Yesterday was a tragic, busy day for the law enforcement, EMS and news folks…..First report…a boat stolen from White Lake, a problem at the Tar Heel Smithfield hog processing plant that led to the evacuation of employees, again….and then the horrible news about the slaying of a long time resident of Elizabethtown…..We have articles related to all on our news page…and updates will continue as we receive more info…..
Then last night, a busy night for the Bladen Board of Commissioners….They are hopeful of updating their long-term strategic plan…..it has been several years since the last exercise….It will take a yet to be appointed group of dedicated volunteers to spearhead the effort…..
Then there are serious concerns by commissioners and the EMS folks related to providing emergency medical services for Bladen residents…and it is complicated….Volunteer Rescue Squads were the only source of the service following action of the legislature stopping the action of funeral homes in the ’60s from picking up those in need….The funeral homes had no trained EMS services….and were the providers of last resort…..they were called on, I guess because they had an ambulance….They were not excited about providing the service…
Volunteer rescue squads were organized, receive training, very little pay, sometimes none….They had to provide their building, their vehicles, attend training classes in order to be certified…That has lasted for years….Along the way, the paid staff was organized to provide full-time service with support from the volunteer squads….
Over the years, there are less volunteers, more stringent requirements to become state certified plus re-certification annually….for individuals and their equipment.
For years, reimbursement was pretty good..the paid service cost the county little or nothing…..then Medicaid and Medicare reimbursement were cut…..the number of volunteers has dropped….but requirements for the service continues to increase….and the cost must be borne by the county….apparently at whatever the cost….some cannot afford to pay for the service….but it must be available…
Full-time workers in any county can work their schedule, then travel to a nearby county and work a limited schedule and supplement their income….In fact, there is now a concern that the hourly rate for part-timers may soon exceed the salary of the full-time folks….and that will not work….Equipment is more expensive…There is much to be done to continue to provide this necessary service to all citizens…….
Commissioners must deal with it….Goals established includes response time in every corner of this large county…large when compared with most other counties in the state…adequate training and vehicles…It is a problem/opportunity that takes certified providers, vehicles that are capable of traveling to the far areas of the county in a relatively short time and if necessary, travel to area medical centers wherever…
No easy solutions…I have simplified the situation and it is not a simple problem.
Get the picture???? We will continue to observe and watch and hope an affordable solution is soon determined….Don’t know about you…but when/if I need the services…I want quality, well trained personnel operating in a dependable vehicle with whatever is needed to help me survive until I get to the medical center I need to visit….Anything less is not acceptable….
Takes money, that is the bottom line…and in rural Bladen County, tax dollars are scarce….and the needs are many….Commissioners will be meet soon to determine the course of action and address the issues soon.
An obstacle is something you see when you take your eyes off the goal.
A person of words and not deeds is like a garden full of weeds.
An old-timer is someone who remembers every detail of their life story, but cannot remember how many times they have told the same person.
robert g hester