If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
By LeAnn R. Ralph
BOYCEVILLE — The Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board is considering downgrading from an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician service to an EMT-basic service.
If the Boyceville ambulance service downgrades to an EMT-basic service, that will allow more flexibility in staffing, said Wayne Dow, ambulance service director, at the Boyceville ambulance board’s May 11 meeting.
Under the ambulance service’s existing license, an EMT-advanced must go out with the ambulance, and if one is not available, the ambulance cannot go out, he said.
The state agency that oversees ambulance services has said that maybe it is time for Boyceville to look at downgrading, Dow said.
As the EMT-basics who are working for the Boyceville service gain more experience, there will be more flexibility, he said.
Dow urged the representatives for the municipalities that make up the ambulance district to discuss downgrading the service to EMT-basic with the other board members in their townships and the Village of Boyceville.
Certain aspects of the Boyceville scope of service would change. For example, the EMT-basics would not be able to administer intravenous dextrose to diabetics, although there are other medications that can be used, Dow said.
Certain pain medication and medication for nausea also can only be administered by an EMT-advanced, he said.
Downgrading would allow the Boyceville ambulance service to have a more fully staffed ambulance more often, Dow said.
The neighboring ambulance services at Glenwood City and Dallas that have been transporting patients when Boyceville does not have enough staff are both EMT-basic services, he said.
Karl Hackbarth, a supervisor on the Stanton Town Board, asked if downgrading to a basic service would result in the need for more intercepts with advanced ambulance services.
Intercepts may be needed for pain control, so there is the potential for needing more intercepts, Dow said.
Dow recommended that after discussing it with their respective boards, the Boyceville Community Ambulance District board take action at next month’s meeting to downgrade the service to EMT-basic.
Members of the Boyceville Community Ambulance District include the Village of Boyceville and the Towns of New Haven, Stanton, Hay River, Tiffany, Sherman and Sheridan.
Dow and Peter Score, representative for the Town of Sheridan and chair of the ambulance district board, met in April with the Colfax Village Board’s public safety committee to discuss merging the two services.
The Colfax Village Board decided against the merger, but Dow said he is still talking with Don Knutson, director of the Colfax Rescue Squad, about ways to share resources that would benefit both ambulance services and would result in some efficiencies.
Plan A was that the two ambulance services would merge and all the member municipalities would be become one big district with one ambulance service director, Score said.
The Colfax village president was concerned about the Boyceville ambulance service’s debt and the higher per capita fee, he said, noting that the Boyceville per capita is about $60 more than the Colfax per capita.
The Village of Colfax owns the Colfax Rescue Squad, so Colfax would have to give up ownership of the ambulance service and all of the municipalities served would have to become part of a district, Score said.
Part of Plan B is that one director would assume management of both ambulance services, although the ambulance services would remain separate, he said.
Having one director would give some stability to the Boyceville service, Score said.
Dow said if he could be relieved of the management of the Boyceville ambulance service, he “would be willing to stick around.”
Another area that could beneficial if the two services could work together would be for recruiting additional EMTs, Score said.
Colfax has two 30-hour per week EMTs, and an EMT could work in Boyceville for 40 hours. An EMT who worked for both services could work up to 70 hours per week before either service would have to pay overtime, he said.
The availability of being able to work more hours could be a recruiting tool for both services if someone wanted to work full-time in Emergency Medical Services, Score said.
Both services, with one director, also could purchase supplies together, he said.
The “opportunity committee” for the Boyceville ambulance district is willing to discuss the idea more, Score said.
If Boyceville were to employ full-time EMTs at 40 hours per week, then the employees would need benefits and state retirement, noted Sonya Zebro, representative for the Village of Boyceville.
Both services are encouraging EMTs to sign up for both rosters so if Colfax has extra EMTs who are not needed, they can be sent over to Boyceville, Dow said.
Dow said he had received a telephone call from the regional EMS coordinator because the coordinator’s office had received a telephone call from a town board member, Score said.
The town board member said that his town board wants to remove Dow as the ambulance service director, that Dow is not doing his job and that Dow is stealing money from the Boyceville ambulance service, he said.
Score said he had talked with the regional EMS coordinator on May 6 and had been told that the town board member had been told that his complaint was “not a state issue” and that Dow is not in violation of anything and is doing everything correctly.
The town board member who complained to the state is Tom Schoonover from the Town of New Haven, Score said.
The New Haven Town Board has not taken any action regarding Dow’s employment as the ambulance service director, said Marv Prestrud, representative for the Town of New Haven and chair of the New Haven Town Board.
The idea that Dow is not doing his job “is an opinion,” Score said.
The definition of character assassination is to slander someone in an attempt to destroy public confidence, Score said.
Character assassination is also defined as the malicious harming of a person’s good reputation, he said.
Schoonover has apparently decided that character assassination is the best way to handle the situation — “that’s the conclusion I have come to,” he said.
The last New Haven Town Board meeting was caustic and hostile, Prestrud said.
A handful of individuals are bent on destroying Wayne Dow, he said.
Several people are demanding a special meeting to be informed about the ambulance service, but they do not want Dow to be allowed to speak, and they do not want Score to be allowed to speak, Prestrud said.
The perception is out there, and it was created in a malicious manner, he said.
“Recruiting (new EMTs) is difficult when the well is poisoned,” Score said.
The Boyceville ambulance service went from no one questioning the competency and character of the ambulance service director to the malicious atmosphere that exists now, “and it is easy to connect the dots,” he said.
The question is — does the Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board have an obligation “to stand up for our own employees?”
“Exactly,” Prestrud responded.
“What can we do as a board?” Score asked.
Prestrud said he has heard many more positive comments about the Boyceville ambulance service and Dow’s job as director of the service but that the people who are maliciously complaining are a small group of people who are quite vocal.
“Noise by a few,” Score said.
There is some “nasty stuff” being said, and the ambulance board needs to be aware of that, Prestrud said.
“How do we handle it?” Score asked.
One action might be to contact an attorney to find out what options are available to the ambulance district board, he said.
Their “biggest beef” is that the ambulance district board did not hire a director from within, and they do not want to give it up, said one member of the board, adding, “that’s why they are putting Wayne down and are not going to change their opinions.”
Zebro said that what she has heard has been been opinions — “but I have not heard one fact.”
“It’s an opinion. Let it go. Let them look like the people they are,” she said.
“Until they give me a fact, I’m not listening,” Zebro said.
“But we did sort of hire from within,” said Ned Hahn, representative for the Town of Hay River.
Wayne Dow was born and raised in Boyceville. He went to school in Boyceville. He left and came back to Boyceville, he said.
“That’s a good thing, to have him come back here to apply for the job,” Hahn said, adding that he can look out his bedroom window and see where Wayne Dow’s father, Herb Dow, is buried.
Score urged board members to continue their support for Dow and encouraged residents in the ambulance district to continue their support and to “ignore the noise.”
“Yes” “yes” “yes” “yes,” came the answers from other members of the Boyceville ambulance district board.
Zebro said she had heard that EMTs currently on the roster with Boyceville ambulance service had been receiving negative comments, too.
Two EMTs attended the meeting, and Zebro apologized to them for any negative comments that had been directed at them.
Earlier in the meeting, during his report to the board, Dow had asked members of the board to bring any complaints to him directly, just as Lukas Montgomery, Boyceville village president, had suggested that complaints concerning the village be brought to department heads before calling a state agency.
“I am tired of the lies, the innuendo and the slander. I would appreciate some courtesy,” Dow said.
The Boyceville Community Ambulance District Board meets next on June 15 at 7 p.m., or immediately following the Boyceville Community Fire District meeting at the Boyceville Village Hall on Charlotte Street.