Maries-Osage Ambulance District to submit request for ambulance sanitization machines

By Laura Schiermeier, Staff Writer
Posted 8/5/20

VIENNA — The administrator of the Maries-Osage Ambulance District, Brian Opoka, with disappointment told the MOAD board that the company he’d hoped to obtain a machine to sanitize the …

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Maries-Osage Ambulance District to submit request for ambulance sanitization machines

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VIENNA — The administrator of the Maries-Osage Ambulance District, Brian Opoka, with disappointment told the MOAD board that the company he’d hoped to obtain a machine to sanitize the inside of district ambulances is not available at this time. However, the board members encouraged Opoka to go forward with submitting the information about the sanitizer and other models to possibly receive reimbursement with Maries and Osage counties CARES Act money from the federal government.

Opoka said about the hold up, that the machines would be needed in the future because, “We’re going to be dealing with this for a long time, years to come.”

At the July MOAD board meeting, Opoka said the company that makes the RDS3110 sanitization machines that disinfects the interior of an ambulance in about 30 minutes, has switched to making compressors for ventilators during the current Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. The coronavirus is the reason they wanted the sanitization machines, which cost about $16,000 each. At last month’s meeting the board gave Opoka the go-ahead to submit the information to order the machines, one for each ambulance base. At the July meeting, Opoka says he’s not sure if the company will be making the machines during the next quarter.

Board member Victor Stratman, who also is the county’s presiding commissioner, suggested Opoka see if there are other companies that sell the ambulance sanitization machines. Opoka said there are other machines but they aren’t comparable as it’s a “more manual process.” With theRDS3110 sanitization machine, once the patient is removed from the ambulance, the machine is set up in about 10 seconds. By the time the crew is ready to leave, the whole ambulance has been disinfected.

Without the machine the process is manual as after the patient is removed from the ambulance, the crew has to take off the PPE it used during the transport of the coronavirus patient and put on new PPE and manually spray and wipe all surfaces down. Opoka said using two sets of PPE is no small thing as each set costs MOAD $40.

He told the board members that if the company that makes the machines returns to production of them, he will try to get them. He has a bid from March he could submit for pre-approval for the CARES Act money to pay for it. Maries County received $1,020,000 in federal money to reimburse entities and businesses for expenses incurred due to the coronavirus.

Opoka said he will put together three bids for the machine they want and another two types of machines and submit them for reimbursement. He will include information about the machines and how they are differ. Stratman said he will abstain from voting on that submission because of his position on the county commission. He encouraged Opoka to go ahead and submit this.

In other business at the July MOAD Board meeting:

• President Don Lanning said the district received a bill from EMS Legal Services attorney Frank Foster. The price has increased from $750 a year to $950 a year. Lanning said it’s the first time there has been an increase in price since the district began using Foster’s services. The board likes his work and approved hiring him again. They also approved payment of all of he bills.

• In the financial report, total income for June was $40,270.57 and total expenses were $68,069.77 for a negative net income of $27,799.20.

Opoka said the negative balance was because of large expenses of the annual building/vehicle insurance premiums, and for supplies the district purchased to stock up on due to Covid-19 to have on hand. The district did not receive the statement from Boundtree for a couple of months and the statements were all paid in June to get caught up.

Of the month’s total income of $40,270.57, $848.26 was Maries County taxes, $165.10 was Osage County taxes, $20,917.33 was service fees, $10 training fees, $18,304.84 from sales tax, and $35.04 interest.

• In the operations report, Opoka reported a total of 63 ambulance responses in June. Of these 43 were in Vienna zone and 20 in Freeburg zone.

Of the Vienna responses, 23 were urgent emergencies and 20 were dry runs.

Of the Freeburg responses, 12 were urgent emergencies, three were dry runs, and five were routine non-emergencies.

• In new business, the board members decided to table swearing in board members and the election of officers until the next meeting when more members are present.

• The board members decided to have two different meetings next month; the regular meeting on Aug. 10 and the tax levy meeting will be scheduled after all of the information for the levy is received from the county and the state.

• Opoka gave the board members a second quarter financial report. Year-to-date (YTD) revenue is budgeted at $335,750 and actual YTD revenue is $392,120 for a positive variance of $65,370. Expenses budgeted YTD are $335,750 and actual YTD are $377,779 with a negative expense of $42,029. Revenue over expense budget is $14,000 YTD and the projected year-end is $8,500.

• Opoka reported there have been fewer transfers by district ambulances over the past three months. Mostly because hospitals are not filled up because of the coronavirus. But, there has been a lack of good communication and information sharing that has led to the district doing transfers and not getting paid for them. Opoka told the board members there were 10 transfers and the district was not paid for four of them. It is miscommunication he is receiving from hospitals. If he is not getting good information for the transfer, then he is not going to authorize taking them, saying, “We can’t do that for long.”

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