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County applying for certificate of need for ambulance service


SALYERSVILLE – The Magoffin County Fiscal Court met in regular session on Tuesday, honoring a local soldier killed in action, discussing current projects, and passing a motion to start the process of applying for a certificate of need for an ambulance service in Magoffin County.

In the December 17 meeting, the court approved the fund transfers of $50,000 from the general fund to the jail fund and $7,952 from the general fund to the sinking fund.

They also approved the 2020 Magoffin County Court Clerk budget and the budget amendments to the Magoffin County Sheriff Department’s 2019 budget.

The court agreed to table the 2020 budget for the sheriff department until they know more about how much the county will have to pay for the sheriff audits, but they noted that the budget will have to be approved by January 15.

During departmental reports, Deputy Judge Kevin Howard said they noticed during the recent community dinner that they need more electrical outlets at the community center. He said they are receiving quotes to replace the old shingles in one section of the building.

Howard said they are doing preliminary work to move 911 to the courthouse, adding electrical wiring and outlets to accommodate the equipment, and after that, they will be able to strip the floor and paint it. 

He also noted that the 2018 FEMA projects are completed, and they are still working on the 2019 projects. 

Director of Community Services Ashley Salyer explained that they had over 200 individual damaged sites after the February and March flooding and they now have just over 80 of those to still be repaired. She said the county’s paperwork is all completed, and they are just waiting on FEMA to be able to continue.

Magoffin County Judge-Executive Matt Wireman thanked the road crew, stating they are doing good work to fix the roads and reminding the public that they will get to every road as soon as they can. 

Wireman said certain bridges, like the White Lick Bridge, are in the Bridging Kentucky program, which was supposed to be completed in 2019. He noted that while they are on that program list, they can’t fix those bridges through FEMA, but he said he was going to meet with people in Frankfort to check on the status of those projects.

Per the Veterans Recognition Committee's suggestion, the court passed a resolution honoring Corporal David Wireman, who was killed in action during the Korean War. The full resolution can be found on page A6 of this week’s paper.

The Community Involvement Committee is working to identify Magoffin County citizens who have been instrumental in the arts (music, literature, art, etc.) to honor with road signs at the county lines. Russ Preston, with the committee, explained that they have drafted a resolution for signage honoring Rebecca Lynn Howard and they are working on one to get signs for Charlie Sizemore, but asked the community to be involved in the discussion for other notable Magoffin Countians to be honored. 

The fiscal court had to reject all bids received for the bathrooms at the Battlefield Park due to the bids all coming in over budget. They are going to rebid the project and try to work with the interested companies to work within the grant-funded budget.

The court approved the GeoConex project agreement for the 911 system, as well as gave the judge-executive the authority to apply for short-term financing from Salyersville National Bank to cover the expenses of the project, which will be reimbursed afterward.

They also approved the purchase of box culverts, pending final approval from FEMA, for projects at Sammy Howard Cemetery Road and Jerry Rice Road.

The court approved the appointment of Terry Lovely to the Magoffin County Health Department Board.

Lifeguard’s Director of Operations for East Kentucky Bert Absher also addressed the fiscal court, going over some of the data regarding ambulance runs made in Magoffin County over the last three months.

Absher said they responded to 171 emergency runs in Magoffin during the month of October, with an average response time (only factoring in the driving time) of 13.872 minutes. In November, they responded to 153 emergency calls, with an average response time of 12.82, and month-to-date for the month of December, they’ve responded to 88 emergency calls in Magoffin, with an average drive time of 11 minutes, according to Absher.

He also said they responded to 130 non-emergency calls in October, with a total task time of 104 minutes on average; 113 calls in November at an average of 115 minutes; and 64 so far in December, with an average of 105 minutes. He noted that the numbers are declining because they have limited services provided outside of the county.

Absher said they have hired two more EMTs and gave two more offers for jobs. He said that two students in their earn-to-learn program from Magoffin have passed their state-level tests, so there should be six new EMTs in Magoffin as early as next week. 

“The judge has certainly got our attention and we want to find the solution you need,” Absher said.

He also said there have been six instances where they were at “level zero,” or had no ambulances in the county. He said of those instances, a few meant they didn’t have a truck here for 10 minutes, but one instance was for 64 minutes, but they are working to mitigate the possibility of that happening, again. 

Wireman said, “I’m glad the level zero numbers have reduced, but we’ve got to ensure Magoffin County’s coverage doesn’t go to that level, and, if it happens, it has to be an exception, not a rule.”

Absher said he can’t promise no level zeros, but said it will definitely be an exception, especially with the new hires. 

“The judge has told us what he wants and we’re going to work toward that,” Absher said. 

Wireman verified with Absher that the license for ambulance service for Magoffin County is technically out of Pike County.

“It does not insinuate that we run Magoffin out of Pike County,” Absher said. “They operate as two separate entities.”

Wireman said, “Should things turn around the other way and they [Lifeguard] not maintain, we don’t have anything to fall back on. We need to start the process for a CON (Certificate of Need).”

He said the process of obtaining a certificate of need for ambulance services in the county can be a lengthy process, noting he doesn’t want to wait months to find out if Magoffin will need it, to only have to wait four to six more months for the certificate. 

Wireman stated he wants to work with Lifeguard, but said the “Proof is in the pudding, and we have to make sure it all happens.”

At Wireman’s request, the fiscal court approved giving him the authority to start the process of obtaining a certificate of need from the Kentucky Board of Emergency Medical Services. 


Heather Oney

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