Ambulance Service

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 9, 2011

County plans to tap fund to equip ambulance service

By Billy Davis

MedStat, Panola County’s ambulance service, will equip its paramedics with equipment to diagnose heart attack victims, the company’s owner said Monday.

MedStat EMS, Inc. CEO Barry Eskridge won approval from the Board of Supervisors to tap a little-used fund for emergency medical services to purchase five cardiac monitors for ambulances.

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The county board must request bids for the monitors, which Eskridge said cost approximately $30,000 each or $150,000 for the entire purchase.  

Approximately half the payment will come from monies accumulating in the county’s Emergency Medical Services Operation Fund, which Eskridge said is funded through a $5 surcharge on traffic tickets.
The EMSOF fund, which comes through the Miss. Department of Health, has approximately $68,000, Kelley Magee, Panola County’s administrator, said at the meeting.

The fund will be depleted to make a down payment on the monitors with a lease-purchase agreement paying for the balance, she said.

“The cardiac monitors will be the property of Panola County,” Magee told The Panolian after the meeting.
Eskridge said a group of doctors known as the Mississippi Healthcare Alliance is heading a statewide program to get cardiac monitors in the hands of paramedics. Accurately diagnosing the first signs of a heart attack helps victims survive and recover quickly, he said.  

MedStat won a three-year contract in 2008 to provide round-the-clock ambulance service in Panola County. It receives a monthly subsidy of $17,000 from county taxpayers.

Supervisors renewed a new contract with MedStat in February.

In other county news:

•   Residences in Panola County who have flood insurance will begin realizing a 10 percent savings, flood plain manager Michael Purdy told supervisors.
Panola is entering the Community Rating System (CRS) with a Class 8 rating, which is an automatic 10 percent discount for the National Flood Insurance Policy.
Mississippi Emergency Management (MEMA) told supervisors in 2009 to hire a flood plain manager to oversee the county’s flood plan maps and fix several deficiencies found in an audit.
Purdy, who was hired in 2009, has worked with a MEMA point system to move Panola County from Class 10 to Class 8.

•   Supervisors voted unanimously to reject bids for fire trucks for the Red Hill Volunteer Fire Department. The bids were opened last month.

Daniel Cole, Panola County EMA director, said there were “substantial” differences in the bid specs and prices, and suggested the bid rejection.  

•   Representatives from the Military Order of the Purple Heart told supervisors their chapter is seeking to name Highway 6 from Alabama to the Mississippi River for the military honor.

Supervisors voiced their approval for the request, which must go before the state legislature for final approval.

•   Supervisors approved the hiring of two seasonal road department employees at $10 an hour for grass cutting in the “south end” of the county.

Road manager Lygunnah Bean made the requests.  
The hirings came after some supervisors complained roadside ditches were left uncut during the summer months.