An ambulance staffing issue has meant some budget wrangling for county officials. However, the problem is manageable, according to Campbell County Mayor EL Morton.

The current transport time and call volume is challenging the three full-time and one crew part- time the service has. The proposed solution is to add another part- time crew that would work six, 14-hour shifts. “For these crews, their work hours would be in the “high tempo” demand hours such as during the regular business day,” Morton said. The idea is to alleviate the wait time patients are experiencing, because the EMS crews are spread too thin.

At last month’s EMS Committee meeting, Jeff Marlow, county finance director, said 40-percent of transports to hospitals are to hospitals outside Campbell County. In addition, of the patients transported to local hospitals in LaFollette and Jellico, over three-fourths of those patients were then taken to another hospital outside the county, a story previously reported on WLAF said.

Adding personnel means adding expenses to the county budget. This can be achieved, Morton said. And it can be accomplished without a tax increase.

“This doesn’t necessitate a tax increase,” the mayor said. An initial amendment to the budget meant the additional crew could be paid for through the new fiscal year. In the 2019-20 Fiscal Year, the new crew should be able to be absorbed in the budget. EMS currently operates on $2.1 million budget, “give or take $50,000,” according to Morton. He anticipates staffing the new crew will not be a problem. In the event that funds are needed, “We will have the opportunity to shift from other services,” he said.  (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 03/18/2019-6AM)