The Reporter covers Miller, Morgan and Camden County in Central Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks and is published once per week on Wednesdays.
Published March 22, 2023
Ambulance district discusses Montreal station
CAMDEN COUNTY – A discussion was held last week at the Camden County Ambulance District (CCAD) monthly meeting on what to do with the Montreal station.
Currently that station is manned only part-time and what to do about it was addressed by the ambulance board.
There are two problems with keeping the station open all the time and they are financial and personnel.
The district owns all the stations and the ambulances but contracts out to Mercy for personnel and dispatching.
A representative from Mercy explained that even though they are a large organization, they are having problem finding personnel.
Even though they can offer decent pay and maybe even a sign-on bonus, people just don’t want to do the job anymore.
Doctors and nurses that work in hospitals deal with trauma on a regular basis but it’s different than what the ambulance personnel see.
The ambulance personnel see the carnage on-scene when there is an accident and they have to deal directly with it being first responders and many don’t want to see and deal with that.
Someone can make as much or even more doing another type of job and not have to deal with an accident scene.
The Mercy spokesman said even when EMT or paramedic classes are held you’re lucky if you get three or four people.
Currently the CCAD is short on the minimum number of people needed to man all five stations on a full-time basis and that’s where the numbers game comes in to play.
Looking at dispatch times and how long it takes to get on scene and how many calls a station gets and so on the conclusion was to have the Montreal station manned only part time.
Because the Climax Springs station is so far away, closing that one is not an option. The Camdenton station can get to Montreal a lot quicker than getting to Climax Springs and the same goes for the Macks Creek station.
Camdenton and Linn Creek stations usually handle the majority of calls so closing one of them is not an option so that leaves only Montreal.
So why not work to get all of them open all the time? The other problem is financial.
With everything costing more these days it is also impacting healthcare which impacts the CCAD’s budget.
To man all five stations full-time will increase the district’s budget considerably and though the district has reserves to meet that added cost, to do this each year would necessitate going to voters and asking for a tax increase and no one wants to pay more taxes.
A solution could not be reached last week at the monthly meeting but the different options were discussed.
Until a solution is found the Montreal station will be open part-time and the Camdenton or Linn Creek stations will handle the Montreal calls
In the end, the district may have no choice but to ask voters for a tax increase.
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