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LEASA Director says changes needed to sustain services

Bob Fields | WVOW News

LOGAN The director of Logan County’s ambulance service says changes are being made after the service has been hemorrhaging funds.

During the Logan County Commission’s first June meeting Monday, Logan Emergency Ambulance Service Authority ( LEASA ) Director Roger Bryant praised the quality and efficiency of the work his first responders have performed over the years. However, persistent issues in funding for the organization have made their current model unsustainable. Bryant says some major changes need to be made.

 "We’ve been spending more money than what we’ve been taking in for the past two years," - Roger Bryant, LEASA Director

“To make a long story short, we’ve been spending more money than what we’ve been taking in for the past two years, and you can’t survive very long doing that,” Bryant told commissioner.

“So, I just wanted to follow up with the commission and let you know that we are making changes to that model. We’re changing to something that I think we can afford and still be able to serve the people of Logan County sufficiently and still have decent response times, and – basically, what we’re cutting out is a lot of the overtime. The system that we were operating on had a lot of overtime built into it and, like I said, it would have been nice, but we just can’t afford it, so we’re basically tightening our belts up and changing that model back to something that we can afford.”

Commission President Diana Barnette asked Bryant how cutting overtime would affect LEASA’s Ability to maintain staff. According to Bryant, despite competitive hours and wages, retention is already a major issue.

“I don’t think this is going to affect that one way or the other,” Bryant said. “I think we’re going to continue to lose people until there is a change in mindset, a change in culture, and people want to do the service industry again. It’s not just here.”

Bryant went on to say that the issue is present throughout the nation.

“The economics is just not working out. It’s costing so much more money than what reimbursement is bringing in, and so everybody, not just Logan County, but everybody statewide and everybody nationwide – is facing that same economic problem. We’re going to continue working on it. Right now, you can become an EMT; you can become a paramedic at our place; it doesn’t cost you one red cent. It’s a free ride.”

In other updates from Logan County’s emergency response services, commissioners are provided a monthly report on the number of calls made to 911 throughout the county. In the month of May, Logan county 911 received a total of 5,317 calls. The highest number of calls were for emergency ambulance services totaling 2,352 calls. Law enforcement calls accounted for 1,638 calls. Fire rescue calls totals 263 calls.

PHOTOS | Bob Fields



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