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B-L Ambulance board approves pay raises

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Barry-Lawrence Ambulance District Board of Directors approved a 50-cent-per-hour wage increase for all hourly employees at the January board meeting.

The last hourly wage increase was for 50 cents, approved by the board in January 2011. Jeaneittia Pierce, office manager, said the board has made it a priority to keep wages competitive with other services.

"You've got to pay for good employees," Pierce said.

The board approved the annual compliance report with district operations. Pierce said the report shows when the ground ambulance licenses are due, as well as licenses for the radio, with the Drug Enforcement Administration's drug license and the authorization to draw blood through the state. The report tracks accreditation renewal, employee screenings and compliance with federal patient privacy requirements.

In the report, Pierce provided the board with an update from the Centers for Medicare Services on scheduled fee changes in the coming year for possible budget consideration. To track Medicaid and Medicare compliance, random checks are made of patient files from the past year to see that cases were handled properly. Patient care reports submitted to the state are audited for compliance and reported to the board.

Board members also approved the report submitted to the Missouri Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The district's medical director also reviews the report and signs off on its findings.

The semi-annual quality assurance report was also approved. Pierce said the report reviews priority 1 cases for patient care to ensure that patients received quality care. Any potential improvements are cited and implemented as found.

Run records shows crews had their second busiest December on record with 226 calls, second only to 230 in 2009. The 2011 total was 2,679 runs, up 309 or 13 percent from 2010. The average number of runs per month in 2011 was 223. Between 1998 and 2007, the average monthly total ran between 180 and 200.

During December 2011, 194 patients were transported. Crews took 66 to Cox Monett Hospital, 76 to Springfield hospitals, seven to Freeman Hospital in Joplin, nine to Mercy Hospital-Aurora, 10 to nursing facilities, one to St. Louis and one to a helicopter landing zone.

Crews picked up five runs from other services as mutual aid, going to Monett, Aurora, Carthage, Springfield and a helicopter landing zone. Three calls were turned over to other services while all available ambulances were out on calls.

In the three pay periods during December 2011, staff was scheduled to work 160 hours overtime per period. Another 50 hours came from standby calls. Unplanned overtime totaled 91.5 hours.

Patient charges for the year totaled $1.3 million, up almost $96,000 from 2010. Revenues from patient accounts totaled $804,505, a new record and up almost $19,000 from 2010.

The new oxylator and the ventilator to provide Continuous positive airway pressure arrived. Andy McCaslin, education director, reported he was developing classes to teach staff how to used the new equipment.

Staff members completed 406 hours in continuing education credits during 2011, McCaslin said. He issued cards for the completed hours to all employees.

Staff members drove the new #412 ambulance during the Monett Christmas parade. Two staff members participated in the multi-service public relations campaign against drinking and driving over the New Year's holiday.

The board cancelled its February meeting and will next meet on March 13.

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