The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

Jern proposes paying EMTs for calls

By Sally Day for the Quill

In an attempt to entice more EMTs to Henderson County Ambulance services, Troy Jern was present at the March 12, 2013, Henderson County Board meeting, to propose paying EMTs a stipend. Jern is the Director of the Oquawka Ambulance Service, a title he has held for ten years, as well as being an EMT for 17 years.

Jern told board members he would like to see all the County Ambulance services offer to pay EMTs for each call. He explained it was getting harder and harder to get a crew together to respond to ambulance calls. Three people are required to make an ambulance run - a driver, a first responder, and an EMT. The first responder is someone who can offer another pair of eyes, according to Jern.

Some of the board members have attended meetings with Des Moines County Ambulance Services, in Burlington, Iowa, to discuss this situation. They have been very helpful in assisting Henderson County ambulance services. Board member Curt Eisenmayer added, "We are very lucky to have them so close at hand."

Board Chairman Marty Lafary said, "I wish we could compensate all those who volunteer." He also noted that he appreciates the hours and abilities which volunteers give to each community.

Jern went on to say that the county handled approximately 600 calls last year and that they had handled 92 calls so far this year.

"Volunteers are hard to come by," said Eisenmayer, "We need to look at this very carefully."

Board member Tex Stewart, also an EMT, said his ambulance service at Gladstone does not want to be compensated for their ambulance calls. He added, "We could flip the money back to the service." David Hinshaw, newly appointed board member said, "We are opening a can of worms."

Henderson County Chief Deputy Donnie Seitz mentioned that he would like the board members to sit in the Sheriff's Office when ambulance calls come into the station. He continued, stating how difficult it was to get a crew together. Sheriff Steve Haynes said, "In the best interest of the county, we should all work together."

The board tabled this matter.

In other action, board members voted to accept the Sheriff's Department Union Contract, which included a two percent pay raise, as well as a longevity clause. Board members voted as follows: Albert Renken, absent; David Hinshaw, yes; Terry Myers, yes; Jim Alexander, yes; Mark Lumbeck, yes; Stanley Torrance, yes; Gail Russell, no; Tex Stewart, yes; Bob Peterson, yes; and Curt Eisenmayer, yes.

In other business, the board: