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REMSA takeover of Mo. services a success

The transfer of ambulance services resulted in a smooth transition, and all response-time goals were met

By Marshall White
St. Joseph News-Press

BUCHANAN COUNTY, Mo. — During the first 12 hours of operation, the new Buchanan County EMS responded to 10 calls and transported seven patients.

R.T. Turner, presiding commissioner and chairman of the REMSA board, said there were a lot of people to thank for their work during the last 14 months.

"This is an especially great day for all of Buchanan County, because the voters spoke and we promised to keep the same quality of service," Mr. Turner said.

Staff were happy, too.

"All the response-time goals were met, including one to a rural Buchanan County address," said Steve Groshong, ambulance supervisor.

The first call came in at 12:04 a.m. Tuesday.

The response time goal for the rural location was 20 minutes and the ambulance arrived on scene in 16 minutes.

Response times in the Midtown region have a goal of nine minutes. There were five calls for medical assistance in Midtown Tuesday morning. Response times were as short as one minute and one as long as eight minutes.

Heartland Health sent an official letter to the Regional Emergency Medical Service Authority (REMSA), transferring all nine ambulances to Buchanan County EMS and turning over all accounts receivable.

"We've been meeting for three months and this is our first official meeting," Mr. Turner said.  "And so far there have been no complaints. Life is good."

REMSA plans to continue operating on the same daily schedule as Heartland. Buchanan County EMS will have three ambulances on duty between 2 a.m. and 9 a.m. each day. The other shifts will call for four ambulances on duty from 9 to 10 a.m. and five ambulances on duty from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. From 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., there will be four ambulances on call.

The REMSA board will start with a bank account containing $214,000, collected from the sales tax.

Heartland presented a $1 million contract for the value of the ambulances, other equipment and accounts receivable. The REMSA board won't be charged interest and will make monthly payments through June 2017 to pay off the debt.

The board officially voted to continue service to Elwood, Kan., until Jan. 1.

Based on a federal Interstate Commerce Zone, Heartland has provided service in Kansas for at least 29 years, Mr. Groshong said. The zone allows for ambulance service to the other side of Wathena, Kan.

This will give Elwood time to work on their budget so they can pay for the next year, Mr. Turner said.

The next board meeting will be at 9 a.m. July 22.


©2014 the St. Joseph News-Press (St. Joseph, Mo.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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