Mon Commission discusses county ambulance issue

MORGANTOWN — WVU Hospitals (WVUH) does not intend to sign on to the countywide mutual aid agreement governing ambulance services unless it mandates emergency calls are dispatched to the closest available ambulance.

WVUH spokesperson Amy Johns offered the above in response to conversation held during Wednesday April 18’s regular meeting of the Monongalia County Commission.

A number of residents, largely representing the Blacksville area, addressed the commission in recent weeks asking that the newly formed WVU Hospital’s HealthTeam squads — stationed at  points around the county  — be allowed to respond to outlying areas instead of a Mon Health EMS squad dispatched from Morgantown.

Ambulance dispatch in the county is governed by a mutual aid agreement. It identifies Mon Health EMS as the county’s primary provider. If Mon EMS can’t respond, secondary providers JanCare or Star City Volunteer Fire Department Ambulance are dispatched.

The commission previously told Mon Health EMS that it had until April 6 to respond to WVU Hospitals’ request to reconsider the agreement, which, the commission said, it did.

“The HealthTeam has been given invitation to join the rotation,” Commissioner Ed Hawkins said, adding, “The ball is now in their court. It is up to them to sign the agreement, which they have not at this time.”

However, Johns said WVUH isn’t interested in being the third backup to Mon Health EMS — particularly if its vehicles are closer to the emergency. That, she explained, is why the money and effort were invested to place units in Westover, Blacksville, Clinton District and Cheat Lake.

“WVU Hospitals has urged both Monongalia Health System and the County Commission to adopt a new 911 system, which will call upon the closest available ambulance to respond to a 911 medical emergency.  WVU Hospitals will sign whatever agreements are necessary in order to put such a system in place,” Johns explained to The Dominion Post via email.

“WVU Hospital will not sign the Mutual Aid Agreement sent to it by Monongalia Health System, which would make WVU Hospitals the third back-up for Monongalia Health System’s ambulances, even if WVU Hospitals’ ambulances are seconds away from a 911 medical emergency.”

The current mutual aid agreement expires in June 2019.

In other news from Wednesday’s meeting, a proclamation from Gov. Jim Justice was presented in recognition of the recent passing of former county commissioner and longtime WVU Extension Services Agent Asel Kennedy. Kennedy died April 6.

Delegate Joe Statler, R-Monongalia, presented the proclamation to Kennedy’s widow, Nancy, after offering his own remarks.

“Everything he did in life was done with a great gusto. He really gave 100 percent to everything he done. That’s just the way did lived his life,” Statler said, adding, “Boy, how do you replace a guy like that?”

The commission also:

  • Pledged up $1,000 to assist county employees interested in sponsoring a flag in Cheat Lake Rotary’s upcoming 2018 Flags for Heroes program.
  • Heard from County Assessor Mark Musick, who said personnel from the assessor’s office are out doing field reviews in Granville, Osage and Westover and will soon be in Morgantown’s 4th and 5th wards as well as District 8 (Morgan).

Also, new construction is being reviewed countywide.

Musick said representatives from his office will be in county vehicles and wearing identifying attire.

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