Pulaski County EMS Considering Ways to Address Ambulance, Staffing Issues

Pulaski County Emergency Medical Services is reconsidering the need for three full-time ambulances. Interim EMS Director Kyle McTiegue told the county council and commissioners last week that going to three ambulances has not resulted in increased revenues or transfer business, as originally hoped. “That’s all went by the wayside,” he said. “We don’t have the transfer volume to keep this truck busy. I don’t know how much money the county wants to continue to throw into this for very little benefit.”

McTiegue added that ambulance maintenance has also been a concern over the past year. He explained that the ambulances have been in the shop for a variety of reasons, but the Ford truck is still causing the most trouble. “We’ve put injectors in that Ford – I’m not kidding you when I say this – probably 12 times. It is a known issue. Ford was sued over the ambulance issue. We just happen to have one left.”

Another challenge for Pulaski County EMS is staffing. McTiegue said the department is very competitive when it comes to wages, but not when it comes to other benefits.

To help alleviate some of those issues, McTiegue wants to look into covering the cost of medic training for interested BLS staff. “It’s about $5,000,” he explained. “It’s a matter of, we can send them to medic school for a year and then have them employed with us for three years. We have a lot of people that want to go.”

Going forward, McTiegue suggests going back down to two full-time ambulances, with a third one on-call. Meanwhile, the department would continue to provide transfers for Pulaski Memorial Hospital. He pointed out that most of the surrounding hospitals are now using outside ambulance services, something that’s also impacted Starke County EMS.

But before authorizing any changes, the Pulaski County Commissioners wanted to wait until a new EMS director is in place. They hope to hire someone in January.