By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
If the reaction of the ambulance board is any indication, Rick Loperfido is doing a bang up job in his role as the executive director of the Carter County Emergency Ambulance Service. Loperfido and Valerie Nolan presented the board with their budget for the service, showing that they are hitting their goals and saving money for the service, and turning in a balanced budget.
“I do believe we are reaching a zero situation, and could begin going (positive),” board president John Brooks said in the last regular meeting of the ambulance board. “This is the first time I’ve had a true zero budget.”
Loperfido has helped curb unscheduled overtime for the department, with his report showing that in March unscheduled overtime was at 3.49%, which was decreased to 2.69% for April and down to 0.89% for May. This may be due in part to a decrease in the number of calls received during the covid-19 self isolation period, where fewer folks on the road and sticking closer to home led to a reduction in calls, Loperfido explained, noting that as self-isolation restrictions ease the call volume is beginning to return to pre-covid levels. He reported that the service ended May with 427 calls, compared to 322 in April, and 490 in May of the previous year.
Loperfido also reported that they have completed the month with no known employee exposures to covid-19 requiring isolation or quarantine. He also noted the service is “holding at good levels for our personal protective equipment (PPE)” for staff utilization on calls. This was due, in part, to a $2,500 grant from Marathon the service received for the purchase of PPE and supplies.
In addition to grants, Loperfido explained, he’s also cut costs to vehicle repair and maintenance thanks to assistance from Daniel Barker with the Carter County Garage. Barker has assisted the service with repairs to older ambulances and vehicles, including wiring and electrical work.
“Daniel’s assistance over the past couple of months has dramatically saved the service several hundred dollars in repair costs by providing the labor,” Loperfido reported, explaining that the only cost out of pocket for those repairs and maintenance was in materials. “This partnership has been a definite plus for the ambulance service in cost savings for truck repairs,” he added.
In addition to the reductions in repair costs, Nolan’s budget showed that the service has reduced equipment costs by around $60,000.Loperfido reported that the service did receive one complaint, about a wrapper from a medical device used on a call that was inadvertently left behind on a lawn, but he rectified the situation by sending the crew back out to pick up the wrapper. Otherwise, he noted, the ambulance staff has had positive feedback from the community.
“People are being nice (to us),” he said, adding that one person came into the office just to drop off a large bag of chocolate and candy bars for staff to snack on.
While his report also noted he received news from the federal government that the service would not be receiving further funding through the second round of CARES fund distribution, this was because the service had not lost enough revenue to “meet the threshold for more money at this time.”
Loperfido also reported they have had progress with having miscellaneous “junk” cleaned up on an adjacent property, which has improved the appearance around their offices.
Loperfido and Nolan also noted there had been a slight increase in overdose calls in the previous month, as a “bad batch of heroin” hit Carter County.