Study response cool

HUMBOLDT — Humboldt City Council members were cool to the idea of Allen County hiring a consultant for a top-to-bottom review of its Emergency Medical Service.
Nathan Cunningham, interim EMS director, told the Council Monday county commissioners were considering hiring the consultant, but had not committed to doing so.
Cunningham cited the study’s cost — about $45,000 — as the biggest hurdle.
The county owns and operates ambulances in Humboldt and Moran, covering the entire county minus Iola. Iola broke away from county service in December to start its own ambulance program.
“We’re just gauging the cities’ interest to see if we could share the cost,” Cunningham said. “Right now, it’s just an idea.”
Council member Dan Julich had two problems with the suggestion.
Because Humboldt residents are already county taxpayers, they would essentially be paying twice should the city chip in on the costs, Julich said.
Secondly, “I don’t have a problem with the ambulance service in Humboldt,” Julich said. “I don’t think the county has a problem with its ambulance service.”
Julich wondered if the idea for the review came about because of Allen County’s ongoing negotiations with Iola officials. He also pointed out the state recently provided an extensive review of the county’s ambulance service, free of charge.
“I can’t say I disagree with any of your points,” Cunningham responded, although the consultant would provide an even more extensive review than the state’s.
“It’s essentially a fresh set of eyes,” Cunningham said.
Cunningham also gave an update of the county’s program. The service has seven full-time and three part-time employees.
In addition, the county is investigating the possibility of implementing a first responders program, training community members to answer a medical emergency if an ambulance is already responding to a call elsewhere.
“We hope the first repsonder idea comes to fruition,” Cunningham said. “It would behoove us to plan ahead and have a program like this.”