RPS preparing for increased ambulance calls

Published 12:23 pm Thursday, May 14, 2020

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By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

Ambulance company Regional Paramedical Services is developing a plan for expanding Chilton County service.

Kyle McDonnell, deputy director of operations, said the company has the equipment and resources to station additional ambulances to Chilton County as well as the possibility of bringing ambulances from neighboring counties in on an as needed basis on unusually busy days.

Regional Paramedical Services provides services in multiple counties in Alabama.

RPS will have a plan in place by July 1 when CARE Ambulance leaves the county.

McDonnell said the company has received data from Chilton County e911 regarding the number of dispatches for ambulance service and ambulance transports each day to determine the number of ambulances that would be best to have in Chilton County.

Terra Scott, interim director for Chilton County e911, said there are “on average about 20-30 calls per day” needing an ambulance dispatched.

“However, not all of those will be transported,” Scott said. “Transport rate will be about 40 a week average.”

Even though not every call for an ambulance results in a transport to a hospital, McDonnell said the ambulance service usually only bills for transport. He estimated that only about 40 % of the calls the company has received actually result in a transport. Right now, RPS averages five transports per day in Chilton County.

“I need five transports a day per ambulance to pay for it,” McDonnell said.

Even when a bill is sent, payment is not always received.

“We only collect about 51 % of what we bill,” McDonnell said.

Ambulance service companies in Chilton County operate without government funding.

Chilton County e911 is in discussions with RPS about developing a memorandum of understanding for RPS to service the departments formerly served by CARE, according to Scott.

“We are working on a permanent plan but until then we do have something in place to make sure that every citizen does receive ambulance coverage,” Scott said.

The 911 Board is also looking into bidding out a contract for county-wide ambulance service.

“You need to have one provider,” McDonnell said. “This county does not have enough business to support two ambulance services … We have several contracts in other areas where we are the exclusive provider.”

While there are two independent ambulance services, which one is called has been determined by the responding fire department’s preference, according to McDonnell.

Both CARE and RPS have responded to calls from areas where they are not the preferred service on an as-needed basis. Jemison has been served primarily by its city-owned ambulance. However, McDonnell said that RPS has responded to Jemison when needed. Thorsby has been served primarily by RPS. Maplesville has been primarily served by CARE. Clanton has used both CARE and RPS on a rotating basis.

“The last month, we ran the data,” McDonnell said. “CARE had run 20 calls for us. I’ve run 200 calls for CARE. I run about 30 calls a month for the city of Jemison.”

In 2000, RPS took over what was then a hospital-run ambulance service — Vaughn Chilton. There have been two other ambulance services that have come and gone prior to CARE. McDonnell said RPS has continued to offer service to Chilton County despite changes.