noted Price.
Price tells of difficult experiences in the ambulance of the HAMC last winter.
"I made a few calls last year where we could not even pass (because of the road conditions in the winter) .We probably could have passed if we had a bigger vehicle but we were worried about to get stuck, we had to turn around and go in a totally different way to get to a country house. "
HAMC has made its own contribution to the ambulance service by purchasing the former Lube Building earlier this year.
"I did not make the decision to buy the Prime Building, it's the decision of our former CFO, Lee Holter, and our CEO, Pat Branco." said Price.
Price explains the reasons for its purchase: "Our maintenance service is lacking space, secondly, we are doing all our training on the third floor of the building (ambulance), which simply does not allow us to carry out the necessary activities." for training, etc.). And it's not big enough. "
To support a larger platform, the current facility would need major and expensive renovations, noted Price.
Price added: "We have brought back the nursing program so that we use this training room for the nursing program now."
"We will use (the new location) for training, there will be dormitories there, and it will be easier to get to the highway and the fire department. only to go there (to emergencies) The ambulance has no way to get here, "continued Price.
Price and HAMC directors, Dustin Hager, also addressed public perceptions of the vital support capabilities of the ambulance service.
The service recently adopted a Basic Life Support (BLS) designation, which some members of the public considered to be a degradation of the Advanced Life Support (ALS) designation that the service had previously had.
Price stated that she had learned last year that the service had not operated in a manner consistent with the ALS designation.
"The difference (between ALS and BLS) lies in the maintenance of life, it takes a paramedic and an emergency medical technician on every trip," said Price.
"No matter what call to 911, it's a licensing issue.You must have a paramedic and a TU.For transportation, if you have vital support from the hospital in Minot, you can have two UTs, but you can not have a TU and a driver who is not certified.Because you have an advanced technical assistance license, so there must be two people fired on board ", said Price.
"You can never, ever, use a driver as a second person with advanced life support," added Price. "With basic life support, you can."
Price said on some transports: "What the paramedics would do was launch all 911 calls, but all the transport to Minot would send an EMT and a driver, so it was illegal."
"So," she added, "we could have completely lost our Medicare status to the entire organization when they came to audit us." We operated out of the scope of a) our license for the state and b) we were charging insurance companies for those trips that we were not even allowed to do. "
"Due to the flexibility offered by BLS, it is not necessary to call an ambulance attendant on every ambulance call, and this is not advisable as 80% of our calls are BLS calls, "continued Price. "So we have an ALS level ambulance for 20% of our calls, it really does not make any sense."
Price and Hager reported submitting compliance information and varying levels of service to the voting members of the HAMC Board in January. The board voted 6-2 in February to assign the BLS designation to the ambulance service.
Hager said, "One of the things I said (on the board) was that as a service licensed by BLS, you can operate normally. But you can not operate down. So, if you are a BLS service, this is the minimum standard you can At ALS level, this is the minimum standard you can provide. It is not possible to provide a BLS service when you are licensed at the ALS level for an emergency response. "
Price stated: "Nothing in the law or rule prohibits an ambulance from the BLS providing SLA-level care as long as the ambulance is staffed by an ambulance attendant or an ambulance. An equivalent and that the medical director of the ambulance service allows it. "
Price stated that she and the emergency room staff nurses at the HAMC were qualified to play the role of paramedics during ambulance calls. Some experienced medical staff have advanced training and qualifications to perform more medical procedures than basic core technicians.
"Most ambulance services in North Dakota are BLS licensed but often provide ALS when paramedics are available. This flexibility is not available to ambulance services licensed by ALC. It is not allowed to equip an ALS ambulance with a BLS crew. ALS flexibility was the reason why HAMC chose to apply for a BLS license. "
According to Price, some communities in North Dakota Rugby operate ALS ambulance services. However, most are located in the Bakken and answer 1,500 calls a year.
"We have between 400 and 500 calls a year," said Price.
Price and Hager both described Bottineau's ambulance service as similar to the one currently operated by Rugby: a BLS service with ALS capabilities.
However, like many rural communities, Rugby faces the growing shortage of staff. Other nearby communities such as Towner and Rolette have to rely on Rugby 's ambulance service to help them in case of emergency.
Price said: "Chris Price is the director of the state 's emergency medical services and virtually every day he receives information from someone about a medical service. 39 ambulance likely to close its doors. "
Lawmakers in North Dakota have modified their formula to fund local ambulance services to impose a greater burden on local communities, who must fund taxes. Many community ambulance services receive 15 plants, but Price states that Rugby services receive eight. The money raised through local property taxes "does not even cover staff salaries for the year," said Price.
In addition, only eight governments consider emergency services as essential for their communities, according to a recent NBC News article. North Dakota was not one of those states.
"It's a national crisis," said Hager. "It's not just our area or our state."
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