OCH eyes changes to ambulance service

Director of Emergency Medical Services Michael Hunt discussed the potential next steps with their ambulance services during its meeting on Tuesday. (Photo by Logan Kirkland, SDN)
Staff Writer

The OCH Regional Medical Center Board of Trustees discussed the potential next steps with their ambulance services during its meeting on Tuesday.

The trustees will put together a budget for its ambulance operations moving forward, which will be presented to the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors.

Director of Emergency Medical Services Michael Hunt said they are currently reaching out to the county, volunteer fire department, Mississippi State University and E911 to help come up with a strategic plan.

Hunt said the first meeting with these organizations will take place today.

“Right now, we are just in the planning stages,” Hunt said. “We’re looking at doing something to help the county respond.”

Hunt said they are still looking at locating three different trucks around the county. He said they will be coming up with ideas and listen to suggestions brought up during these meetings.

“I think certainly by strategically locating those trucks outside of the hospital could certainly help with response time in the county,” Hunt said.

As for the areas with the largest call volume, Hunt said those come from the East Oktibbeha County area. He said due to the area having the most calls, there could even be a potential agreement with MSU in the future.

Hunt said moving forward, he doesn’t see the demand of funds from the county to be different from what they’ve asked in the past in terms of funding.

“I don’t see us asking for any subsidy,” Hunt said. “I think the milage that we get now is would be enough to offset.”

He said they will be looking at different strategies such as billing options.

“We want to be able to provide a quality ambulance service with a reasonable rate,” Hunt said.

During the supervisors meeting on Monday, there was a concern where two ambulance services could not be supported in Oktibbeha County because there isn’t enough demand, which Hunt said is absolutely true.

“When you start fragmenting the ambulance calls, somebody is going to be affected and we’re here to stay,” Hunt said. “We will be here.”

Hunt also addressed some questions during the meeting, where he said OCH would not be able to respond to any call within the city unless it was a transfer from OCH to another facility.

Hilton said there’s been discussion on whether or not Pafford EMS is within the state network. This would affect insurance rates for those who are state employees. Hilton said as of last week, Pafford is only in network with Clarksdale, Cleveland and Tunica.