The Cass County Board voted to extend the contract for EMS services for the entire county in agreement with the City of Beardstown on Friday.
Beardstown Ambulance Service has been providing emergency medical services since the closing of Massie’s Eastern Cass County Ambulance service more than 2 years ago. According to the Journal Courier, the Beardstown City Council approved the continuance of services at their Tuesday meeting last week.
Beardstown Fire Chief and Ambulance Service Director Brian Becker says that everyone has been pleased with the coverage the service provides from the Virginia-based Station Number 2. “We have a full staff over at Station 2. When we did this, going on our 3rd year of providing ambulance services to the eastern part of the county, the City of Beardstown ended up hiring 3 paramedics and 3 part-time EMTs to assist in handling the calls over in Eastern Cass. The county was also able to give us an ambulance that they had in their possession from their previous provider that they owned. We’ve been able to utilize that, utilize those tools and that equipment. It has not been a strain on our department at all.”
Becker says response times in Eastern Cass County have improved in the last year. “Our response times in that portion of the county are faster than they have been in the past. That hasn’t been any fault of the previous provider. It’s just our crews are staying at the station 24 hours a day, and the ambulance is just right across the street – 30 feet from our front door. When they get a call, they can walk straight over and raise the door and are on the highway, running down the road. They don’t have to wait for anyone to come over and help out with the call.”
Becker says the contract is approved yearly so that the city and county can assess the program each year based on services. The Cass County Board maintains a tax levy of a quarter of a percent a year for the service. The Journal Courier report says that the EMS service recently received funding from the Beardstown Health Care Foundation for the purchase of a fifth ambulance. The Cass County Board approved EMS through the service unanimously on Friday during their special meeting.