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Putnam EMS Looks For 10 New On-Road Positions, Crews Too Busy

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam EMS Looks For 10 New On-Road Positions, Crews Too Busy

Putnam County EMS wants to add ten new on-the-road positions to deal with an increased call volume.

EMS Chief Tommy Copeland presented his requests to the County Budget Committee Monday night. Copeland said each truck is making about 2,800 calls per year, making Putnam County’s Ambulance Service one of the busiest in the state.

“We do need to get it back down where they’ve got time to do inventory, they’ve got time to do the paperwork that’s required of them, they’ve got time to make sure all this stuff is done right, take care of the truck, etc,” Copeland said. “And right now they’re so busy they really don’t have time to do that.”

Copeland said with additional crews, they could get the number closer to 2,500 calls per year.

“The crews are too busy,” Copeland said. “Decreasing the crew burnout though, and increase in retention, that’s a big thing.”

Copeland said he also wants to add two off-road positions. A compliance major would assist with new Medicare cost reporting requirements along with state and federal compliance issues. Medicare will charge a 10 percent penalty to those agencies who do not conduct this new reporting.

Commissioner Jonathan Williams asked if the position needed to be a major. Copeland said he thought so because the person needs to have the experience to look at decisions and training.

A BLS Coordinator would help organize non-emergency runs, such as medical visits to Nashville.

“It would be a major workflow improvement,” Copeland said.

Vehicles were being replaced every three to five years before COVID. Copeland said he would like to see a return to that policy, though he admitted it is tough to get ambulances right now. The current lead time is 24 months. Copeland said the county bought an ambulance in 2021 that has still not been delivered.

“We need to get our place in line,” Copeland said. “I’m asking to restore that money. And if we don’t replace the ambulances as they get older and stuff, that just puts an additional burden on maintenance in some cases.”

Currently, seven trucks have over 150,000 miles.

Copeland said he also recommended an increase in ambulance charges for the new fiscal year. Those changes will increase revenue by $60,000. The proposed rates are on-average below the statewide average.

Overall, EMS has asked for about $1.4 million in additional funding for the new fiscal year, to just over $7 million.


The post Putnam EMS Looks For 10 New On-Road Positions, Crews Too Busy appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.