November 27, 2003

Missouri Foundation For Health Awards $488,000 To Area Ambulance Districts

After nearly a year in the works Scotland County Memorial Hospital learned on November 21 that the Missouri Foundation for Health had approved a nearly $500,000 grant application submitted by SCMH to fund the purchase of ambulances for the four northeast Missouri counties served by the facility.

SCMH CEO Marcia Dial met with representatives of the ambulance districts that serve Clark, Knox, Schuyler and Scotland counties on Monday, November 24 to make the preliminary announcement of the grant. The MFH board voted on the grant application and approved $488,000 to fund the proposal at a November 20 meeting.

As the only hospital in the four-county area served by these four ambulance districts, SCMH took the initiative to prepare the grant application. The process was completed by Robin Thompson, Dial and Brenda Prather at SCMH. The proposal suggested the creation of a collaborative network of emergency service providers to be known as Rural Emergency Services Partnership of Northeast Districts (RESPOND).

The Missouri Foundation for Health is pleased to support this grant which will improve access to care in Clark, Knox, Scotland and Schuyler, said Heather McClurg MFH Director of Communications. The proposals strength was its clear objectives to reduce morbidity/mortality rates in a region that is considered high-risk for injuries due to limited highway systems and severe weather conditions. Also, the collaborative activities between the ambulance districts and the community make this a strong project that is likely to succeed.

The grant will allow Clark, Knox and Schuyler county ambulance services to purchase one new ambulance while funding for two new ambulances was provided for Scotland County. Two ambulances were awarded to Scotland County as the medical base for the region allowing the centrally located member to be able to provide the quickest response to a mutual aid call to any of the three partners in the coalition.

The four ambulance services provide essential life-saving care to more than 21,000 residents over a more than 1,500 mile area.

We all have struggled at times over the past few years keeping ambulances running and inservice, Dial said. With the current financial picture for most of us we did not have the funding in the budget to purchase the new ambulances we need.

The grant is expected to alleviate down time that often accompanied the districts older units, which were often out of service requiring maintenance and repairs. Newer, improved ambulances could help with response times as well for the ambulance services and should decrease the costs associated with providing ambulance service to the communities.

Each of the four ambulance services will use the grant-funded ambulance to replace an existing ambulance unit that will be retired.

The older ambulances range from a 1990 model with 164,000 miles in Scotland County to newer 1994 and 1995 units that are causing problems for their districts in Knox, Schuyler and Clark counties because of the need for frequent repairs.

Combined, the four districts make an average of more than 1,700 ambulance runs per year. More than half of the transports are to facilities more than 20 miles from the scene with many going as far as 150 miles to the nearest major medical center.

Following the meeting for the announcement of the grant the ambulance district representatives agreed to seek bids and plan a meeting for December 3rd to view demonstration models to be brought to SCMH for the special meeting.

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