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Carter ambulance plans for KDMC showdown

COVID calls holding steady

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

KDMC wants more ambulances available for their urgent care centers. They have submitted a certificate of need (CON) request, to authorize the placement of two KDMC ambulance units at their facilities in Grayson. But doing so, Carter County Ambulance executive director Rick Loperfido said, could have a detrimental effect on the ambulance service’s billable hours – and ultimately their ability to provide services to the people of Carter County.

Loperfido seems to have conceded to KDMC’s insistence on additional coverage for their facilities. But he isn’t giving up on stopping their CON filing. Instead, he’s continuing with a potential legal battle to do what he feels is in the best interest of Carter County while also making plans to add coverage to meet KDMC’s need.

Loperfido told the emergency ambulance board last week that he was still, “dealing with KDMC and their CON filing to place ambulances in Carter County to transport their patients at KDMC Urgent Care and Primary Care Facility to KDMC.”

Loperfido said he had engaged in a conference call with the ambulance service’s attorney, Lisa Hinkle, and representatives for KDMC, “to discuss settlement options for King’s Daughters pulling their CON request.”

While he didn’t say what those “settlement options” might be, he did discuss forming a plan for additional ambulance coverage in the county, “to relieve some of the pressure on our current daily crews.”

“This will only become a reality if KDMC is unsuccessful in their attempt to place additional ambulances in the county to take runs, or they decide to pull their CON application.”

Without that, Loperfido said, the county simply wouldn’t be able to afford to add the extra coverage. He said in a previous meeting that KDMC’s plan could cost the service up to 600 runs a year, resulting in a monetary loss of, “up to $350,000 in lost revenue annually.”

The new truck would only operate. “a limited number of hours daily,” if it were deemed viable and approved, Loperfido said. 

Loperfido has noted in the past that the ambulances KDMC requested would only operate during set hours also.

Loperfido told the board that, at present, “it appears we will need to contest the CON application in Frankfort, sometime in April.”

In other action Loperfido reported that the service completed the month of February with a total of 453 runs, down 39 over the previous year, and that COVID calls over the previous month had remained steady. This represents a plateau after a previous increase in calls, with Loperfido reporting a five percent increase from December to January during the February meeting.  

Loperfido also reported on truck repairs, noting they have their C-15 back from Maxxed Out Diesel in Catlettsburg, and, “the crew have praised the trucks overall performance since returning from the shop.”

Because of the superior performance, Loperfido said, and debris found in the fuel tank of the truck during a filter change, they have scheduled time to have the diesel exhaust fluid additive component removed from another truck they purchased from the same vendor. These components are required on all new diesel trucks, Loperfido said, but emergency vehicles are exempt from the restriction. A third unit is currently with Marcus McMurry Autoworks for diagnoses and may require a catalytic converter replacement, at a cost of around $1,500.

Loperfido also expressed hope that the fiscal court would award the service some portion of American Rescue Plan funds, which he plans to use for a new oxygen refill system if awarded, as well as “possibly radios and payroll expenses (related to COVID).”

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com



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