Ambulance service seeks more money

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, August 3, 2005

King’s Daughters Ambulance Service wants $30,000 more than usualfrom the county for the 2006 fiscal year.

The request to increase the ambulance provider’s allocation bymore than 50 percent comes at a time when the service is facinguncharacteristic problems with aging vehicles, said Ken Stroud,KDMC’s emergency medical services director.

The county annually allocates $50,000 to the hospital forindigent care, said David Fields, county comptroller. Stroud isrequesting that the county increase that allocation to $80,000 forfiscal year 2006.

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“We’re really at a critical point with our ambulances,” Stroudsaid. “We have three that need replacement.”

Ambulances are usually replaced – in one of two ways – when theyhit 200,000 miles. When possible, the “box,” or body, of theambulance is transferred to a new chassis. This method ofreplacement would cost about $60,000. The second method is simplyto buy a new ambulance. New ambulances can cost more than $80,000,Stroud said.

The three ambulances currently in question have logged more than200,000 miles, he said. The oldest, at 14-years-old, has been areliable workhorse for KDMC but at more than 300,000 miles isdefinitely showing its age.

“This truck has gone way beyond its serviceable point,” Stroudsaid.

This ambulance would need to be completely replaced, he said,while the second and third trucks could be remounted.

A second truck has registered more than 250,000 miles, while thethird broke the 200,000 mile barrier only this week.

“The boxes on those trucks are in good shape. We should be ableto just move them onto a new chassis,” Stroud said.

Stroud said he hopes to spend around $120,000 on ambulancereplacement during 2006.

The city also helps support the ambulance service and a similarrequest will be made there, he said.

Last month, the county signed an agreement helping KDMC in itsattempts to secure a $9 million loan through the federalgovernment. The county is under no obligation on that loan, and itwill cost the county nothing to sponsor it, said Phillip Grady, thehospital’s chief executive officer.

The loan is secured on the hospital’s revenue and futureearnings.

The hospital will use the funding to create a new emergencydepartment, intensive care unit and 10 new patient beds as well asthe renovation of existing patient rooms. The project will also adda sprinkler system for fire suppression to the second and thirdfloors, a new pharmacy and a heliport.

The total project is estimated at $11 million. The hospital willfund the $2 million difference between the total and loan amountswith money already set aside for the expansion.

The board took no action on the budget request. It will beginevaluating requests when it moves to determine the next budget.