Cumberland Times-News, Md.
Oct. 18—SHORT GAP, W.Va.—The Mineral County Ambulance Authority is expected to vote Nov. 14 on a proposal to supplement ambulance service in the county’s northern end with a paramedic-staffed chase car.
The contractor, Valley Medical Transport of Keyser, would cover an area from Fountain to Ridgeley and include Patterson Creek, according to Colby Simpson, chair of the chase car committee.
“It’s about getting help to people quicker,” Simpson said during a public meeting Monday evening at Short Gap Volunteer Fire Department. “Mineral County is the only county in the state that has all volunteer EMS personnel at this point. It’s a change we were going to have to tackle at some point.”
Wiley Ford, Short Gap and Fort Ashby volunteer fire departments are answering calls at an 85 percent rate, Simpson said.
“What we found is, during the day, there is a significant lack of advanced life support providers in the county,” Simpson said. “There is a significant drop in ability to respond to ambulance calls.”
Five members of the ambulance authority will have to recuse themselves from the vote because they are employed by Valley Medical Transport. The chase car committee requested a written ruling from the West Virginia State Ethics Commission on how to proceed.
“There are still 10 members of the ambulance authority that can vote on this,” Simpson said.
The chase car would be stationed at the Short Gap station and would operate weekdays from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The ambulance authority would pay Valley Medical Transport $7,369.33 per month ($88,432 per year) to operate five days a week, 10 hours per day. The cost covers a paramedic from Valley Medical Transport, supplies, use of Valley’s cardiac monitor and any drugs used, Simpson said.