WARSAW — The public concern over ambulances and EMS officials has been heard loud and clear across Kosciusko County over the past few months. Tony Doyle, manager of operations at Lutheran EMS, explained the details of how things are evolving and changing after the acquisition of Multi-Township EMS by Lutheran Health Network.
According to Doyle, “the transfers are being handled different ways. We look at the status of the system and how we can keep 911 calls covered. There are times that the Leesburg, Milford and Bourbon station do take transfers. With that being said we try to maintain a level of ambulance coverage…If it is a high run volume day call in additional personnel to come in and assist with calls.”
“We have eight ambulances in total, and we run five of them 24/7. That way, if we need to, we have three extras to get our runs completed,” Doyle said.
Lutheran EMS has five stations in total, with two in Warsaw, one in Leesburg, one in Bourbon and one in Milford. “We position our trucks as best as we can to provide the best response time.” However, working as an EMS official can be strenuous, as multiple calls are made in the same location and at the same time every day. Doyle commented, “Thankfully, we are able to move our trucks around as the runs come in everyday.”
With the amount of ambulances Lutheran currently has, there are times when it cannot provide the coverage it is contracted to. Doyle noted a few surrounding counties, which are willing to provide ambulances to locations near them. “We utilize places like North Manchester and others a couple of times a month because we need to.”
For now, Doyle said they are crunching numbers daily to determine how, where and when they can add another ambulance to the squad.
“Many people don’t realize just how busy we are every year,” Doyle said, citing over 19,000 runs in the past three years. “We are the second busiest service in all of northeastern Indiana, averaging 17.8 runs a day.” In 2013, there were 6,361 runs; in 2014, there were 6,144 runs; and projections for this year run above 6,500 runs.
“You definitely have to have a dynamic personality in this field,” Doyle said of working as an EMS official. “It’s quite a lot of critical thinking and decisions have to be made. But if you’ve ever been trained in this, you know what to do: you must be three steps ahead.”
The transition from Multi-Township EMS to Lutheran EMS has been “really smooth,” Doyle said. “Lutheran gives us the ability to increase what we can do for the citizens of Kosciusko County. Before, if we needed a new ambulance, the budget had to be drastically cut, but now, Lutheran allows us to get better deals.”
Doyle noted the tax subsidy from townships will decrease over $1 million in the duration of new three-year contracts that start in January. He also said Lutheran’s ability to provide more services to the community in the form of programs like CPR training has increased substantially.
With the added competition of Tri-County, Lutheran EMS is trying harder than ever to provide quality service to the residents of Kosciusko County. “We will always do what is best for the patient. We will take you where you want to go, whatever is closest.”
Doyle closed by saying “our common goal is to do the best for all our patients.”