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EMS to cut costs with more employees

Friday, August 31, 2012

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Marshall County's Emergency Medical Service director wants to cut costs by hiring more employees, he said recently, and his plan is endorsed by county commissioners.

EMS Director Bill Reuter plans to reduce overtime wages by hiring more dispatchers, he said. It's to cut costs by $31,355 and eliminate a shortfall of just over $44,000.

"This would save us money," Reuter told commissioners on the EMS Committee. "It's not going to be popular with the employees here because they're losing a lot of overtime, but I have to be responsible to the taxpayers of the county."

Reuter succeeded Jamie Whorley as director after Whorley resigned to take a lower-paying position with Lincoln County Emergency Medical Service to avoid stress and have more time for his family.

"Our paramedics are paid less than those in neighboring counties," Reuter said.

His proposal is to change the ambulance service budget as it was proposed to county commissioners by Whorley for the 2012-13 fiscal year.

"Good plan," Commissioner Sheldon Davis said after Reuter commented that he could not explain why dispatching had been covered with employees who are paid overtime.

On Davis' suggestion, the EMS Committee on Aug. 20 referred the recommended change to the budget committee that met Aug. 23 when it received another unanimous vote. Those two committees' recommendations all but guarantee its adoption in the county's next spending plan. It's set to start with a commission vote on Sept. 25.

In other EMS developments, a Marshall County ambulance was involved in a crash as it took a patient to Maury Regional Medical Center. The accident was near the Duck River Electric Membership Corp. offices in Maury County when a vehicle came off a side road and hit the ambulance in broad daylight. The patient suffered minor injuries, Reuter said. The EMS' insurance policy covers such a crash involving uninsured motorists and has no deductible.