Leetonia will go with two shifts of EMT crews

LEETONIA–The Leetonia EMS Department could have a staffed day shift soon.

Village council last week authorized Solicitor Walter Newton to create an amendment to the department’s standard operating procedures that will permit the scheduling of two, six-hour blocks from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday with two EMS personnel.

Assistant EMS Director Seth Randolph made the request in order to guarantee staff members are available during times of high dumped call volume. He said 72 percent of the dumped calls are during the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. and that by staffing an ambulance during that time will “drastically decrease our dumped call volume and in turn create more revenue.”

He said the goal is to run the department at 80 percent call efficiency or better.

According to Randolph, scheduling will be handled on a month-to-month basis maintained by current EMS officers. Staffing can be of any level first responder, EMT, advanced EMT or paramedic. Each staff member will be paid two hours for each shift in addition to any compensation for running calls and any staff member not living within six minutes of the station must remain on station while on duty.

There are already members on staff who are willing to work the new shifts, Randolph noted.

Depending on availability of staff members, on average an ambulance would be staffed by an EMT and an advanced EMT (AEMT) or paramedic, with a payroll of 40 hours per week for two staff members, for a total expenditure of $293. The payroll expenditure would be less, based on wages for the different levels of personnel, if the schedule is not full and higher if the schedule is staffed with only higher level personnel, Randolph explained, noting it is will be the responsibility of the EMS officers to appropriately staff the schedule according to pay rate and expenses to the department, with a concerted effort made to staff the schedule with one first responder or EMT and one AEMT or paramedic.

Based on call statistics from January through June of this year, the department has averaged $354 per transporting ambulance call, so the department will make a profit if it runs just one call each week during staffed hours, Randolph said.

The department averages 1.75 such calls every day, meaning the department should run at least five calls each week during staffed hours generating a revenue of $1.772 each week, he added.

“After the cost of equipment and payroll there is still a large amount of revenue made,” Randolph said.

Even so, the first few months will be difficult as far as payroll is concerned, Randolph warned. However, once the dropped calls decrease, the revenue will increase to counter the increase in payroll, he said.

And staffing the daytime schedule also addresses another issue other than revenue, according to Randolph. A lot of staff members also serve on Columbiana EMS and are dedicating their time to that department because they are being paid for stand by in addition to transport pay.

“[Staffing the daytime shift] is not only a chance to make more revenue, but also a chance to keep our own people in town,” he said.

Council members voiced support for the proposal.

“If it’s going to help, and help the village, I’m all for it,” councilman Bill Garlough said.

Randolph said he hopes to start staffing the daytime shift by Oct. 1, which council members agreed is a good starting point.

Council President JR Ferry said Randolph should return in January with one quarter of statistics so council can evaluate the new staffing.