Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Marcus Huff
Staff Writer 

Ambulance service seeks director, rejects sales tax revenue


February 7, 2018

WORLAND – Members of the Washakie County Ambulance Service Committee met with Washakie County Commissioners on Tuesday to present recommendations to hire a full-time director, and to not transfer county emergency medical services to a private third party, as in surrounding counties.

Commissioner Fred Frandson met with the committee throughout the decision process and presented the pros and cons of keeping the service and county department.

Frandson pointed out, after a study had been made by the committee, that the county’s base rate for ambulance callout services was 48.5 percent lower than privatized counties (including Big Horn, Park, Hot Springs and Fremont counties) and that the county currently holds an average of callout-to-scene time of 9.32 minutes, with an average en route-to-scene time of 5.09 minutes.

“We won’t mention some of the problems other counties have been experiencing,” remarked Frandson, “but we are well within the correct range for response times.”

Benefits of the country service included hospital transfers, which other departments don’t due to lack of personnel. The committee also found that county maintenance of ambulances was above average, with all four current ambulances in running order. By comparison, only six of 14 ambulances are currently running in Fremont County.

In summary, the committee found that the current system is more efficient than private services, and decided that Washakie County will continue to maintain their own ambulances with the help of volunteers, and recommended the hiring of a full-time director.

Current acting director Gard Ferguson recommended that the new director be at least a three-year Intermediate EMT veteran, and be vetted by a sponsoring physician and committee members.

The county commission agreed that the position would be advertised until filled, contingent on a pay scale to be determined first using recommendations from the ambulance committee and the county’s current scale, after review.

While Commissioner Frandson had previously recommended that the county ambulance services to be covered under Joint Resolution 315, which splits one-cent sales tax funds, due to cut-backs from the state, the ambulance committee requested to be kept under the county budget system, as they felt they covered their needs just fine with available funds.

Commissioners Terry Wolf and Aaron Anderson commended the ambulance service and thanked them for their volunteerism in an important community role.

“Probably the longest time in the world is when you are waiting for an ambulance to show up,” noted Anderson, “I don’t think people often realize the time and work the volunteers put into this, and we all appreciate it.”


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