April 24, 2003

Hospital Board Considering Funding Options For New Ambulance

The Scotland County Memorial Hospital board of directors is hoping for good news from the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) but the hospital is making contingency plans along with the Scotland County Ambulance District to help secure a new ambulance for the region.

Transmission problems in the secondary ambulance have restricted the local district to only one ambulance in service over the past two weeks.

Hospital officials reviewed several bids for a new ambulance at the April 16 meeting of the board.

The board considered four styles of ambulances. Med-Tech submitted a proposal for a new ambulance with a base cost of $85,000. The additional equipment required by the ambulance service generated a projected cost of $90,000-$92,000.

The second unit considered was a demo from Osage. A new model costs $92,000. The demo, which had approximately 8,000 miles, was priced at $89,000.

Braun offered a demo unit with 20,000 miles at a negotiated cost of $93,500. A new unit was priced at $112,000.

Life Line offered a demo unit with approximately 10,000 miles for $85,000. The line price for a new unit is $94,000.

SCMH administrator Marcia Dial indicated the hospital appears to be in the running for a grant from MFH that would alleviate the need for the board to purchase a new ambulance.

The hospital has submitted a joint application along with ambulance districts in Knox, Schuyler and Clark counties that is requesting nearly $600,000 to help purchase five ambulances, one each for the outlying counties served by SCMH as well as two to be located in Scotland County.

Dial indicated the hospital has received some positive feedback from the foundation, which funded a $150,000 grant to the hospital last year to help the hospital upgrade its operating room.

But with only one ambulance in service the hospital board did consider other options and reviewed a number of bids for ambulances. Several of the manufacturers brought demo ambulances to Memphis April 10 for review.

Members from the ambulance service as well as board members from both the hospital and ambulance districts reviewed three different ambulances. Following that date a fourth bid was received by ambulance service director Jason Moss who reviewed the demo from Life Line from Des Moines, IA, which was traveling through the region en route for display at another hospital.

Moss was present at the April 16 hospital board meeting and told the members that his department as well as the ambulance board recommended purchasing the demo unit from Braun. The unit has approximately 20,000 miles but Moss said the quality of the ambulance as well as a lower negotiated price out-weighted the mileage concerns.

"We can add an extended warranty on the ambulance itself that would cover it up to 100,000 miles at a relatively low cost," Moss stated at the meeting. "The box where we do our work is the selling point for this ambulance. It has shadow-free lighting, and a special comfort package for patients. It also has a sliding side door that is a plus compared to the other buses, which have doors that open out into traffic."

Currently the ambulance district has a 1998 unit with approximately 32,000 miles. The ambulance was purchased in 1999. The second unit, a 1994 ambulance with 166,000 miles, has been out of service for two weeks since the transmission went out. The district had previously replaced the transmission less than a year earlier making the board leery to spend an additional $3,500 to have the process redone.

The ambulance service also maintains a third unit, a 1994 van style ambulance. The unit has 116,000 miles and Moss indicated it is only used for extreme emergencies and truly isn't a viable option for regular patient transfers.

Due to urgent situation Dial told the board she would follow up on the grant application with MFH and would likely reconvene the board meeting in the next week to 10 days to allow the district to move forward one way or the other to get a new ambulance.

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