Jan. 17 in the Paintsville Herald
looks to remedy ambulance money pit
Paintsville Herald Staff Writer
surrounding the Paintsville Ambulance Service has been well
documented by local media—both print and broadcast. And, the
threat of the department being closed has loomed large during the
past year. Excessive overtime has been questioned by the city’s
council members and the deficit under which the department has
been operating has been a major source of concern.
Many remedies have been discussed but none have been effective in
reversing the trend of the department losing money. And, another
option was offered by Paintsville Fire Chief Bob Dixon during the
January meeting of the Paintsville City Council Tuesday.
As of the meeting, there was a total of $227,000 outstanding on
the department’s books. The money is a result of unpaid bills
for services rendered to individuals. Dixon suggested that a
collection agency be retained to aid in the collection of the
Paintsville Mayor Doug Pugh said that he would add the item to the
The following are some of the previous suggestions to address the
financial problems of the department.
•In August, Dixon requested that the city take over all 911
Dixon stated that the problem leading to excessive overtime and
the downward trend in income was due, in large part, to the
question of when First Response would or would not be on the 911
According to Dixon, First Response would sometimes call and take
themselves out of the 911 rotation, leaving Paintsville as the
only service available in the county, thereby creating overtime
situations due to the inability to plan an employees regular
Dixon requested that all calls received through
Paintsville/Johnson County 911 Dispatch be directed to the
city’s ambulance service. Then mayor Robin Cooper agreed, saying
that the city is ready for the extra work.
“We have enough units in place that we could handle the biggest
part of it,” he said. “We are conforming to their schedule and
While Cooper acknowledged that the city was not in business to
make money, he did give his opinion as to the quality of the
“We’re not in the profit business,” he said. “I do think
that when it comes to emergency runs we offer the best service.”
•Excessive overtime was also discussed in the October 2002
meeting. During that meeting, Dixon reiterated that the problem
leading to excessive overtime and the downward trend in income was
due, in large part, to the question of when First Response
Ambulance Service would or would not be on the 911 rotation list.
However, overtime decreased by 500 hours during September. And, as
ambulance runs continue to increase, Cooper said that he was
pleased with the progress being made.
The issue will again be discussed during the February meeting.
2003 The Kentucky EMS Connection. All rights reserved. News stories
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