Committee to look at concerns at Bullitt EMS

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Magistrate voices concerns over use of paramedic cars, lack of decals on vehicles

 SHEPHERDSVILLE - Over her first year in office, magistrate Ruthie Ashbaugh has mentioned on several occasions some concerns about the operation of the county’s emergency medical services.

While overtime hours has been the biggest concern, a discussion Tuesday has led to the creation of a committee to work on EMS issues.

Ashbaugh drew concerns when seeing the financial situation for the first five months of the new fiscal year.

However, treasurer Kenann Bradley and EMS director Mike Phillips said the negative figures shown are normal. Neither EMS nor the jail are break-even departments.

Throughout the year, Bradley said transfers are made into both funds and that will show a negative on the financial statements.

Phillips said his $3 million budget includes $2 million in revenue and another $1 million transfer from the general fund. In reality, he said about $250,000 per quarter is transferred to the department.

So far, Phillips said revenue for the first two quarters are up and the expenses would be under budget if the county had not gotten hit with a retirement payment and a payroll that fell into the first week of July.

Understanding that part of the discussion, Ashbaugh then directed her attention to the EMS vehicles, including three which were just leased for EMS/EMA.

Ashhaugh felt every county vehicle, but especially the emergency vehicles, should carry a logo of the county to be clearly seen by the public.

Even though the EMS vehicles run with lights and sirens, Ashbaugh was still concerned about safety and liability issues.

The magistrate was upset that logos were taken off one of the EMS vehicles after it had been seen in various areas out of the county and at places in which the paramedic was not on duty.

“Vehicles shouldn’t be used for personal trips,” said Ashbaugh.

Phillips said he understood the incident in which Ashbaugh was most upset and the matter was dealt with. He said the only reason a logo was removed was that one was damaged and they didn’t want to have just one side covered.

The cost of a logo was about $450, according to Phillips.

County attorney Monica Robinson said it would be a good idea to have all vehicles with a logo for liability issues. She said the logo would be good for emergency situations.

Ashbaugh’s motion for decals being required died without a second.

A resident came forward with another complaint about a bill she received for having her husband transported from her home to the doctor’s office.

However, Phillips said the $3,200 bill did not come from Bullitt County EMS. Yellow Ambulance provides non-emergency transportation to the county.

If the county wanted to spend another $300,000-$400,000 a year to have an ambulance devoted to making non-emergency runs, that could be done.

Instead, Phillips said, Bullitt County only makes emergency runs and he is having a hard time having enough ambulances to make those calls at certain times.

Ashbaugh felt that the county should be able to do something for senior citizens facing such large bills. Instead of buying paramedic vehicles for personal use, she said those funds could be used for helping the seniors.

With several issues being discussed on EMS, Bullitt County Judge/Executive Melanie Roberts formed a committee to work with Phillips. Magistrates Ashbaugh and Joe Laswell will be joined by resident Sandy Higgins on the committee.

The formal committee makeup and meeting schedule would be discussed further at the Jan. 3 fiscal court meeting.