Gordon Hospital’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) announced last week plans to install a new medical response station in the area to help support the county’s growing population and improve response times.
“This county is obviously continuing to grow, and we want to be able to support that growth,” said Gordon Hospital Chief Operating Officer Steve Hannah.
According to documents provided by Gordon Hospital, the population for the county in 1994 was 38,193; in 2010 it was 55,186, marking a rise of 44.5 percent. The U.S. Census Bureau projects a population rise of 20 percent by 2020 to 66,191 residents.
Hannah also said the number of EMS runs has also increased 188 percent since 1994, when EMS reported 3,100 runs compared to 2010’s 8,936 runs. He said he hopes the expansion will improve response times. EMS director Courtney Taylor said the county’s average response time is 8 minutes; this is less than the national average time of 10 minutes.
The expansion plan includes another ambulance, six to eight full-time EMS staff, an additional ambulance base, which Hannah said could be located off Highway 53, and the possible elimination of the 24-hour “on call” ambulance/crew, according to hospital documents.
Currently, the county has three 24-hours, 7 days per week, advanced life support ambulance/crews, located at the hospital, Richardson Road and in Ranger. There is also one 9-hour, 5 days per week, basic life support ambulance/crew located at the hospital, said Hannah.
The expansion plan would raise the county’s contribution annually to $411,000 from $291,000. The county would also pay a one-time fee of $50,000, the first year to cover the cost of the new ambulance. Gordon Hospital would pay the remaining $150,000 for the ambulance, according to documents provided by the hospital.
The $411,000 annual county fee would cover a $335,000 subsidy for the hospital, $65,000 for fuel expenses and $11,000 for the state license fee, according to hospital documents.
The Board of Commissioners approved a contract extension last week with Gordon Hospital as the county’s EMS provider for another five years, and Dowling said the additional costs of the expansion plan will be factored into the 2012-13 budget.