Clarifying questions about ambulance responses
Recently, some comments and questions were posted on the Ozark County Times’ Facebook page regarding the operation of the Ozark County Ambulance District. I will try to clear up any misconceptions.
Regarding the decision about the patient’s transport destination, the patient’s preference will be honored whenever possible. Patrons should check with their insurance provider as Medicare and most health insurances will only pay for transport to the nearest appropriate facility. Also, it would not be prudent to take our only ambulance out of service for 10-12 hours to transport to Columbia or St. Louis, so we limit our destinations to Springfield, Branson, West Plains or Mountain Home, Arkansas.
In some medical emergencies, the patient’s condition may warrant getting medical attention as soon as possible, so we may suggest (or sometimes insist) that the patient consider a closer facility. If the patient still wants to be transported to the farther facility, we will ask them to sign a liability waiver and then transport them to the facility of their choice. Also, there have been a few times when road conditions due to ice, snow or flooding have limited the destinations we were able to access.
Regarding the use of other counties’ ambulance services, mutual aid from other services is requested when our ambulance is out of service on a call and unable to respond to the request. In one recent incident, icy road conditions and the patient’s location put us in a situation where it would be 45 minutes longer for us to respond than for Ava Area Ambulance to respond. We felt that getting emergency care to this patient as quickly as possible was the sensible option, so the call was turned over to Ava Area. Other than extreme cases such as this, Ozark County Ambulance responds to all requests when available. We respond to requests in Ozark County and also to Marion County, Arkansas, south of Dugginsville and south of Pontiac. We have responded to mutual aid requests in Taney County, Douglas County and Baxter County, Arkansas.
Eddie Delp, administrator
Ozark County Ambulance District