TMH would like more use out of ambulance service

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The Memorial Hospital ambulatory service receives an average of 60 calls per month, but two department heads would like to see the service used more.

Tom Soos, hired a month ago as Emergency Medical Team director at TMH and Dr. Jon Ossen, who oversees EMT training programs, said they want to get the word out that the service is available.

"We don't want grandma getting grandpa up and putting him in a car when he could have been picked up by an ambulance," Ossen said. "We want people to know we exist."

Soos was hired a month ago as director to replace what had been a three-person director team.

Since being hired, Soos has changed the name of the ambulatory service from emergency medical team to emergency medical service.

"It's not just a taxi ride," Soos said. "A lot of caring needs to be done during the transition to the hospital."

One of the goals Soos has for the service is to increase the number of full-time employees.

Currently the service consists of part-time people who are on call. Soos would like to see six full-time people added to the team.

"The goal is to try and get full-time coverage and continue with the on-call people," he said. "We want to try and increase the number of people we have so it's not as much of a burden on those who don't work here. We want to expand the number of people we have and get more people trained."

Dr. Ossen agreed.

"The goal is to increase the professionalism of the service from being a semi-volunteer service to the quality of a full-time service," he said. "The community is growing to a point where we need full-time service and coverage. People should be able to call an ambulance and have it show up in five minutes. We're trying to bring it up to a full-time professional status. We need six new full-time positions. That's the goal."

TMH Administrator Randy Phelps said the emergency medical service is moving in the right direction.

"They're trying to make some improvements that should be pleasing to the community," he said. "They should provide a little snappier response."

Phelps said cost of hiring six new full-time employees is a concern.

"We have to figure out where the resources are," he said. "Critical Access will be helpful in that regard."

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