Ambulance Board Approves 1-Year Maintenance Agreement

By MARK EVANS

[email protected]

After some  discussion, the Ste. Genevieve County Ambulance District board of directors voted last Thursday to enter into a one-year, $15,595 maintenance agreement on the district’s Stryker products.

The district has  seven power loaders,  five power cost (stretcher) and two manual cost, all of which will be covered under the agreement.

Many of the district’s loaders and cots are seven years old, which is the full lifespan according to Stryker literature.

Executive director Kendall Shrum has noted before, though, that that estimate of product life is based one much larger, more active districts. He expects to squeeze additional years out of the district’s equipment, thus making servicing of the gear a key issue.

When the bulk of the equipment was purchased, a seven-year service contract was signed, which expired at the end of 2020. “It’s a per-year agreement now,” Shrum said, warning the board that “It’s a costly agreement,”

Stryker offered two options. All  repairs, including preventative maintenance, but excluding batteries is $13,505 for a year. With batteries included, the figure is $15,595.

“I had them run some figures on it,” Shrum said. “The work that we got done just this month is $2,722 for one cot that we had issues with.”

A control board and battery on a cot had to be replaced.

Shrum said needed repairs “are starting to get a little more frequent” on the cots add lifters.

The required annual preventative maintenance and recertification for the equipment this year cost more than $7,000, Shrum noted.

Asked wether the seven-year lifespan Stryker predicts, Shrum said, You get a service like Abbott, with 20,000 calls a year, yeah. Seven years is probably wearing those cots out. Our cots are in very good shape.”

Bearings have to be replaced most often, he said.

The $15,595 also covers the annual recertification, replacing batteries, parts and labor for the calendar year. Shrum also said that Stryker is willing to backdate the $2,722 service call made earlier this month, if the agreement is signed. Shrum was made aware that the old service agreement had expired on Dec. 31, when that service call was made.

“It’s a gamble, either way,” Shrum said. He added that the service had been “really good” and that a representative would normally be on site the day Shrum called or the following day.

The board voted unanimously to sign a one-year, $15,595 agreement that includes battery replacement.

Dennis Jokerst asked whether the board “might want to start thinking about” phasing out the older equipment.

“Probably, with this next ambulance purchase we should look at replacing one of the manual cots again,” Shrum said, “and then start on every truck, just start replacing a power cot from here on out.”

Bill Everett suggested that replacing cots and loaders should be “put on a schedule, like ambulances,” for regular replacement.

A new power cot costs between $18,000 and $20,000.

SHRUM GIVES DIRECTOR REPORT

In his monthly report, Shrum gave updates on requests per service.

In December there were 245 total calls, up from 227 in December 2019 and 206 in 2018. Of those, 175 were emergencies, compared to 1,568 a year ago and 141 in 2018. Transfers were up, with 67, compared to 56 in 2019 and 63 in 2018.

Of the 175 emergencies, 101 were  responded to by House on in Ste. Genevieve, 40 were by House 2 in Bloomsdale and 34 by House 3 near Weingarten.

Of the 67 transfers, 34 were from House 1, 18 from House 2 and 15 from House 3.

For calendar year 2020, there were 2,452 calls, almost identical to the 2,443 of 2019 and up from 2,317 of 2018. Emergency calls were slightly up, with 1,795, compared to 1,751 in 2019 and 1,646 in 2018. There were 593 transfers, compared to 617 in 2019 and 598 in 2018.

“We’re up slightly,” Shrum said.

He also gave figures dating back to 2009. Beginning wit 1,842 total calls that year, the total edged up slightly each year, to 2,055 by 2012.

The numbers increased the next two years, before falling off a tad in 2016. Since 2017, the totals have gradually increased from 2,302. Emergency calls have also gradually risen, beginning in 2017.

“We continue to have slow growth,” Shrum said. “Not by leaps and bounds, but the trend is still climbing.”

Shrum reported that Blake Clifton, a representative of American Response Vehicles [ARV] in Columbia, who usually advises the board on truck purchases, had advised him that the remounted ambulance the district had ordered should be ready in four to six weeks.

Shrum also reported on district personnel.

Carla Degenhardt is retiring after 23 years. He said the crew had a party in her honor. Meanwhile, another full-time employee has requested to  move to reserve Short-term, contract, part-time, or fill-in work PRN work. The individual is going to paramedic school and has young children at home, Shrum said.

Meanwhile, two people on the PRN roster resigned and a third had to be terminated.