Mooresville Hwy. station trades up for better building

Friday, July 6, 2007

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

The ambulance service in Marshall County has a bigger and newer station house on Mooresville Highway now that it's exchanged its 12-year-old building for another portable building moved from the airport here.

It's a continuation of a cooperative effort between the Marshall County Emergency Medical Service and NHC Lewisburg, the health care center next door, EMS Director Jimmy Adams said shortly after his crew moved into bigger and better quarters.

The change may not be immediately noticeable to the average motorist driving west of downtown Lewisburg, but the change provides a separate office so incident reports aren't written at the kitchen table. There's more room overall because the new 924-square-foot building has a gabled ceiling. And the old building had only 634 square feet.

"This was a used trailer from Air Evac," Adams said of the helicopter ambulance service serving this area. "We were able to sell our old trailer and pay for this one with the proceeds from that sale."

Moving day was June 21. Everything was secured on June 29 when ambulance crews started to enjoy their new quarters.

The way Marshall County's EMS established, and continues to have, an ambulance station on Mooresville Pike is a result of a mutually beneficial, public-private partnership that improved EMS response times west of town, Adams explained on Monday.

"There was a point in time when all our resources were from one place," Adams said. "We did get a station in Chapel Hill in 1991. A lot of times, we have only a matter of minutes to respond and we were looking to expand."

That involves a continuing strategy to "scatter our resources," he said. "We had the units and manpower, but not the facilities that we felt would be needed.

"And we felt it would be a good recruitment tool and give us quick access to Interstate 65, the west side of Lewisburg and the county, so we got with NHC."

That was in the early 1990s.

"Jimmy came to us in 1995, knowing we had the property here," NHC Lewisburg Director Scott Bidwell recalled of the proposal that the health care center provide land, a building and other assistance.

"We approached NHC's corporate officers and made the proposal," Bidwell said. "The Adams family agreed."

The Adams family of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County have numerous health care investments in Middle Tennessee. There's no family relationship between the EMS director and the NHC owners.

NHC purchased a portable building for EMS about 12 years ago, Bidwell said. It cost about $12,000. An ambulance bay, or carport, and related facilities next to the portable building cost about $10,000. Some $2,000 more were spent on paving and other site preparation. Utilities for that building, and now its successor, are provided by NHC at about $2,000 per month. Those and associated costs for the ambulance station have cost NHC about $50,000 over the years.

"It's a great investment," Bidwell said, noting the obvious advantage of having an ambulance station next door to the 100-bed center he manages. "Plus, they can provide in-service training for our staff at NHC Lewisburg."

Bidwell and Adams are open about the arrangement. Adams says such an arrangement could be part of other agreements if such opportunities arose.

"In return for NHC doing this, we gladly let them use us as a marketing tool," Adams said. "We accomplished several things at the same time."

Bidwell said, "It's a reassurance to the families of patients to have the EMS station so close to the center."